Testing and practice for the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup’s final race of the season took place Thursday and Friday on the Zhuhai International Circuit’s 4.3 km track, located on the southeastern coast of China. The Zhuhai 1,000km race starts Sunday with five classes competing — two prototype classes and three GT classes.
Four Porsches are entered across two GT classes. The 911 GT3 R Hybrid (Excellence, August 2010, issue #184) was entered as an experimental exhibition car in the LMGTH class and is piloted by Jörg Bergmeister and Patrick Long. Team Felbermayr-Proton, currently second in the team championship, is fielding two 911 GT3 RSRs, one for Marc Lieb and Richard Lietz, and a second for Gianluca Roda, Christian Ried, and Martin Ragginger. The fourth Porsche is running under the Prospeed Competition banner with Richard Westbrook and Darryl O’Young sharing driving duties. The Felbermayr and Prospeed entries will compete in the LMGT2 class.
There was rain – and lots of it – during the first two days in Zhuhai; it fell in three of four sessions. Only the Hybrid turned laps representative of its capability during Thursday’s test sessions. All four Porsches saw action on Friday.
Long raced once on the fourteen-year-old circuit as a teenager in open-wheeled competition. He noted the track’s simplicity, indicating that after two laps on Thursday he was able to turn competitive times. Bergmeister — a China first-timer — agreed: “It’s like a parking lot — go, stop, turn.” He lamented the fact it lacks the challenge he is used to.
When asked about ongoing technological development of the Hybrid, Bergmeister pointed to two recent advancements. First is torque vectoring, which allows the two electric motors (which are charged under braking) to adjust the torque delivered to each front wheel independently based on a number of parameters, including steering angle. Second is automatic boost, which supplements the steering-wheel mounted boost paddle.
Friday’s GT2/H practice times (top-five in each session):
1 – #77 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR Lieb/Lietz—1:43.313
2 – #90 Ferrari F430 GT Ehret/Quaife/Kirkaldy—1:43.345
3 – #95 Ferrari F430 GT Bruni/Vilander/Melo—1:43.621
4 – #92 Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid Bergmeister/Long—1:44.211
5 – #88 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR Ragginger/Ried/Roda—1:45.090
1 – #95 Ferrari F430 GT Bruni/Vilander/Melo—1:44.428
2 – #92 Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid Bergmeister/Long—1:45.647
3 – #75 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR Westbrook/O’Young—1:45.677
4 – #90 Ferrari F430 GT Ehret/Quaife/Kirkaldy—1:46.238
5 – #77 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR Lieb/Lietz—1:46.261