With five overall victories and four one-two finishes throughout the season, including winning the 24 hours of Le Mans. Porsche claimed its first FIA World Endurance Manufacturers’ Championship today following the events of the Six Hours of Shanghai.
The winning way began at Le Mans in June and quite simply it never stopped happening. Porsche claimed the win at Le Mans with the additional entrant of Nico Hulkenberg, Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber.
However it was the car that at Le Mans came home second, driven by Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber and Brendon Hartley which has turned Porsche from challenger to dominating force in the World Endurance Championship, in only the second year of the Porsche 919 Hybrid programme.
Webber, Hartley and Bernhard had to wait a little longer for that first championship victory, than the sister car who claimed Porsche’s first return victory at the Six Hours of Sao Paulo in 2014. The win at this years Six Hours of Nurburgring signalled the start of domination for the trio.
That domination would continue into the series only US round, at the Circuit of the Americas whereby Porsche was invincible compared to Audi and Toyota. Moving onto Fuji Speedway, the signature weather, which has disrupted and played a part in so many races down the years at the Japanese venue factored heavily into the race. The #18 had a few scary moments in the opening part of the race with Webber running wide several times, allowing Audi to capitalise somewhat in the heavier rain, however once the conditions improved whilst the duels between the two manufacturers continued for a while, the advantage was once again in Porsche’s corner with the #18 coming home for a third successive victory.
Then today, at the Six Hours of Shanghai once again wet weather played its part on the championship trail for the FIA World Endurance Championship, with the race starting under the safety car due to being determined a wet race.
The weather early on was not that tough of an issue for Porsche, however as the race progressed and the rain came heavier again, as in Fuji it was Audi who had the advantage. Despite the best efforts of Audi, once the track began to dry, Porsche was back on form and it was another victory for the #18. Audi pushing them hard however, forcing Porsche to change the strategy on the #17 car late in the race. It wasn’t enough though and ultimately Porsche came home to a 1-2 finish, placing them clear in the manufacturers points standings with one round of the championship to go.
Now though the attention at the head of the field, changes from Manufacturers titles to claiming Drivers World Championship titles. The #18 team at Porsche (Brendon Hartley/Mark Webber/Timo Bernhard) hold an 13 point advantage over Audi’s #8 entrant (Marcel Fassler/Benoit Treluyer/Andre Lotterer) going into the Six Hours of Bahrain, scheduled for November 21st.
With only 26 points left on the table with the additional point for pole position a potential factor, the odds are certainly stacked in Porsche’s favour.
In terms of titles in the other classes which makes up the WEC, the World Endurance Cup for GT Manufacturers has just four points separating Ferrari from Porsche, in favour of Ferrari going into the final round.
LMP2 now has a sixteen point advantage in the teams championship, in favour of G-Drive Racing’s #26 Ligier JS P2, over KCMG’s Oreca 05.
The #28 G-Drive Ligier was looking strong to claim second position in the championship today, over KCMG’s Oreca 05, however a driver error in the final lap, saw the #28 beached, allowing KCMG to keep title hopes alive.