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Manthey Racing and the world’s toughest job: improving the 911 GT2 RS

By Andy Enright, 18 Dec 2019 Features

Manthey Racing

We speak to Manthey Racing’s Michael Grassl for the inside line on peak Porsche and how to build a testier Tesla

Olaf Manthey has a simple credo. “I don’t put any part on the car that doesn’t increase performance.”

Start from there and the mission statement becomes very simple. Manthey Racing’s Michael Grassl is in Melbourne to launch the ‘MR’ series of upgrades for Porsche’s GT models and the company founder’s words inform every product decision.

“He (Manthey) was not interested in a fancy bumper or whatever,” says Grassl. “With our modifications, maybe the cars don’t look that super bling-bling, but form always follows function, so if we don’t need a bigger wing, we don’t put on a bigger wing just for show and shine.”

It’s hard to think of a much more perfect super sports car than the Porsche 991 GT2 RS. It demolished the field last year to carry away sister magazine MOTOR’s Performance Car of the Year and set a lap record around Tailem Bend. With Manthey Racing modifications, it also set a record at the Nurburgring, clocking a time of 6:40.33, dethroning the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ in the process. But how do you improve a GT2 RS?

“We work hand in hand with Porsche to avoid people thinking ‘Porsche didn’t do a good development’ or that we are stepping in now,” he explains. “Porsche built a really, really good base car which works in every part of the world. If a customer wants to specify it for track use, we are there to help push the frontier further.”

“You have a bigger wing and we don’t recommend going vmax with our package because of higher camber values and such. The stock car is bulletproof. We are focused on the track performance so we tell customers don’t go over 310km/h for longer periods of time.”

Read next: Porsche Melbourne offers Manthey Racing upgrade for 911 GT models

Manthey Racing

Some customer questions are generally predictable. “People ask me ‘how much faster will the car be after it is with you?’” smiles Grassl. “I always tell them that in the worst case it’ll be as fast as before but you will probably do the same lap time easier. We’ve built a car that’s easy to drive. If you don’t get the feedback and you aren’t feeling safe in the car, you’ll back off.”

“And our kind of customers really drive their cars. We had one customer who did 100,000 kilometres in a GT3 RS within 16 months. Another guy, GT2 RS customer, did 2000 laps of the Nurburgring within the last two years. So he did over 40,000 kilometres just on the race track,” he says, wide-eyed. “When you look at the GT2 RS, we know of course it’s a high performance sports car, but Porsche has to think about the worst case.”

“In this worst case, somebody is taking delivery of this car in Stuttgart on the evening of the soccer World Cup final, where Germany are playing against the Netherlands and the highways are totally empty and he picks up the car in Stuttgart and goes flat out to Hamburg. You can’t do that with three degrees of camber. It’s impossible.”

Read next: Manthey Racing considering Bathurst road car lap record in 911 GT2 RS MR

“So, Porsche is running 1.2 degrees of camber because the car needs to do high speeds really well. They are running low rear wing in order to allow the car to roll. For the track you need more camber for cornering, you need more rear wing downforce, so Porsche has to build a car for anybody. We build a car for track day guys. For us it’s because we don’t serve 100 percent. We serve that percentage of freaks.”

When asked what his favourite Porsche model is, the answer is unambiguous. “GT2 RS,” he deadpans. “Because it’s the challenge. As Walter Roehrl says, a car is getting interesting if it can’t do everything flat out; if you have to lift. A GT3 RS with our package, at the ‘Ring can go flat out from Bergwerk to Mutkurve. All flat. With the GT2 RS, when the power is full and there is water in the water tank, you have to lift because it is so fast, flat doesn’t work. And that’s the challenge: that judgment on your part. If you start at the tourist entry, down in the bottom of Tiergarten-Senke, you’re already doing over 250km/h. It’s more challenging!”

“The GT3 RS is the most popular [for Manthey upgrades] though. We’re selling parts for brakes, for suspension, wheels and tyres. You can pick and choose suspension, brakes, wheels and tyres and aerodynamics - partly. Also some safety stuff. If somebody bought a GT3 without the roll cage or roll bar we offer a roll bar for the car.”

Manthey Racing

“With the GT2 RS you can’t buy the aero package separately because it creates so much downforce that the original suspension can’t handle it. It’s mandatory to have the suspension upgrade. The whole MR package also keeps the warranty of the base car, so it’s not possible to use single items, so you need to go full in. The GT2 RS MR package is €79,911 for the whole package or we have an alternative package for €64,911 without the wheels.”

“We had some enquiries from customers saying that they had the Weissach package car so they didn’t need to go for another set of wheels. Most of the customers go for it because they need a second set of wheels for the track and secondly, the aero discs that deliver the extra downforce don’t fit on the Weissach pack wheel. They only fit on our wheels which are a little bit lighter and a little bit different in design. They’re the same manufacturer – 98 percent the same.”

“We tested the aero discs in the wind tunnel and they create real downforce. When using these, you can even back the angle of the rear wing off by two degrees as a result. What we figured out in the windtunnel is you normally have interruption of the airflow down the side of the car [caused by the wheels]. With the discs it prevents vortices at the area of the wheel, reduces pressure inside the wheel arch and guides the air more easily to the rear of the car.”

Read next: Porsche 911 GT2 RS PCOTY Winner

“With the GT2 RS MR, when we set that time on the Nordschleife, we needed to use the same tyres, the same driver and the same power as the standard GT2 RS, otherwise the time difference could have been due to some other thing,” he reasons. “Doing it this way, we could confirm it was about our work on suspension, aero and brakes.”

Manthey Racing today is 51 percent owned by Porsche but came about by merging Manthey and Raeder Motorsport. The latter undertook a lot of work for other manufacturers, notably Audi, and even today other car makers come to Manthey for performance development. “The Raeder brand in our company is still alive, so we’re doing parts for BMW customers, Renault customers, Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda, SEAT. We also had an enquiry to do suspension in a Tesla, so we installed it and did the setup on Model 3.”

“For the moment, the [EV] performance sector is not that big. When you’re running a Tesla around the Nurburgring it will wilt at Breidscheid. The performance of it for a whole lap is not there. Their modified Model S was really fast, by the way, and that Plaid triple motor setup will be sold to customers eventually. They actually came to us for a seat. It had a standard seat in it at first and the driver was falling all over the place!”

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