Porsche 992 GT3 R takes first overall podium in Spa with Herberth Motorsport

News | May 12, 2023

On its official 24H SERIES debut, Porsche’s new 992-generation GT3 R secured an overall podium finish at the 2023 Hankook 12H SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS with former Overall GT Teams’ ‘Continents’ champion Herberth Motorsport.


Words – James Gent

Images – Nico Mombaerts

At this year’s Hankook 12H MONZA, Herberth Motorsport made its first official start in the 24H SERIES powered by Hankook with the brand-new, 992 generation Porsche GT3 R. Granted, Spa was not the first time we’d seen Herberth Motorsport’s new 992 GT3 R in action. 


One round earlier in Mugello, after its 991.2-gen model had succumbed to terminal gearbox issues after just 23 laps, the 2017 Overall GT Teams’ ‘Continents’ champion ran an impromptu, non-homologated test program for its brand-new 992 across three of the first of the first six hours. 


Spa though marked the first official competitive outing for Herberth’s newest contender. An unsurprisingly start strong it was too: the Bavarian team netted 6th overall on the grid during the wet-dry-wet qualifying session, while Porsche Junior Laurin Heinrich, parachuted in for the event, set the fastest time of any GT3 runner during his allotted 15-minute session. The 2022 Porsche Carrera Cup champion would go on to post the fastest overall race lap – a 2m 20.624s – on the Sunday as well. 


Ralf Bohn, opting for discretion over valour early on, kept the #91 in the overall top seven during the opening stages. 30 minutes in, the event’s first Code 60 was thrown, prompting leaders Haas RT and Land-Motorsport (#55) to pit early. Reacting quickly when the race went back to green, Bohn managed to mug both the Heart of Racing by SPS Mercedes-AMG and the sister Land Motorsport Audi R8 (#34) on the same lap. Herberth Motorsport was suddenly up to 3rd, albeit briefly.

The arrival of rain saw the lead yo-yo between eight different cars across the first two hours, but meticulous pit work – as expected from Herberth – meant the #91 remained staunchly in the top three heading into the overnight intervention. Daniel Allemann, in the right place at the right time, even took the lead with 90 minutes of ‘part one’ to go. That the German was overhauled in the slick conditions by Adam Christodoulou – the Mercedes-AMG PRO making a rare appearance in the 992 class – was no slight. 


Grey clouds were replaced with sunny skies on Sunday, and shortly after the restart, Herberth Motorsport soon overhauled Saintéloc Junior Team for 2nd. No mean feat, given that ‘restart’ driver Alfred Renauer, who’d made the six-hour journey overnight from the team’s base in Bayern with a fresh set of wheels, had run no laps at all in the 992 that weekend before jumping aboard for his first (and, as it turns out, only) stint of the race.


Scintillating pace from Porsche Junior Heinrich and the typically impeccable Robert Renauer meant Herberth had moved into the overall lead by three-quarter distance, and when Allemann stepped aboard for his final stint, the Bavarian team held a 70-second cushion over 2nd-placed Saintéloc. The experienced Allemann managed to keep pace with the chasing Paul Evrard, the former only dropped 15 seconds during his last, one-hour stint. Things were looking good for Herberth. 


Poor luck however would be the difference maker. As Allemann pitted for the final scheduled driver change, a stricken Vortex at Malmedy led to a Code 60 caution being thrown.  Only half of the tank could be filled, and with Herberth hoping to make full use of 90 minutes of green flag ‘Heinrich’ running, the #91 Porsche was brought back in one lap later to brim its tank, moving 2nd-placed Saintéloc into the lead. 

The final Code 60 of the day – to recover debris from La Source after a coming together between CP Racing and Juta Racing – could not have been more perfectly timed for the French team, which was able to bring the #26 Audi R8 in for its final splash of fuel and lose only half of its 75-second lead in the process. Demon laps from Heinrich brought the deficit down to 30 seconds in the closing stages before the Porsche was struck with a left rear puncture. There was no hope of catching the Saintéloc Junior Team after that.


Though bittersweet, Herberth Motorsport’s 2nd place finish marked its third overall podium of the season, and, perhaps more significantly, the first overall podium finish for Porsche’s new 992 GT3 R. 

You can also check out this article in our Hankook 12H MONZA magazine, available for download below.

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