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    Re: Walter Röhrl competes in the Nürburgring 24 Hour Race - GT3RS (Chris Harris)

    This has the potential to give P and the 918 HUGE credibility... not that it doesn't have it already. Would be a great marketing move


    --

    Slow In, Fast Out


    Re: Walter Röhrl competes in the Nürburgring 24 Hour Race - GT3RS (Chris Harris)

    24 hours in the 'Green Hell': The Nurburgring 24hr might be the best race of all...

    bergmeister-leitz.jpg

    Indianapolis claims to be the center of world racing. So does Daytona. If nothing else, their slogans represent marketing hyperbole perfect for plastering across T-shirts and every officially licensed product the tracks' marketeers can think of. But both have the history and the credentials to make a strong argument that they deserve their titles. (I once had a catalog of Michael Schumacher-endorsed items that included--and I swear this is true--a vacuum cleaner and an official sausage. But I digress.)

    Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, Le Mans and Monte Carlo, which hosted its Formula One Grand Prix on Sunday, not only boast the finest pedigrees but also offer more than enough glamour to trump a red-carpet Hollywood premiere. 

    Yet one race might top them all as the best experience available to motorsports enthusiasts.

    I was fortunate enough to attend the 38th edition of the 24 Hours of the Nürburgring, held May 15-16 in Germany's Eifel Mountain region, and it's going to be hard to point to any of those other venues the next time someone asks me which race I would choose if I could attend only one each year.

    The 'Ring receives more than its fair share of ink, especially in recent years as carmakers use it ad nauseam as a marketing tool as well as a vehicle-development ground, touting up-to-the-minute lap times achieved by their latest offerings in a never-ending shootout for bragging rights. But that sells the place short. In an odd, somewhat depressing development, it has almost become a locale from which production-car numbers are simply beamed onto Web sites and their associated discussion forums, sparking debates about what constitutes “street” tires, whether the car in question was a “ringer” (no pun intended, but we should start using the term as such), and so on.

    When you actually visit the track, overlooked by Nür castle ("burg" means "castle" in German), its history washes over you immediately, and that is not confined to the circuit. I write these words from the Dorint Hotel on the modern Grand Prix track's front straight. This place, along with the new and similarly located Lindner Hotel (note to high-rollers: there's a casino on the premises), has only one theme. Its halls are lined with hundreds of photographs and paintings depicting the greats who have competed nearby over the years, while its conference rooms are named for other great circuits around the globe. The Dorint is predictably expensive and difficult to book during a race weekend, but it's worth stopping by even if circumstances dictate that you secure a room elsewhere.

    I arrived at the hotel on Friday and headed straight to dinner with a large contingent of Porsche personnel. The company raced its new 911 GT3 R hybrid in the Nürburgring 24. I struck up a conversation with two of the car's drivers, four-time American Le Mans Series GT champion Jörg Bergmeister, age 34, and European Le Mans Series regular Richard Lietz, 26. For your trivia file: Bergmeister's father owned the Volkswagen/Audi dealership where Schumacher once worked as a mechanic. 

    Bergmeister explained the details of Porsche's flywheel-driven kinetic-energy recovery system, developed by the Williams F1 team. As Wolfgang Durheimer, Porsche's executive vice president of research and development, explained later, driving such a car effectively is not as simple as it looks. Feel free to skip the following section if technical matters bore you, but as racing looks for ways to remain relevant to the automotive industry, Porsche's hybrid experiment is noteworthy. Don't call it green, though; the white-with-orange paint scheme is influenced by the hybrid hardware's orange power cables.

    Energy generated under braking spins the flywheel, which operates at between 28,000 rpm and 40,000 rpm. The system can store the energy for long periods of time--Porsche wouldn't say exactly what constitutes "almost indefinitely"--and when a driver wants a boost, he pulls a paddle mounted on the left side of the steering wheel to activate two 60-kilowatt electric motors located on the front axles. As Bergmeister pointed out, not only does this give the car additional grunt on top of the 480-hp, 4.0-liter flat-six engine, but it also works effectively as a temporary all-wheel-drive system to aid with traction out of corners and to help put power down early.

