- Various Porsche 911s have been winning in this classic race for four decades
- Porsche supplies top tier equipment for endurance racing
This weekend it's time for the 43rd edition of the 24 Hours of Zolder. As in many other 24-hour races in the world, Porsche has a long and successful tradition in this endurance race. The first victory dates back to 1989, the first of no fewer than eighteen victories. Also this year, Porsche will once again play a starring role in what has been called the hardest 24-hour race in the world, a race that puts man and machine to the test for 24 hours, without a moment of rest.
Zolder is primarily a national race, also the feature race of the Belcar Endurance Championship, but it is also a race known abroad as a difficult race. Unlike Spa or Le Mans, Zolder hardly knows any straight lines and there is a lot of shifting, in other words, man and machine do not rest. This means that the winning machines demonstrate exemplary reliability, something that naturally applies to Porsche.
In the initial phase, the endurance race in Zolder was mainly the playground for touring cars, but that came to an end in 1989. The Belgian trio of Philippe de Craene, Roger van Peteghem and Didier de Puyseleyr won the race in a Porsche 911 Carrera, setting off a long success story. It took a while for a second victory, but it came in 1992 with the mighty Porsche Carrera RS of the German trio Beilke-Dören-Prosten, followed by another six consecutive victories for Porsche, with names such as Paul Kumpen, Kurt Dujardyn or Alfons Taels. In 1997 and 1998, this happened each time with an incredibly strong trio: first Marc Goossens, Patrick Huisman and Vincent Vosse and a year later it was again Marc Goossens and Patrick Huisman, but this time with three-time GP F1 winner, Thierry Boutsen. It should be clear that the 24 Hours of Zolder gradually gained a lot of prestige. In 2001, the victory went to the legendary AD Sport with Albert Vanierschot, Freddy van Roey and Tim Verbergt.
With the arrival of the GT1 cars, it was a few years of waiting for new victories for Porsche, but they came when the regulations shifted from GT1 to GT3 and the countless customers of Porsche could compete for victory with their 911 GT3 Cup. Major Belgian teams, including First Motorsport, GPR Racing and ProSpeed Competition, took the win before we started a real four-in-a-row for Belgium Racing in 2013. Dylan Derdaele and Kenneth Heyer won together four times in a row, while Marc Goossens signed for his fifth and sixth record win in 2015 and 2016. The last Porsche to win the race was the car of the quintet Dries Vanthoor-Christian Engelhart-Lieven Goegebuer-Niels Lagrange-Xavier Stevens.
However, Porsche does not only stand for victories in Zolder, the hundreds of Porsche that were and are at the start in Zolder very often also mean the fulfillment of a dream, a motorsport dream for many racing gentlemen drivers. Due to the reliability of the Porsche products, they can do what they have long dreamed of without much worry!
In this regard, Porsche has long been working closely with Michelin, the tire supplier to dozens of teams for short and long competitions for many years, based on the same philosophy: combining performance and reliability for both professional and gentlemen drivers.
DAVID NOELS Photography