Porsche 911 GT3 R project manager Sebastian Golz says he’s “really proud” of the manufacturer’s supported “joker” entry that pulled off the new-for-2019 car’s first major endurance racing win.
Dubai-based GPX Racing claimed victory in the Total 24 Hours of Spa with the all-factory driver lineup of Kevin Estre, Michael Christensen and Richard Lietz delivering Porsche’s first overall win in the Belgian endurance classic in nine years.
It came in a day that saw five Porsches finish in the top-10 in the rain-affected race.
Golz revealed that a deal to support the Pierre-Brice Mena-owned team, which typically runs in the Silver Cup of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup, came only last month.
“We were quite late in defining who will be competing in this race weekend,” Golz told Sportscar365. “We had to push everybody together.
“We managed to come together for the [Spa] test day and this was the first time everybody was here.
“Directly, we saw the performance was definitely there. The base was there and we just had to adapt small things. We knew it could be possible to be very competitive here.”
Golz said that in addition to the works drivers, Porsche provided engineering support to the team, which was founded in 2015 and only arrived on the international sports car racing scene in recent years.
The late entry came in addition to Porsche’s four other factory-supported cars, run by the more experienced ROWE Racing and KÜS Team 75 Bernhard outfits.
“I always said GPX was just a ‘joker’,” Golz said. “It was an additional team we chose to work together and do our best to prepare the team and look after the processes we have.
“We [saw] what they did in Blancpain [GT Endurance Cup] all of the time and the pace was definitely there.
“We just did some adaptation of the team together with the drivers. It was a strong package and it worked out.”
It marked the first major endurance racing win for Porsche’s latest-generation 911 GT3 R, which missed out on an elusive first 24-hour win at the Nürburgring last month.
Tandy: Great Day for Porsche in 1-2 Finish
Nick Tandy, who finished second in the No. 998 ROWE Racing Porsche alongside Frederic Makowiecki and longtime IMSA co-driver Patrick Pilet, has hailed the race as an “unbelievable” result for the German manufacturer.
Tandy crossed the line 3.347 seconds behind Estre following a late-race safety car period.
“It seemed like we were unlucky at stages when we tried to roll the dice,” Tandy said.
“Ultimately, I think this set us back because the team did a good job, the car was ultimately good, but we came up against another competitor that was equally as good, if not better. It was a good race in the end.
“I was hoping it would stay green and we’d maybe get some more precipitation. But as soon as it went to the safety car and there were ten cars between me and Kevin, the race was pretty much over.
“It’s great that we can put a program together at Porsche with all the teams involved and come here and do this result. It’s pretty unbelievable, really.”