    Operating KERS is not particularly straightforward, however. The amount of pressure the driver exerts on the paddle dictates how much power the electric motors deliver. The system can also work automatically via one of nine predetermined settings, relying on steering angle and throttle position to sort out how much assistance to add. Either way, full boost lasts for six seconds; according to Bergmeister, it then takes three "full brake" zones--say, from sixth gear down to second gear--to recharge the flywheel fully. As another option, the drivers can also push a button that switches the electric motors into alternator mode, allowing them to charge the flywheel as they spin. This method takes more time to charge, though, and adds mechanical drag, so it might be best suited for use during periods spent behind a pace car.

    On race morning, Bergmeister would show off a dashboard display that indicates the amount of charge available, then explain that he didn't like that one so he asked his engineers for another display made of eight vertically oriented LED lights. On top of all that, Durheimer would reveal that Porsche engineered a sensation not unlike the pedal pulse you feel when ABS triggers in a road car, but here it tells the driver that the flywheel is charging.

    At dinner that first night, I pointed out that piloting this 911 sounded a lot like playing a video game, and the drivers nodded. Uh-oh, gotcha! I used this as an opportunity to segue into a discussion about the Nordschleife itself, since I completed a driving school there a year and a half ago and have spent a lot of time since then driving a virtual version of it. I have, predictably, deluded myself into thinking that I know something about its 70-something turns. When I asked the drivers to name their favorite corners, Bergmeister, who has far more experience there than his co-driver, mentioned a couple, including the famous Flugplatz. Lietz replied with a deadpan look, "The straightaway." I was starting to like this guy.

    I liked the Austrian even more when, as if they cared remotely, I started to name some of my own favorites. 

    "He knows the names!" an incredulous Lietz exclaimed. "I don't even know all the names."

    Not so fast, Rich. I started to describe an uphill right-hander, but, now feeling pressure to impress them again, I couldn't remember what it was called. The drivers stared at me blankly (or was that boredom setting in?), so I said, "It's right before Bergwerk. After the double left." This led to the following, wholly unlikely exchange. (Keep in mind that Bergmeister grew up just miles from the 'Ring and, as he tells the story, did his first laps “in my mother's womb” as his father drove her around it.)

    Bergmeister: "Exmuhle?"

    Me: "Right, Exmuhle. What's that double left before it called again?"

    Bergmeister: "Breidscheid. But it's not a double left!"

    Me: "Yes it is."

    Bergmeister: "No, it's not, that's a single left turn."

    Me: "No, you turn left into it, then have to turn left again for the exit."

    Bergmeister: "It's not a double left!"

    Lietz, interjecting: "I think he's right."

    Bergmeister looked at Lietz quizzically and said something in German, probably a death threat.

    Lietz: "Well, it's a double apex there."

    Bergmeister: "OK, but ... "

    Lietz: "Give him a break!"

    This delighted me to no end. When I got back to the Dorint, I called up a friend who is also addicted to the virtual Nordschleife. "You're never going to believe this!"

    My friend laughed at the story. "You're such a loser," he said.

    Undaunted, I went to sleep happy.

    V2-100519896.jpg

    Race day dawned, and the 3pm start was something to behold. Although the event is not part of any major international championship and GT3-spec cars are the fastest on the grid, consider that there were 198 entries and approximately 800 drivers in this year's running. The 24 Hours combines the old Nordschleife with the modern circuit to create a track that is 15.769 miles long, but that is still too many cars to start at once. Add the fact that the speed--and talent--differential among competitors is huge, thanks to relatively loose licensing requirements and 24 different classes that include everything from GT3 race cars to an old, essentially stock Acura Integra, and organizers are wise to conduct three separate rolling starts, grouped by class and spaced three minutes apart.

    Unless you're trying to stay awake for the duration (I didn't), it is unlikely that you will run out of things to do. A trip away from the F1-circuit area is mandatory. Walking miles through the woods, you witness cars tackling the corners from a variety of angles, and you can discern vehicle behavior and driver ability as machines and men face the track's unbelievable challenges. Up, down, blind in, blind out, these corners almost seem alive and in some sort of predatory mode. You wait for the track to jump out and bite some poor, unsuspecting soul who passes over it, like a stingray that camouflages itself under ocean silt. So stupefying is the Green Hell, as Jackie Stewart named it in 1968, that if you're anything like me, you will find yourself unfolding your circuit map for the 52nd time, holding it out and trying to reconcile its seemingly innocent lines of ink with the ungodly ribbon of doom that stretches before your eyes. That's the difference between this place and other castles of speed such as Indy or Daytona. At those places, once you get over the sheer amount of acreage they occupy, the cars and the drivers are the show. At the 'Ring, the road is the No. 1 star.

