Porsche is taking a dual approach to this weekend’s Kyalami 9 Hour, with equal focus on both the drivers’ and manufacturers’ titles according to GT3 project manager Sebastian Golz.
The German manufacturer enters the Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli season finale with a chance of both titles, with Dirk Werner, Dennis Olsen and Matt Campbell trailing leader Maxi Buhk by ten points.
A larger 22-point gap between Porsche and championship leader Mercedes-AMG, however, will make its manufacturers’ title quest a bit more challenging, as a maximum of 43 points can be achieved with a 1-2 finish.
However, with four nominated entries, Golz feels both crowns are still achievable.
“The focus is on both,” he told Sportscar365. “In the end, we have to try to do 1-2; that’s the best we can achieve and the rest has to be sorted by itself.
“This is the only aim of what we have.”
After sharing the same car all season, Werner, Olsen and Campbell have been split up into three different Porsche entries this weekend, to bolster the manufacturer’s chances of the drivers’ title.
Werner has been placed in the No. 911 KUS Team75 Bernhard entry alongside fellow full-season IGTC drivers Sven Mueller and Romain Dumas while Olsen is in the No. 31 Frikadelli Racing Porsche with Nick Tandy and Mathieu Jaminet, and Campbell is paired with Laurens Vanthoor and Earl Bamber in the Porsche fielded by Dinamic Motorsport.
Golz said it was always the plan to split up the drivers for the final race if they were in the championship hunt.
A similar approach was taken by Mercedes-AMG in last year’s season-ending California 8 Hours, which saw Tristan Vautier claim the title.
“Now we’ve split every driver between three cars so we can have a chance in the end,” Golz said. “It gives us more bullets.”
Despite facing a 22-point deficit to Mercedes-AMG, which has outscored Porsche in three of the four races this year, Golz is confident it’s not too high of a mountain to overcome.
IGTC rules award points to the two highest nominated cars, with each manufacturer able to select up to four entries.
“It’s still possible,” Golz said. “With these four cars, in the end, it doesn’t matter which one [wins].
“First you try to have one of the [championship-contending] drivers to be in the front.
“The fourth car in our group (GPX Racing) is there [to support] but if there’s no chance [of the drivers’ title], its aim is to win and to get as many manufacturer points.
“The manufacturer’s title is also very important for us.”
Porsche Customer Concept “Growing Every Weekend”
Golz said Porsche’s newly refined approach to its customer racing program is working, with increased interest from its pool of teams.
Both Frikadelli and Dinamic, for instance, are making their first starts with IGTC-nominated entries, although Golz said the same resources are available for all teams.
“It’s growing every weekend, to be honest,” he said. “We’ve got more and more requests for other races.
“I think the concept within Porsche Motorsport is working so we will try to involve all customers and bring them together.
“We also do data sharing together and try to improve every team; not just one or two.
“It doesn’t matter, like here, they’re nominated for the IGTC. Lechner is also involved [in the process].”