Porsche has pulled nine of its factory drivers that were due to compete in this weekend’s Nürburgring 24 due to positive COVID-19 cases surrounding its team from last weekend’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The German manufacturer announced late Monday that it will send a “reduced number” of participants to tackle this weekend’s German endurance classic due to three confirmed positive COVID-19 cases following routine tests done by Porsche on Sunday in Le Mans.
Porsche has not disclosed who has tested positive for the coronavirus.
It has called the decision to isolate its factory drivers who were in Le Mans as a “precautionary decision” that was made in consultation with the Robert Koch Institute.
Richard Lietz, Patrick Pilet, Romain Dumas, Matt Campbell, Michael Christensen, Kevin Estre, Thomas Preining, Matteo Cairoli and Julien Andlauer have all been ruled out of the race, affecting six customer entries.
“People’s health comes first for us,” said Head of Porsche Motorsport Fritz Enzinger. “Given the current situation, it’s very clear to us that we put the needs of many ahead of our sporting goals.
“We’ll do everything we can to give our customer teams the best possible support in the upcoming race by providing operational personnel and available works drivers.”
Manthey Racing’s No. 911 Porsche 911 GT3 R, meanwhile, has been withdrawn altogether due to two of its four drivers being ruled out as well as the majority of its crew, which worked on the factory GTE-Pro Porsche 911 RSR-19s last weekend.
The team’s managing director, Nicolas Raeder, said they made the decision with Porsche Motorsport.
“We, our ‘Grello’ and the Nordschleife belong together,” Raeder said. “But under the circumstances, it’s obvious to us all at Manthey Racing that the health of everyone involved in the 24-hour race takes priority.”
Other teams affected include KCMG, which has lost four of its eight drivers, three of the four drivers in the No. 31 Friadelli Racing Porsche and one driver a peice from Falken Motorsports’ two Porsche entries.
It’s unclear if Porsche will take a similar decision for Nick Tandy, Fred Makowiecki and Laurens Vanthoor, who competed at Le Mans last weekend and are due to be in Porsche’s factory GT Le Mans entries in this weekend’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race at Mid-Ohio.