Video: This is What Happens When a Le Mans Winner Races a Hillclimb

Hillclimbs are often spectacular because of the variety of machinery present and the incredible scenery, but the drivers, as talented as they are, aren’t usually top-tier professionals. So when one of Porsche’s best racing drivers sits behind the wheel of a Porsche GT3 Cup Car at a cramped hillclimb, the spectacle is even sweeter than usual.

Timo Bernhard is a seasoned veteran with wins at Sebring, Daytona, the Nürburgring, and Le Mans, which means he takes to this hillclimb like a duck to water. It helps that he’s in a competent machine; the 991 GT3 Cup car gives him 460 horsepower to push around 2,645 pounds, and broad Michelin slicks—measuring 10.5-inches wide in front at 12-inches wide in the rear—to stick it to the tarmac.

Bernhard’s hands blur across the wheel as he overwhelms the rear tires.

In fact, that combination of talent and hardware was enough to net Bernhard a new touring car record at the Glasbachrennen hillclimb in 2016. Sliding both axles with complete confidence, Bernhard places the rear of the car just inches of the guardrails with the rear wheels completely lit. Hardly intimidated by the new conditions, Bernhard shows just as much commitment through the slower sections as he does through the high speed bends; spinning the wheels out of every hairpin while still demonstrating great restraint and precision when the course straightens and the speeds climb.

Best of all, he rolls an impressive amount of speed into these blind corners, and with his Porsche’s propensity to understeer in the slower stuff, he shows how comfortable he is with the tail-heavy 991. Considering the confines of the narrow, public road, you can’t but help sit in amazement at the virtuoso performance on display.

 

About the author

Tommy Parry

Tommy Parry has been racing and writing about racing cars for the past seven years. As an automotive enthusiast from a young age, he worked jobs revolving around cars throughout high school, and tried his hand on the race track on his 20th birthday. After winning his first outdoor kart race, Tommy began working as an apprentice mechanic to amateur racers in the Bay Area to sharpen his mechanical understanding. He has worked as a track day instructor and automotive writer since 2012, and continues to race karts, formula cars, sedans, and rally cars in the San Francisco region.
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