***Porsche took home its first Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli manufacturers’ title, edging out Mercedes-AMG by seven points in the final classification after earning its third IGTC win out of five races in Saturday’s Kyalami 9 Hour.
***Dennis Olsen, who was crowned IGTC drivers’ champion, was the only repeat overall winner this season, having bookended the season with victories in the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour and Kyalami.
***A total of 14 different drivers achieved overall wins this year in IGTC competition.
***Eleven different teams: Earl Bamber Motorsport, Competition Motorsports, Dinamic Motorsport, GPX Racing, Frikadelli Racing, LM corsa, ROWE Racing, KUS Team75 Bernhard, Park Place Motorsports, Wright Motorsports and Absolute Racing, contributed to Porsche’s manufacturer’s championship, with no single team competing in more than two races.
***Porsche 911 GT3 R project manager Sebastian Golz said they were proud to have utilized SRO’s initial concept of supporting local teams in most markets instead of having a single team complete the entire season, as was the case with several other manufacturers this year.
“The key to our success was the excellent teamwork of our squads around the world,” said Golz. “The final race at Kyalami with sun, heat, lightning, thunder and rain was like a rollercoaster ride. In the end we deserved to win.”
***The original Kyalami 9 Hour trophy, dating back to 1961, was awarded to race winners Olsen, Nick Tandy and Mathieu Jaminet. Saturday’s race marked the first nine-hour race at the famed South African circuit in 37 years.
***Despite retiring from the race on the opening lap, Maxi Buhk ended up finishing third in the drivers’ championship. The German entered the weekend with a six-point lead in the standings in the No. 999 GruppeM Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3, which had an ignition coil failure.
***Dinamic Motorsport was dropped to eighth in the final classification after being given a ten-second time penalty for a short pit stop. The stop in question occurred with over two hours left in the race but the violation wasn’t announced by the race director until the final stop “due to safety car/stewards’ instructions”, according to the stewards’ decision.
***R-Motorsport’s No. 62 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 picked up a drive-through penalty for an anomaly with its transponder. The issue was discovered when Ricky Collard was pinged for a stint time violation.
***Christian Krognes battled with a deteriorating helmet during his stint, which resulted in the drink bottle system malfunctioning and “glue falling apart from the helmet” that forced the Walkenhorst Motorsport driver to pit early and put the No. 34 BMW M6 GT3 off sequence.
“One hour before the end of the race, I thought we’d finish tenth,” Krognes said. “We finished second thanks to some special circumstances. Nicky did a fantastic job at the end.”
***Sheldon van der Linde was the highest-placed South African driver in the race, finishing seventh overall in the No. 42 Team Schnitzer BMW, which was leading in the final hour in the hands of Augusto Farfus, who was on an alternate pit strategy while under the lengthy safety car period.
***Both Audi Sport entries from Land Motorsport and Team WRT had an uncharacteristic amount of penalties in the race. The No. 29 Land Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo served two drive-through penalties due for pit lane infractions, while the WRT-run No. 25 car had a puncture and ten-second penalty added to one of its pit stops.
***Christopher Haase made a late charge in the final restart to finish fourth in the Land entry, while the WRT Audi, carrying championship hopeful Frederic Vervisch, went a lap down prior to the race’s two-hour yellow.
***The No. 107 Team M-Sport Bentley Continental GT3 was one of the few cars to completed brake pad changes, with Jordan Pepper losing one lap during the final FCY. Pepper, who led early due to double-stinting his Pirelli tires, finished 12th with co-drivers Jules Gounon and Maxime Soulet.
***One week before winning at Kyalami, Tandy won an eight-hour, 20-minute endurance race at Brands Hatch, driving a Ford Ka supermini along with James Rhodes, Elliot Mason and Lewis Selby. The IndyKA 500 race is part of the single-make EnduroKA series aimed at the Mk. 1 Ford supermini sold between 1996-2008.
***South Africa’s minister of transport Fikile Mbalula was in attendance on Saturday, explaining that the race is beneficial for promoting road safety in the country through the 365 Days Road Safety Action Agenda.
***Official attendance numbers were not released, although local promoters have hailed the return of international motorsports to Kyalami a success. It’s understood SRO holds a ten-year contract with the circuit, with next year’s race confirmed for Nov. 19-21.
***R-Motorsport team principal Dr. Florian Kamelger flew into Johannesburg in time for the race, having spent Friday at Fuji Speedway for a Class 1 steering committee meeting during the Super GT x DTM Dream Race event. Aston Martin was the only current DTM or Super GT GT500 brand not to field cars in the joint event.
***The Swiss team’s commitment to IGTC next year appears all but confirmed, after John Gaw told Sportscar365 that Aston Martin is ready to commit to the series if a customer team is happy to do all five rounds. Kamelger told Sportscar365 that if Aston Martin does support the program, “we’re on it”.
Jake Kilshaw contributed to this report