    Be warned, though: Venturing into the forest is a crap shoot, and not because the frothing fans--a portion of the 220,000 in attendance--are generally anything but polite. (I did witness one disturbing scene that I don't feel comfortable repeating here. I'll just say that whether it's at Talladega or Nürburg, there's always an X factor when it comes to race fans.) The shuttle driver who was supposed to pick up my traveling companions and me disappeared, and even when we finally managed to get a ride sent our way, a traffic jam combined with the mysterious disappearance to turn a two-hour trip into a seven-hour ordeal. Temperatures in the low 40s did not make the situation more bearable, but on the bright side, we did witness loads of racing in pitch-black conditions. At one point--so fitting that I couldn't believe it was happening--AC/DC's "Highway to Hell" was being pumped through a kajillion-watt amp and into the night as engine noise and headlights cut through the darkness.

    Night driving here? Now, that takes some serious stones and makes after-sunset running at Sebring or Le Mans look like navigating your neighborhood during a brownout. 

    I also pondered the massive effort that necessarily goes into cleaning up the area after the checkered flag flies. Despite my best efforts, I failed to locate anyone in the track's administration offices who knew how many people and how many hours it takes, but put it this way: If Robin and his merry men were alive today, all they'd have to do is move their hoodly operation to the Eifel Mountains, and they'd never have to steal again with all of the junk they could collect to pawn.

    Despite the Nürburgring's relatively remote location, you can find civilization simply by wandering to the massive visitors center outside the main grandstands. Gift shops big and small occupy the vast multilevel building. It's a car and racing lover's dream, with many of the attractions in an airy, mall-like setting featuring natural light. There's an official Ferrari store, an Aston Martin boutique, a museum, slot-car racing, PlayStation racing, food, exotic cars on display, a convenience store, even a Subway. True, all of this is there during the F1 weekend, but that race, which does not use the old circuit, alternates years with Hockenheim. 

    Speaking of F1, I caught myself on the verge of buying some of its official merchandise in one of the gift shops on Sunday, but I realized that would be an insult to the 24 Hours and no way to commemorate my attendance. So I started looking at the various 'Ring paraphernalia on offer, but nothing seemed quite right. Just as I was about to give up and head back to the paddock for the race's conclusion, I saw it: a black T-shirt with a gold skull wearing a crown and the moniker "King of the 'Ring."

    Unfortunately, the 911 hybrid suffered a blown engine with just an hour and 45 minutes to go after exceeding all expectations and leading for 15 hours. That meant Bergmeister left the circuit early.

    I never got to show him my shirt.

    Nurburgring-24hr--The-Best-Race-Of-All_AutoWeek-article

    Smiley SmileySmiley


    Re: Walter Röhrl competes in the Nürburgring 24 Hour Race - GT3RS (Chris Harris)

    Nürburgring 24-hour: Lapping the Nordschleife in Porsche's 911 GT3 RS...
     
    Last weekend, 198 cars raced in the 38th Nürburgring 24-hour race in Germany. AutoWeek motorsports editor Mac Morrison was on the ground there soaking it all in, and came back with this outstanding on-board video shot from the cockpit of a Porsche 911 GT3 RS.
     
    The car--co-driven by racing drivers Patrick Simon and Roland Asch, along with European journalists Chris Harris and Horst von Saurma--was completely stock, save for slick racing tires. Of course, we've all seen plenty of on-board footage from the legendary circuit, but we never get tired of it--and this is one of the best-quality examples we've come across.
     
    For the 'Ring 24, you will note, the competitors tackle not only the 13-plus-mile-long Nordschleife, but also the modern Grand Prix layout, which together create a wicked 15.769-mile lap...
     
     
     
    Smiley SmileySmiley SmileySmiley

    Re: Walter Röhrl competes in the Nürburgring 24 Hour Race - GT3RS (Chris Harris)

    Gents,

    Thanks for posting all this - excellent reading!!

