He’s one of the most successful team principals at the Nürburgring: Olaf Manthey. His Porsche cars regularly clinched top spots in the VLN and 24-hour races and internationally the team fielded the GTs from Zuffenhausen with great success too – up to and including the factory-backed entry in the World Endurance Championship. At the AvD Oldtimer Grand Prix Manthey is taking the wheel again: in the field of the Aston Martin Masters Endurance Legends, he’s driving a Porsche 993 Cup 3.8 RSR which he shares with Ralph Bahr.
This Porsche is not just ‘any Porsche’ – it was the first car that truly deserved being called a ‘Manthey-Porsche’. “It was the first car we built ourselves,” says Olaf Manthey, precisely remembering the entire effort invested in the project in 1997. “We converted a 993 Cup car into an RSR at the time. The whole rear with fenders, bumpers and the tailgate was built from scratch. At the front, we relocated the oil coolers. We redesigned the air ducts so that the spent air was not routed underneath the car but dissipated on the side. We also designed the underfloor and the rear diffusor.” This proved to be an advantage on the Nordschleife that was still a lot bumpier back then.” The car was running until 2002. Afterwards it was only parked in the garage.” But in view of its special history that was a shame, so Manthey decided to hand the RSR over to Ralph Bahr, who is at home in historic motorsport as the organiser of the Touring Car Classics, among other things.
Manthey: “Incredible feelings”
Manthey himself last drove the 3.8-liter GT in 1999. “The year before, we still raced with it at Daytona,” he recalls. “And we clinched a number of successes with it, including several victories in the VLN. At Daytona, we were leading the GT class but then engine failure stopped us.” Consequently, the Nordschleife victories remained the biggest successes of the 340-hp racer. Now Manthey, who ended his active career in 2005, is returning to his own roots. “It’s strange: you get into the car and it smells like it did 20 years ago, feels like it did 20 years ago and handles like it did 20 years ago.” Even though this entry is ultimately just for fun – the racing bug immediately infects the old champion again. “As soon as the wheels start rolling it’s no longer just for fun,” he says with a grin and bright eyes: “The feelings that come up when you sit in this car again are incredible.”