This feature, the second in our four-part mini-series, picks up where we left off last time (2005-2008) and highlights the continued growth and success of the evergreen Porsche 911 on the European scene between 2010 and 2012. Having benefitted from full media and photographer access at these races, we were able to get trackside and in the pit and paddock, and we can now bring you a selection of images from our archive.
The 911 has been, and will remain, the cornerstone of Porsche’s motorsport effort and this feature looks at the 997 model up until it bowed out of competition in 2012. The following season saw the introduction of a new 911 RSR that was based on the 991 roadgoing model. Looking at the results for the 2012 season, a new car was needed as they finished a quite distant third in GTE Pro.
But as we have said before, the story of the 911 in motorsport is like no other, because the 911 is the only single continuously evolving sports car model in the market. The 911 model has won more races worldwide than any other manufacturer can claim, and so we unashamedly present a brief look into this remarkable model’s achievements between 2010 and 2012. Buckle up as we take to the starting grid – we hope you enjoy the journey down memory lane…
Motorsport season 2010
The 2010 FIA GT3 European Championship season, which commenced on 1 May at Silverstone, was the fifth season of the FIA GT3 European Championship. The season featured six double-header rounds, with each race lasting for a duration of 60 minutes, with most races serving as support races to the newly formed FIA GT1 World Championship.
Although all eyes were on the main Audi/Peugeot battle, there were many close battles being fought all the way down the field. Peugeot definitely had the speed to win, but one by one they all retired with the same mechanical failure, leaving Audi to score a 1-2-3 finish for the fourth time, and earning them their ninth Le Mans victory. The much publicised Beechdean Mansell Ginetta Zytek, driven by three members of the Mansell clan, completed only four laps before it was brought back to the pits on the back of a recovery truck.
Despite being down on the speed of the Corvette and Ferrari, the factory Porsche 997 GT3 RSR had the reliability and keeping out of trouble for 24 hours, was victorious in the LM GT2 class.
The Autosport 1000 km of Silverstone on 12 September was the fifth and final round of the 2010 Le Mans Series season and the inaugural race of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup. Porsche won all three championship titles in the GT2-class of the Le Mans Series. Fifth position was sufficient for Porsche works drivers Marc Lieb and Richard Lietz to successfully defend the Drivers’ title in the 911 GT3 RSR. The German Felbermayr team under the direction of owner Christian Ried celebrated a convincing win of the Team title for the first time, and in the fiercely-contested GT2 category, Porsche also secured the prestigious Manufacturers’ title.
Motorsport season 2011
The 2011 24 Hours of Le Mans was the 79th running of the famous endurance race, and took place on 11-12 June that year. The Audi team didn’t have it all their own way this year, as two of the three works cars were out of the running when they succumbed to accidents early on. The surviving Audi would fend off the persistent attacks by Peugeot, to take yet another victory. 2011 was of course the year of the horrific accident involving Allan McNish, when his #3 Audi R18 TDI slammed into the tyre wall just before the Esses.
This was also the first year of the new GTE Pro and Am classes, and it would be the Corvette that would take the first of the GTE Pro honours. The top finishing Porsche was the #77 GT3 RSR, followed by the similar #76 and #80 cars. Corvette would also take the top place in the GTE Am class, with the #70 Porsche GT3 RSR in second place.
Motorsport season 2012
This year marked the 80th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The #1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro driven by André Lotterer, Marcel Fässler and Benoît Tréluyer started from pole position and despite the usual pressures of the 24-hour race, this car was the first across the finish line on the Sunday. 2012 also saw the debut of the Highcroft Racing No. 0 Nissan Deltawing, the first Garage 56 entry. This experimental race car, which was putting up a good performance, was the unfortunate victim of an unforced error by one of the LMP1 Toyotas, when it was forced off the track after 75 laps.
This was not Porsche’s greatest year at Le Mans, as the highest finishing Porsche was the #67 cars that finished in 21st place overall and second in the GTE Am class.
On Thursday 10th June 2011, on the occasion of the ACO press conference ahead of that year’s Le Mans 24 Hour, the introduction of the 2012 World Endurance Championship (WEC) was announced. The WEC would comprise categories identical to those eligible for the Le Mans 24 Hours and the ILMC: LM P1, LM P2, GTE Pro and GTE Am. The series was to comprise six rounds plus the Le Mans 24 Hours, these were to include two rounds each in Europe, Asia and America, plus Le Mans. This initial plan would change before the 2012 season began.
The 2012 6 Hours of Silverstone was held in August of that year, and was the fourth round in the 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship season. Under threatening skies, the race got underway and quite remarkably for Silverstone, it stayed dry throughout the six hours. The only GTE Pro Porsche was entered by Team Felbermayr-Proton, but it would be piloted by works drivers. This was the last year of that generation of the 911 GT3 RSR, as 2013 would usher in a new car.
This mini-series only scratches the surface of our photo archive, VIRTUAL MOTORPIX, our sister website, and serves as an illustration of what we have, where we’ve been and who we’ve interviewed. If you feel like leaving a comment at the bottom please do, and you can subscribe to all our free Porsche feature updates on the right-hand side of the home page. If you enjoyed Part 2, you can review Part 1 but be sure to check back for Part 3 which will follow in due course.
Written by: Glen Smale
Images by: Virtual Motorpix/Glen Smale