     


    Re: Walter Röhrl competes in the Nürburgring 24 Hour Race - GT3RS (Chris Harris)

    2010 Nurburgring Film: "24 HOURS IN 19500 FRAMES..."

    Chris Harris: "...it's awesome..."

    24-Hours-In-19500-Frames_StereoScreen-link

    Smiley SmileySmiley SmileySmiley


    Re: Walter Röhrl competes in the Nürburgring 24 Hour Race - GT3RS (Chris Harris)

     Very good film, thanks Boxster Coupe GTS


    Re: Walter Röhrl competes in the Nürburgring 24 Hour Race - GT3RS (Chris Harris)

    The bone stock GT3 RS could have finished even better than 13th overall, but Walter needed to pit due to medical conditions in the last seconds to do a driver swap!! 

    http://www.worldcarfans.com/110052426426/standard-porsche-911-gt3-rs-places-13th-overall-at-nurburgring

     


    --

    indeed shifting is ancient technology - so is a fuel burning engine..  I happen to like both :) 


    Re: Walter Röhrl competes in the Nürburgring 24 Hour Race - GT3RS (Chris Harris)

    2010 Porsche 911 GT3 RS at the Nurburgring 24-hour...
     
    911-GT3-RS_Nurburgring-2010_Chris-Harris.jpg
     
    The Nürburgring 30 hour race...
     
    Stuttgart. People describe the Porsche 911 GT3 RS in many different ways. Some say it's a ‘street-legal race car', others say it's a ‘Porsche for purists'. Ex-DTM pilot Roland Asch quite simply says it's the ‘best sports car in the world'. But, above all, the GT3 RS is this: An uncompromising sports car fully suited to racing. To prove it, the vehicle was put to the test at one of the world's toughest automobile races - the Nürburgring 24 Hours. And if that wasn't torture enough, the white-and-red liveried racer was driven to and from the race track. The result: After virtually 30 hours at full throttle, the production vehicle with the "S-GO 2400" number plate was still top fit.
     
    Germany's most gruelling race, however, left its scars on the car's body: The driver's door and the left door sill are dented after a rough punt courtesy of a rival, and the front indicator light is smashed. The front and fenders are adorned with traces of black rubber. But all is hale and hearty under the body of the #11 GT3 RS. The engine runs like new, and not one unfriendly noise comes from its manual six-speed gearbox. "As planned, we replaced the front brakes during the race," explains driver Roland Asch (Germany). "But other than that, the mechanics concentrated on refuelling, tyre changes and cleaning the windows during the pit stops. The car ran like clockwork."
     
    Asch received support at the Nürburgring 24 hour race from three experienced pilots: Race driver and TV commentator Patrick Simon (Germany) as well as journalists Chris Harris (Great Britain) and Horst von Saurma (Germany) turned consistently fast and perfect laps. And the production engine also performed brilliantly and with exemplary efficiency at race speed: the pilots could complete up to eleven laps before having to refuel - considerably more than most of their direct competition.
     
    From 42nd grid position, the 911 GT3 RS battled its way up the order hour after hour to finally cross the finish line a sensational thirteenth. One of the first to congratulate the squad was Wolfgang Dürheimer, Member of the Board for Research and Development at Porsche AG: "The driver quartet of the standard 911 GT3 RS showed impressively what such a car - that customers can buy at any Porsche dealership - is capable of."
     

    The new Porsche 911 GT3 RS is powered by a 450 hp, 3.8-litre, six-cylinder boxer engine. The high-revving unit reaches a specific output of over 118 hp per litre. Developed in the motorsport department at Weissach, the 911 GT3 RS is fitted with a particularly short transmission ratio for racing purposes as a standard feature. The dynamic engine mounts featured as standard contribute to improved driving dynamics. Depending on the driving situation, the mounts change in their stiffness and damping effect, improving the connection between the engine and body when driving under racing conditions. The aerodynamics is consequently designed for downforce - another important feature for track racing. The basic Euro price is 122,400 Euro without value-added tax and country specific fittings. Including value-added tax and country specific fittings, the 911 GT3 RS costs 145,871 Euro. In the UK the 911 GT3 RS is priced from £105,920 - with motor sport breeding included as standard.

