Three Porsche 911 GT3 Rs in action at the highlight of the Blancpain GT Series / Nine Porsche works drivers and Young Professionals from five countries at the wheel
A ROWE RACING three-pack: the St. Ingbert team will compete at the highlight of this season’s Blancpain GT Series with three Porsche 911 GT3 Rs and, after winning in 2016 and finishing runner-up in 2018, is targeting a third podium result. At the 71st edition of the iconic race, which was first held in 1924, ROWE RACING will be up against another 70 GT3 cars on the undulating, 7.004-kilometre track in the Belgian Ardennes. This is a new record for the 24-hour race, which probably features the strongest GT field in the world. In total, eleven different manufacturers will be represented at the legendary Formula 1 circuit.
ROWE RACING got plenty of kilometres under its belt without any problems at the official two-day test at the start of July, allowing the team to gather valuable information to enable them to set the Porsche 911 GT3 R up perfectly. Behind the wheel at the test were the same three Porsche works drivers that will make their race debut for the St. Ingbert team in the #998 at the 24 Hours of Spa. Le Mans winner Nick Tandy from Great Britain will share the cockpit with the two flying Frenchmen, Frédéric Makowiecki and Patrick Pilet.
Their compatriot Romain Dumas will drive the #98 Porsche 911 GT3 R, as he has done in the races so far in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup. During his successful career, the Porsche works driver has already been crowned endurance world champion in WEC and has triumphed at Le Mans. He is also the only driver in the ROWE RACING squad to have tasted victory at Spa – like the team itself. Dumas was successful in a Porsche 911 in 2003 and 2010. He is now hoping to make it win number three alongside fellow Frenchman and Porsche Young Professional, Mathieu Jaminet, and German Porsche works driver Sven Müller.
As usual, German Porsche works driver Dirk Werner and the two Porsche Young Professionals, Dennis Olsen from Norway and Australian Matt Campbell, will share driving duties in the #99 Porsche 911 GT3 R. Former DTM driver Werner is making his second appearance at Spa for ROWE RACING, having driven for the team there in 2016.
The race week in Belgium traditionally opens with the parade of the cars from the racetrack to the centre of Spa on Wednesday evening (24th July). After a driver briefing and a public autograph session, the entire race entourage returns to the circuit. Practice and qualifying sessions are scheduled for Thursday (25th July). They are followed by the warm-up late on Friday afternoon (26th July), before the fastest cars do battle for pole position in the SuperPole at 18:30. The race gets underway at 16:30 on Saturday (27th July).
In the run-up to the race, fans of the St. Ingbert team can find plenty of information and videos of the drivers from five countries on the team’s social media channels. Under the motto “ROWE – Porsche – One Team for you!”, they can become part of the team through competitions and special campaigns. Fans can also follow the action up close during the event, courtesy of exclusive content. Details can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MotorsportCompetenceGroupAG and Instagram at www.instagram.com/motorsport_competence_group_ag.
The team’s guests at Spa will include a number of students on the MBA Motorsport Management course and their Program Director, Prof. Dr. Bettina Reuter. ROWE RACING has been a partner of the course, run by Kaiserslautern/Zweibrücken University, since 2016. Some of the course’s teaching takes place at the heart of motorsport, the Nürburgring. Those interested still have until 15th August to apply for the next semester of the unique, extra-occupational Masters, which begins in October (https://mba.bw.hs-kl.de/fernstudiengang/mba-motorsport-management).
Hans-Peter Naundorf, Team Principal ROWE RACING: “The 24 Hours of Spa is traditionally the highlight of the season in the Blancpain GT Series. For us as a team, fielding three cars in this race is a genuine highlight, and we do so with a collection of drivers who have made a name for themselves in endurance racing. Our three new drivers, who will be making their race debut for ROWE RACING, also found their feet superbly in the team during the tests. Even before the race, with the car parade, the atmosphere in Spa is very special. On top of that comes a fantastic racetrack, which every driver loves. Nobody needs any extra motivation for this event – everyone wants to win there. The whole team is looking forward to Spa. We have seen that our Porsche 911 GT3 R has run well and has been competitive at the front of the field at all the circuits so far. We backed that up at the Spa tests, where we had absolutely no issues. That was remarkable and gives us confidence ahead of the race.”
Romain Dumas, #98 ROWE RACING Porsche 911 GT3 R: “I am really looking forward to racing again at the 24 Hours of Spa, which I have won twice in the past. We have a very good package and a good chance of being right up there at the front. However, at Spa you must always have one eye on the weather, which can be very difficult. There are a lot of cars that are capable of winning the race, so it will be particularly important to stay clear of any problems.”
Dirk Werner, #99 ROWE RACING Porsche 911 GT3 R: “This is my second outing with ROWE RACING at the 24 Hours of Spa. This event is one of the best races of the year and I am particularly looking forward to racing there with a team like ROWE RACING, which has had success and won there in the past. I hope we can build on that, but with so many top-class opponents it is certainly going to be a wild ride.”
Patrick Pilet, #998 ROWE RACING Porsche 911 GT3 R: “I have not raced at Spa since 2016, so I am really excited. I have won there in the Pro-Am class. It is about time I added an overall victory, having finished runner-up twice in the past.”