Manthey EMA wins both the overall and Pro-AM title for the first time on the Mount Panorama Circuit. The Grello Porsche with starting number 912 driven by Matt Campbell (Australia), Ayhancan Güven (Turkey) and Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) wins the 12-hour marathon at Bathurst by 2.6 seconds after a gruelling race. Harry King (Great Britain), Alessio Picariello (Belgium) and Yasser Shahin (Australia) secured victory in the Pro-AM class by finishing ninth overall.

12h Bathurst 2024 – REPCO Bathurst 12 Hour – Intercontinental GT Challenge Round 1 – Foto: Gruppe C Photographya

The two Porsche 911 GT3 R numbers 911 and 912 made their first appearance at Australia’s Mount Panorama Circuit on Friday morning. After a total of six free practice sessions, two of which were reserved exclusively for the bronze drivers of the field, qualifying was on the agenda for both cars on Saturday afternoon. With tenth place for The Bend Manthey EMA’s car and sixth for the Grello Porsche, both cars qualified for the Top Ten Shootout. Matt Campbell put the 912 in fourth place with a lap time of 2:02.4259 minutes, securing a place on the second row of the grid for the 12-hour race. Alessio Picariello completed the 6.213-kilometre circuit in 2:03.0795 minutes to claim pole position in the Pro-AM class as ninth on the grid.

The 12 Hours of Bathurst traditionally started at 5.45am local time before sunrise. Starting drivers Harry King (#911) and Laurens Vanthoor (#912) successfully defended their positions in the early stages of the race as daylight began to fall on the Mount Panorama Circuit. Both cars made their first pit stops just before the clocks at Bathurst showed 7:00 local time. The team’s pit stop strategy allowed Ayhancan Güven, now at the wheel of the 912, to set the first lead kilometres before the two-hour mark of the race. As the two top-placed Porsche 911 GT3 R collected race laps, the safety car and yellow flag periods that characterised the endurance race brought the field closer and closer together. At the end of the first third of the race, the Bend Manthey EMA Porsche was forced off the track by contact through no fault of its own. This dropped the 911 piloted by Yasser Shahin to the back of the Pro-AM field.

Shortly after the halfway point of the race, the Grello Porsche, which had been leading up to that point, was also forced to relinquish its position due to a drive-through penalty for a pit stop infringement. Even more than the first half of the race, the second half was characterised by a series of safety car periods due to the onset of rain, which repeatedly affected the course of the race. In these conditions, the drivers of the two Manthey EMA cars worked their way back up the highly competitive field. In combination with the team’s pit stop strategy and the flawless execution of these pit stops, the team managed to regain both lead positions an hour before the chequered flag fell. These were defended by the final drivers, Matt Campbell and Alessio Picariello, until the end of the final lap. After 275 laps, car number 912 crossed the finish line 2.6 seconds ahead of the runner-up, clinching a debut victory for Manthey EMA and the second overall win for Porsche in the history of the endurance race. With ninth place overall on the top of the Pro-AM podium, the sister car with starting number 911 completed the team’s twofold victory.

“This was a really exciting race. I’m very proud of the whole team. Although both the 911 and the 912 suffered setbacks during the race, in the end we were able to secure both the overall victory and the Pro-AM class win. One of the deciding factors was the fastest pit stop of the race by our crew, which put us back in the overall lead. All six drivers did a really excellent job and were able to prove themselves, even though it was the first race on the Mount Panorama circuit for some of them. After ending the last season on a high with the DTM at Hockenheim, I am delighted that the 2024 season has also started so successfully for us,” concludes Nicolas Raeder, Managing Director of Manthey Racing GmbH.