    -- Press Release --

    Smiley SmileySmiley


    Re: Walter Röhrl competes in the Nürburgring 24 Hour Race - GT3RS (Chris Harris)

    Walter didn't compete in the race... With last-minute they mean they had to find another driver in the days before the race. ;)


    Re: Walter Röhrl competes in the Nürburgring 24 Hour Race - GT3RS (Chris Harris)

    2010 Nürburgring 24-Hour Race Highlights...

    Smiley SmileySmiley


    Re: Walter Röhrl competes in the Nürburgring 24 Hour Race - GT3RS (Chris Harris)

    Very nice! Thanks!


    Re: Walter Röhrl competes in the Nürburgring 24 Hour Race - GT3RS (Chris Harris)

    SmileySmileySmiley Thanks,


    --

    Slow In, Fast Out


    Re: Walter Röhrl competes in the Nürburgring 24 Hour Race - GT3RS (Chris Harris)

    The RS looks so at home on the Ring. :)


    --

    http://www.phrog.co.uk


    Re: Walter Röhrl competes in the Nürburgring 24 Hour Race - GT3RS (Chris Harris)

    Smiley SmileySmiley


    Re: Walter Röhrl competes in the Nürburgring 24 Hour Race - GT3RS (Chris Harris)

    Very nice indeed!

    Latest - Next year (2011) the24 hour Nurburgring will take place after Le Mans. Around 25-26 June.

     


    Re: Walter Röhrl competes in the Nürburgring 24 Hour Race - GT3RS (Chris Harris)

    Porsche Intelligent Performance. Endurance Test at the Nurburgring.

    Porsche official videos...

    1) Porsche GT3 R Hybrid: Trailer...

    2) Porsche GT3 R Hybrid: Preparation...

    3) Nurburgring 24-hour - Part I...

    4) Nurburgring 24-hour - Part II...

    5) Nurburgring 24-hour - Part III...

    6) Nurburgring 24-hour - Part IV...

    bg.jpg

    Porsche-Intelligent-Performance_2010-Nurburgring-24hr_official-videos

    Smiley SmileySmiley


    Re: Walter Röhrl competes in the Nürburgring 24 Hour Race - GT3RS (Chris Harris)

    Porsche Intelligent Performance. Endurance Test at the Nurburgring.

    Porsche official photos...

     

    Porsche-Intelligent-Performance_2010-Nurburgring-24hr_official-photos

    Smiley SmileySmiley


    Re: Walter Röhrl competes in the Nürburgring 24 Hour Race - GT3RS (Chris Harris)

    Porsche Intelligent Performance. Endurance Test at the Nurburgring.

    Porsche official photos...

    Porsche-Intelligent-Performance_2010-Nurburgring-24hr_official-photos

    Smiley SmileySmiley


    Re: Walter Röhrl competes in the Nürburgring 24 Hour Race - GT3RS (Chris Harris)

    Porsche Intelligent Performance. Endurance Test at the Nurburgring.

    Porsche official photos...

    Porsche-Intelligent-Performance_2010-Nurburgring-24hr_official-photos

    Smiley SmileySmiley


    Re: Walter Röhrl competes in the Nürburgring 24 Hour Race - GT3RS (Chris Harris)

    Porsche Intelligent Performance. Endurance Test at the Nurburgring.

    Porsche official photos...

    Porsche-Intelligent-Performance_2010-Nurburgring-24hr_official-photos

    Smiley SmileySmiley


    Re: Walter Röhrl competes in the Nürburgring 24 Hour Race - GT3RS (Chris Harris)

    Wonderful Photos! Thanks!


    Re: Walter Röhrl competes in the Nürburgring 24 Hour Race - GT3RS (Chris Harris)

    Porsche Intelligent Performance. Endurance Test at the Nurburgring.

    Porsche official photos...

    Porsche-Intelligent-Performance_2010-Nurburgring-24hr_official-photos

    Smiley SmileySmiley


    Re: Walter Röhrl competes in the Nürburgring 24 Hour Race - GT3RS (Chris Harris)

    Porsche Intelligent Performance. Endurance Test at the Nurburgring.

    Porsche official photos...

    Porsche-Intelligent-Performance_2010-Nurburgring-24hr_official-photos

    ...thanks again to Porsche for the great photography and exciting racing at the 2010 Nurburgring! Smiley

    Smiley SmileySmiley SmileySmiley


    Re: Walter Röhrl competes in the Nürburgring 24 Hour Race - GT3RS (Chris Harris)

    Thank you for those marvellous pictures! While looking through them I noticed that Porsche used plastic tear-off film on the windscreen, does anybody know how many sheets they had initially applied?


