Here's How Kévin Estre Won The Nürburgring 24 In The First 20 Minutes

This is a Porsche racing masterclass that will knock your socks off

Gif: sebastian vittel on YouTube

Porsche’s ace sports car crew is packed to the gills with incredible talent, but one guy really making a name for himself as a Nürburgring specialist is Frenchman Kévin Estre. You may recall Estre’s famed pass in the grass from the 24 Hour in 2019 (if not, I’ve linked it right here) and while that ballsy move didn’t end up netting the team the victory in the end, it cemented his place as a legend.

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Porsche hadn’t won at the 24 hour since 2018, and prior to that since 2011. Thanks to Estre’s incredible first two laps, starting from 11th on the grid up into the lead by the middle of lap two, the team was thrust into a position to add more hardware to Zuffenhausen’s trophy cabinet.

The race itself was a new record for the shortest distance covered in 24 hours. Thanks to heavy rain in the first half, thick fog in the overnight, and the 14-plus-hour red flag that caused, there were fewer than ten actual hours of racing. Track position and race strategy became more important than ever.

Estre and the rest of the Manthey crew decided that the best move for their race was to start on slick tires, despite reports of rain, but shift the car to a soft suspension rain setup with lots of roll through the corners. This setup change helped Kévin find grip in the wet where others could not, but obviously he was the one making all of the money moves on track.

Is this as good as Leh Keen’s Rain Dance from eight years ago? It’s certainly less wet and it’s certainly less dark, and it’s certainly less scary. I think a case could be made for either, and both are totally awesome. I don’t know, watch both and tell me which one you like better. 

Jalopnik contributor with a love for everything sketchy and eclectic.

DISCUSSION

CaptainJanewaysCat
Capt. Janeway's Imaginary Cat

I said, “I’ll watch a few minutes and skip around.” I ended up watching it from start to end in one sitting. That is some intoxicating stuff from the crazy passes, the sound of the engine and gear (the one that sound like it’s about to explode and then the pitch goes even higher?), the patient hunting, the tires losing grip, etc.

Even near the end (spoiler) with a local yellow was fascinating. I thought this is where it ends but then, it’s back to full racing to the real end of the video!