Porsche completes successful season at the Sepang 12-hour race

 2016 Sepang 12-hour Porsche 911 GT3_4 The 2016 motorsport season ended successfully for Porsche at the 12-hour race on the Sepang International Circuit: With a spectacular charge through the field in torrential rain, Porsche works drivers Earl Bamber, Patrick Pilet and Nick Tandy secured second place with the Porsche 911 GT3 R fielded by Manthey Racing.

Over a long stretch, their teammates Richard Lietz, Michael Christensen and Frédéric Makowiecki were also on track for a podium spot with the 500 hp customer sports racer from Weissach, but ultimately clinched fifth place at the final round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge.

2016 Sepang 12-hour Porsche 911 GT3 2016 Sepang 12-hour Porsche 911 GT3_2

In hot and humid weather with temperatures of over 30 degrees Celsius, Lietz took off into Asia’s most important long distance race from pole position. However, the Austrian, who last year won the World Endurance Cup as the most successful GT driver, was beaten off the line by Bamber. The 2015 overall Le Mans winner had taken up the race from directly behind his teammate on the third grid spot. This did not stop him from winning the sprint to the first corner and snatching the lead position in a top-class field of cars of 13 manufacturers. Bamber has lived in Malaysia for many years and has contested many races in Asia, making the 5.543-kilometer circuit practically his home track.

2016 Sepang 12-hour Porsche 911 GT3_3 2016 Sepang 12-hour Porsche 911 GT3_5

After taking over the wheel of the 912 contender from Lietz, Makowiecki used the restart after the first safety car phase an hour into the race to manoeuvre himself into second place. The number 911 car continued to defend the lead spot, now with Tandy at the wheel, who had won Le Mans with Bamber. Later, the two 911 GT3 treated spectators to a spectacular fight against the best Ferrari. When heavy rain set in after four-and-a-half hours of racing, they lost their one-two positions during the pit stop and while switching to wets. After five hours, the no.911 was sitting second, with the no.912 on fourth.

2016 Sepang 12-hour Porsche 911 GT3_6 2016 Sepang 12-hour Porsche 911 GT3 drivers podium

Two unscheduled pit stops over the course of the race cost additional time: First, the brakes had to be changed on Makowiecki’s 911 GT3 R, and two hours later, with the field again running on slicks, the brakes were also changed on Bamber’s car. As a result, he also lost his podium ranking and was now lying fourth, just one place ahead of his teammate Lietz. But on his home track, this was simply not good enough for Bamber. At the restart, after another safety car phase and with two hours to go, he launched a breathtaking charge through the pack, and carved his way spectacularly through deep water on the track. First, he swept past the fastest Ferrari, then the Audi running in second, to net another podium result for Porsche at the final race of the season.

Edited: Porsche