    Re: Walter Röhrl competes in the Nürburgring 24 Hour Race - GT3RS (Chris Harris)

    GT3 R Hybrid = 2 extra laps per tank of gas


    --

    Slow In, Fast Out


    Re: Walter Röhrl competes in the Nürburgring 24 Hour Race - GT3RS (Chris Harris)

    A cool reminder of the joys of the Nurburgring...

    ...available in glorious High Definition!!!

    Smiley SmileySmiley


    Re: Walter Röhrl competes in the Nürburgring 24 Hour Race - GT3RS (Chris Harris)

    Porsche 911 GT3 RS at the 2010 Nurburgring 24-hour race...

    Smiley SmileySmiley


    Re: Walter Röhrl competes in the Nürburgring 24 Hour Race - GT3RS (Chris Harris)

    Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid: “What's It Like To Drive The World's Most Exotic Hybrid Sports Car?”

    (17 June 2010)



    Long before we developed legs capable of working accelerator and brake pedals, a creature named Tiktaalik decided to wander up out of the ocean. In response to its environment, Tiktaalik's aquatic front flippers evolved to have wrists capable of dragging a heavy body across the ground. Tiktaalik represents a transitional bridge between the old and the new. The rest, as they say, is history.

    We are in the early days of a fundamental shift in the design paradigm of cars. Responding to a future clouded by issues such as climate change and peak oil, automakers are looking at new ways -- alternative powertrain technologies, lighter materials, new vehicle architectures -- to deliver high performance driving experiences more efficiently. Through it's not the first attempt at racing a gas-electric hybrid system, Porsche's 911 GT3 R Hybrid may already be the most successful, having recently led the majority of the demanding 24 Hours Nürburgring race.

    As with Tiktaalik, the innovation in the Porsche hybrid is happening up front. In the GT3 R Hybrid, two electric motors are linked to the front wheels, adding 160 horsepower to the standard GT3 R's 480-horsepower internal combustion engine. Under braking, these motors spin to generate electricity, which is used to accelerate a flywheel spinning in a vacuum (see diagram below). Without the drag of air molecules to slow it down, this flywheel can spin for long periods at 40,000 rpm, allowing it to act as a lightweight "battery", an energy reservoir. When the GT3 R Hybrid driver wants a six-second burst of acceleration, the flywheel spins down to zero, generating electricity which is fed through the motors to the front tires. (For more technical information on the Porsche hybrid system, see this Autoblog feature). With the debut of this efficient and effective technology platform, the hybrid 911 may be the automotive wrist-walker we've been waiting for, the car our children's children will look back upon and say "the revolution started here".


    We recently spoke with Jörg Bergmeister, the man behind the wheel of the 911 GT3 R Hybrid at the Nürburgring 24. Bergmeister is a thoughtful and exceptionally talented driver, and responsible for some of the most intense racing moments to come out of the American Le Mans Series in recent years.

    TRANSLOGIC: You're a member of the development team for the Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid. What's that process like?

    Bergmeister: The very first test I did was at the end of December, 2009, but that was just a basic rollout to just see if stuff works. I first drove the car in February, 2010. I think we started with 20 kilowatts on each wheel, so power was at a fairly low level. We went step-by-step up on the power and the engineers kept improving the system. As a driver, it was really interesting to start with a brand new system, with no prior experience. Everything that was done was started from scratch, and it's fun for a driver to have a lot of involvement, because you can see the steps and also the influence you've had as a driver.

    TRANSLOGIC: How exactly do you control the hybrid system? How much of it is manual and how much is automatic?

    Bergmeister: The recharging of the system is done automatically. We have five different settings on the steering wheel. We can choose how much power the system generates during braking, but the engineers tell us which settings we should run and what we should do there. In general, the system is pretty much automated, especially the recharging. And for the driver, we have the possibility to use a boost whenever we like, when the system is charged.

    TRANSLOGIC: How do you engage the boost?

    Bergmeister: There's a little hand lever behind the steering wheel, just like a shift paddle pretty much, and we use that. At the beginning, it was a little button on the steering wheel, but the drivers thought that was pretty hard to reach, so we figured something like the shift paddle works best. That's what we use to accelerate.

