2021 sees Manthey Racing return to the Nordschleife with a single entry for the #911 Porsche 991.2 GT3R better known as ‘Grello’. At the 24 Hours of the Nürburgring, the car will be piloted by Matteo Cairoli, Michael Christensen, Kévin Estre and Lars Kern. The team plans to enter all VLN Nürburgring Endurance Series (NLS) before the 24-hour race as well as the Qualifying Race.
Lars Kern stays on after an interrupted 2020 season. The only non-works driver of the line-up, Kern has been a Porsche favourite since the test and development driver for Porsche’s road and performance cars returned to racing in 2016 and a year later took the VLN season finale victory in his first start with Grello.
Michael Christensen and Kévin Estre won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2018 and followed that up with the FIA World Endurance GTE Drivers’ Championship a year later while at Manthey Racing. They also won the Spa 24 Hours in 2019 with GPX Racing.
Meanwhile, Matteo Cairoli has been one of Porsche’s go-to drivers for customer teams since the young Italian was promoted from Porsche Junior to full works driver.
Last year, the team was forced to pull out of the ADAC Total 24-Hour Race on short notice after team members were tested positive for COVID-19 after the Le Mans 24 Hours the weekend before. Lars Kern – together with Mathieu Jaminet – was quickly moved over to Frikadelli Racing as a replacement driver.
“After a mixed 2020 season, in which we couldn’t start our home race, the Nürburgring 24 Hour race, we are looking forward to the upcoming season with anticipation,” Nicolas Raeder, team manager of Manthey Racing, says.
“Last year the NLS worked out a great concept so that we could race. We hope that the season can start as planned and that little by little fans will be able to join in again. We are well-prepared and ready to fight for victories.”
Porsche works driver Kévin Estre adds: “I was very happy to hear that I was competing for Manthey Racing at the Nordschleife again this year. I have the feeling that I have a personal bond with Grello after the years together in 2018 and 2019.
“We also have a great pairing of drivers: I’ve celebrated many victories with Michael, Lars is one of the most experienced Nordschleife drivers, and Matteo, as a young driver, has a lot of experience and speed. I can hardly wait to get back behind the wheel of Grello again.”
“I’m really looking forward to being able to contest another season with Manthey Racing on the Nordschleife,” Lars Kern says. “For me it is the dream combination: best track, best team, best car. It would also be nice if things normalised a little this year and if we had fans and a good atmosphere on the track again – the Nordschleife and the surrounding area thrive on the enthusiasm around it.
“Our driver line-up doesn’t need many words: two world champions and Matteo has already driven two 24-hour races with me. I can hardly wait until it starts.”
The 2021 season of the VLN Nürburgring Endurance Series kicks off on 27 March and is preceded by the annual pre-season test one week earlier. Click HERE for the entry list.
Please consider making a donation so we can keep bringing you our best content from the racetrack.