Saturday, Aug 12 09:25am
AUTHOR: Simon Chapman

Manthey Racing Porsche destined for South Island debuts

A car not often seen south of the equator is set to debut in this year’s Carter’s Tyres South Island Endurance Series with two gun drivers.


Former Pirelli Porsche Championship winner Simon Gilbertson and circuit racing stalwart John McIntyre will campaign a Manthey Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup MR, only the second of its kind in the country.


The pair have a longstanding racing relationship that dates back to Gilbertson’s campaigns in the North Island Endurance Series One Hour competition.


The series begins in just under a month’s time at Mike Pero Motorsport Park in Christchurch on September 9th where the car will have its first competitive outing.


The team tested the car at a very wet Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park in Taupō earlier this week. Despite the awful conditions, Gilbertson said the car was significant step up on previous Porsches he’s driven.


“It’s just incredible,” he said speaking with


“It’s not a chore to drive. The step up from the 997 GT3 Cup chassis to the 991 chassis is essentially night and day in difference.


“The mechanical drip in the car is ridiculous. By the time we tune a proper New Zealand setup into the car it’ll be even better.


“The car has urgency about it and it’s constantly asking you the question, which is ‘you can push me a little harder so why don’t you?’”


More accustomed to V8s, McIntyre said moving from the Tulloch Motorsport Reiter Engineering SaReNi Camaro and into the Porsche brought a stark contrast.


“It couldn’t be any more different,” McIntyre said.


“It’s just chalk and cheese. The engine is in a different location, but apart from that there are far more differences about the way it goes around the track.


“We didn’t get a chance to push the car at all. Already just in the very few wet laps it showed a lot of promise.”


The Manthey Racing Porsche is essentially a step above the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup used in global Carrera Cup championships, but is one step below an FIA GT3 homologated Porsche 911 GT3 R.


Photo: John Cowpland


The MR is built by Manthey Racing using a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car as the base. The McIntyre/Gilbertson car is a 2013 Cup car that won at the Monaco Porsche Supercup race, which was stripped and rebuilt to standard MR spec at the end of the season.


The car and the team it originated from comes with a bit of history too. It was originally run by Switzerland based FACH Auto Tech, the same team who campaigned Earl Bamber to his Porsche Supercup title in 2014. They currently run Matt Campbell in this year’s Porsche Supercup.


Gilbertson’s MR isn’t the only one in the country. Conal Dempsey bought his own into the country earlier this year, but his runs a turbocharged engine that isn’t stock from the Manthey Racing factory.


Initially Gilbertson wanted to buy a Porsche 911 GT3 R, but realised that would be too expensive, so the MR was the next logical step.


Photo: John Cowpland


After its completion as an MR, the car went on to take third in the SPX class at the Dubai 24 Hours. With FACH Auto Tech selling their car Gilbertson pounced on the opportunity.


With several GT3 cars set to make the grid in this year’s South Island Endurance Series, Gilbertson said they have no intentions to set the world on fire.


“It’s a new car, with new geometry, so you can’t expect too much.


“Our plan very simply is all about qualifying for the New Zealand Endurance Championship final. Make no mistake, wherever we finish is where we finish, but our goal is to be selected to run in the final.”


While Gilbertson said they probably won’t have the pace to win on outright speed, McIntyre believes they might in with a good shot based on strategy.


“A lot of the GT3 cars use a lot of fuel, so potentially this car will use less fuel. If we drive it really well and do a good job then we could be up the front.”


Photos: Supplied/JMR, John Cowpland/Alphapix