    TRANSLOGIC: How can you tell if the hybrid system is working?

    Bergmeister: You can feel it right away when you use the boost! You have an extra 160 horsepower that goes to the front wheels, and that makes quite a big difference, not just in the handling of the car, but also in acceleration!

    TRANSLOGIC: What's it like having a flywheel spinning at 40,000 rpm next to you? What does it sound like?

    Bergmeister: Talking about the 40,000 rpm, Porsche did a crash test and everything to make sure that the system is safe. But I've never really had any doubts that there are any problems or that it would be dangerous. While driving you don't really feel anything. Sometimes on the braking, when it's about to be completely charged, you can hear it a little bit, but it's nothing really loud or anything. And the regular engine and the gearbox are pretty noisy! So you don't really hear anything from the flywheel. When the flywheel is starting, it sounds like an electric engine. I can make the sound: it's like RRRWWWWWWOOOOOOOOOOOO! Just a kind of a spinning sound, but nothing disturbing or anything.



    TRANSLOGIC: The sound of a 911 motor is a fundamental part of the Porsche driving aesthetic. Is this the beginning of a new era?

    Bergmeister: No, I don't think the hybrid system really has an influence on the engine sound. The internal combustion motor will rev up a little quicker when you boost, but the actual sound in the car is the same. Just hearing the car drive by, it sounds exactly the same as a normal GT3 R, so there's no change. I think that's a big part of Porsche, the sound of the engine.

    TRANSLOGIC: Have you had to change your driving style with this version of the 911?

    Bergmeister: A little bit, but it's not really a whole different animal. The more tools you have as a driver -- and if you can use those to the maximum -- the better. It takes a little while to know how exactly the car handles in situations when you use the boost, but that only takes a couple of lessons. It's really a lot of fun! For the weight distribution, the car is about 125 kilos (275 pounds) heavier than the normal GT3 R, and most of that weight was put to the front, so the weight distribution is obviously pretty good. When you use the boost, you just have to think of how a four-wheel-drive car reacts when you drive it. So usually, especially in the rain, it's very noticeable. When you have oversteer and feel the traction control, you can use the boost and it really stabilizes the car and pulls the car straight. It's pretty impressive.

    TRANSLOGIC: So if you feel the rear of the car coming around, you can send boost to the front wheels and it pulls you through?

    Bergmeister: Yes. That's the idea, to a certain extent. I mean, you can still spin out, but it's definitely a tool that you can also use just for the handling of the car. That being said, Porsche also put a lot of work into the details. When we pull the shift paddle, it doesn't just automatically put full power to the front wheels. The power output is also influenced by how much input there is in the steering wheel, and what the throttle position is like. So it's very easy to modulate, which makes it a lot of fun!

    TRANSLOGIC: What's the overall boost in efficiency?

    Bergmeister: The only other car at the Nürburgring that had a 120-liter (31.7 gallons) tank like us was an Audi R8, and we could do two laps more than they did. That's quite a bit.

    TRANSLOGIC: And what's the performance benefit?

    Bergmeister: The goal was never really to have a performance benefit. The goal was always to have an efficiency benefit, and to do more laps than anybody else by having about the same performance as a non-hybrid GT3 R. I think we might have been just a little bit slower than the quickest car in the Nürburgring race, but compared to them we were able to run ten laps per tank of fuel and they only did eight.

    TRANSLOGIC: So when you think about this hybrid 911, are there any races where the system would not be helpful?

    Bergmeister: Maybe in a sprint race it wouldn't be such a big advantage, but even there, passing other cars, it's a really great tool. You use the boost to get by another competitor. Definitely, the longer the race is, the more the efficiency helps you and I think that is the key.

    TRANSLOGIC: Porsche has a history of racing four-wheel drive 911's. Could you imagine this system doing the Dakar, like the 959 did, or climbing Pikes Peak?

    Bergmeister: I'd say definitely the system is just at the beginning. There's a lot of potential for more development. With the two electric engines in the front, you can play around, use all the stored energy as a front differential, and tools like that. So there's so much more to work on and to develop. There's more to come, I hope!

    TRANSLOGIC: Can you imagine ever racing an all-electric car?

