In issue 9, we delve deep into the history of a Porsche 911 that has its own Instagram page, its own following and a name that makes it sound like it comes straight out of a Peter Jackson movie: Grello.
Grello of the Nürburgring. Sounds like a movie in the making already, doesn’t it? In our special on 60 years Porsche 911, George East does a deep dive in the history – ongoing – of one of the most famous 911 liveries ever.
In Germany, Grello has become an icon, a bit like a Marvel character, but 911-shaped. The myth grew over the last 17 years, through Manthey Racing’s efforts on the Nürburgring 24 Hours, run on the Nordschleife. Nicknamed ‘the Green Hell’, the Nordschleife is still the world’s toughest track, with foul weather – fog, showers, hail storms, you name it – often leading to near-impossible racing conditions.
Porsche may be the undisputed ruler at Le Mans, but on the Nürburgring, it’s track record was less glorious. Until Olaf Manthey – a former racer himself – put the full effort of his team behind it. As he points out in the article, Grello would not exist without its predecessor ‘Dicke’, or ‘the little fat kid’. Dicke in itself became a bit of a legend in the VLN races, run exclusively in the Green Hell. Choosing to run it in vivid green and yellow “because it would be easier to spot in traffic”, according to Manthey, proved the start of a legend. Manthey Racing would win the Nürburgring 24 – or N24 – no less than five times with one of the ‘Dicke’ 911s.
In 2013, Manthey sold his team to Nicki and Martin Raeder, who kept the name Manthey Racing. It would prove to be a new start, with Porsche acquiring a stake as well, making Manthey a satellite factory team. The green and yellow theme was further developed, trademarked even. With different generations of the 911 GT3 R, more victories followed. As Kévin Estre says in issue 9: “I always tend to do something spectacular with (Grello), whether it be winning the N24 or crashing it.”
Vanthoor takes out Vanthoor
Grello stands synonymous with drama, seldom better shown than in 2022, when Laurens Vanthoor put himself in an impossible position with Grello, resulting in contact with his brother Dries. The move had disastrous consequences for Grello. A case of red mist, as Laurens Vanthoor quickly conceded. With Manthey operating in the vicinity of the Nürburgring, it is very much the home team, and it grew a cult following. The ‘Green and Yellow’ – Grello, yes? – fan club takes over town when N24 gears up. For them, all the other cars are 911s, but Grello, that’s a special one.
In Issue 9, you can read the full story, told by Olaf Manthey, Nicki Raeder and Kévin Estre. Now available.