1.09.16 All bark, no bite
Dubious noise monitoring thwarted the efforts of Wolfgang Kaufmann and his team at the latest VLN race.
When the German racing professional arrived at the Nürburgring, he was looking forward to a competitive outing in Kremer Racing's Porsche 997 K3 at the 39th RCM DMV Grenzlandrennen, a round of the VLN endurance championship. “The team has put a lot of time and money into further improving the new 997 K3”, Kaufmann talked about the reason for his high expectations at the beginning of the race meeting, “the car is again more compliant, among other things we have a new second underbody that should be able to compensate for the small rear wing our car has in accordance with the regulations.”
Kaufmann/Baunach were late going into the qualifying session on early Saturday morning: “the track opens at 8:15am, with timed laps beginning at 8:30. We had to finish some small repair work which meant turning our first lap amid heavy traffic”, says Kaufmann. Nevertheless, their time was good enough for 2nd place in the H4 class. Any hopes of improving were dashed, however, when the Kremer Porsche was taken out of the session for exceeding the noise limit. That meant fewer practice laps, but it was no cause for concern for Kaufmann: “We just wanted to use the time until the race to make sure there was no further trouble” - Porsche Kremer Racing swapped the car's exhaust system (which had been unchanged since the beginning of the season) for that of their N24 car, the 997 GT3. With this change, the team was certain the car would be compliant with all rules.
Kaufmann was called upon to take the start with the Kremer Racing Porsche 997 K3. “At the start, I was able to move up to P2 in class and shadow the lead car that has more power than us, and therefore is faster in a straight line” - through the twisty sections of the Nordschleife, however, Kaufmann gradually brought down the gap and finally took the lead on lap 2.
Over the next five laps, the man from Molsberg kept extending that lead. On lap 7, however, race control called the 997 K3 into the pits, and again it was deemed that the rear-mounted six cylinder engine was all too audible. “Rules are rules, and nothing we can do about it”, Kaufmann sums it up, “still, allow me the question how the volume of one car can be measured as it goes past amid a whole group of other vehicles. For us, it was all pretty hard to fathom, and of course very frustrating.”
Again the Kremer Racing crew tried to make the car run quieter, then sent it out again with team owner Eberhard Baunach for the second and third stint. Kaufmann got back behind the wheel for the last three laps but it was too late to make up for lost time. “Just to make sure there were no further problems, we short-shifted and got on the brakes earlier, and that cost us a lot of time on every lap. The actual result really didn't matter anymore”, Kaufmann says. The team still managed to move up to 3rd place in the H4 class, but a win would definitely have been possible.
In less than two weeks' time, VLN returns to the Nordschleife for the 6 hour race, the seventh round of the endurance championship. Again, Kremer Racing will enter its beautiful Porsche 997 K3.