    Bergmeister: Well, I like the sound of an internal combustion engine! Probably there will be a time that that will happen, but if that's really the solution, I'm not sure. Looking at the past, seeing how the internal combustion engines develop through time and how much more efficient they get, I think there's more to come in that area. Internal combustion engines will be around for quite a while longer, I hope. To me, a racecar needs to have a good sound as well!

    TRANSLOGIC: Given global warming and issues of environmental degradation around the planet, where do you think racing needs to go over the next two decades?

    Bergmeister: That's a tough one. Looking at what the American Le Mans Series is doing already, they are the leader in green racing worldwide, and have the Michelin GREEN X Challenge. It's a good championship. Manufacturers are really looking closely at it, and trying to make engines even more efficient, because fuel mileage also plays a big part in our races in the ALMS. It's a virtuous circle: The better the efficiency you have in the race car, the better for the environment, the better the performance. If you can use less fuel and still get the same performance, you have to carry less weight in the car, so therefore you have to do less pit stops. So I think you're going to see more performance through efficiency in the next years.

    TRANSLOGIC: That's a great summary of philosophy behind the GT3 R Hybrid.

    Bergmeister: Efficiency is everything. Racing is about efficiency, not just performance. It's a combination of performance and having the right efficiency, especially in sports car racing, in the long-distance races, that's the key.

    TRANSLOGIC: How might this hybrid powertrain system translate to future street Porsches like the 918 Spyder? How do you think it will change the Porsche driving experience?

    Bergmeister: It would still be a Porsche, for sure. When talking about a hybrid, you kind of think of a car like a Prius or something like that, but when I first got in the 911 Hybrid, I only thought, "Whoa, that's so much fun!" and that it was still a Porsche. So I don't think there will be any changes on the fun part of driving a Porsche.

    TRANSLOGIC: What is your daily driver, given that you're a family man?

    Bergmeister: A 911 Carrera S. My wife loves the car as well, but sometimes she probably would rather have a Cayenne or something similar! But I wouldn't have as much fun as with a 911, so...

    TRANSLOGIC: And if you could have a dream garage, what would be in your stable?

    Bergmeister: Oh, there's so many nice cars! Let's start with the Porsche Carrera GT. That's one of them for sure. I drove a 914-6 racecar recently and that was a lot of fun, so that would be nice. One of my dad's first racecars was an NSU TT in Jägermeister colors. Audi just rebuilt it for their museum -- it's a pretty famous car, and there's a lot of models of it. That would be a cool car to have, as well.

    TRANSLOGIC: Cars and their history obviously mean a lot to you. What's a favorite car related memory from your childhood?

    Bergmeister: Probably when my brother and I got our first go-kart for Christmas when my brother was three and I was two, or just about to turn three. My grandfather gave me an ignition cable and he pulled the manual starter off the engine, and I got an electric shock! That was my first involvement with racing. And then my brother and I both started go-karting -- it still sticks in my memory!

    TRANSLOGIC: With your busy racing schedule, how do you stay inspired?

    Bergmeister: Racing is the one thing I love -- well, not the only thing, but I've done it my entire life and it has been my hobby and I made it my profession. I'm very fortunate to make my hobby my profession. I think that's enough inspiration. I just love, love racing.

    TRANSLOGIC: The 24 hours of Le Mans, 24 hours of Daytona, multiple championships across many racing series... you've won at many of the venues that made Porsche the aspirational brand it is today. What does Porsche represent for you?

    Bergmeister: Porsche, for me it was a dream when I became a factory driver, a dream come true. I'm from Germany, and Porsche has such a long history in racing and they've been so successful in everything they did in racing. So being involved with them and being able to work with them is just amazing and it's a lot of fun. I hope there's more years to come and hopefully more success to come.

    Porsche-911-GT3-R-Hybrid_Bergmeister-Translogic-interview

    Smiley SmileySmiley SmileySmiley


    Re: Walter Röhrl competes in the Nürburgring 24 Hour Race - GT3RS (Chris Harris)

    INSIDE 24H NURBURGRING (Lammertink Racing / Toyo Tires)

    Smiley SmileySmiley


    Re: Walter Röhrl competes in the Nürburgring 24 Hour Race - GT3RS (Chris Harris)

    NURBURGRING 24H: INSIDE PORSCHE GT3 CUP (Lammertink Racing / Toyo Tires)

    Smiley SmileySmiley


     
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