|The #2 Porsche won with team orders. And you wonder why WEC LMP1 is dying|
By taking a one-two victory in Austin, Texas, USA, the Porsche LMP Team further extended its world championship lead. Earl Bamber (NZ), Timo Bernhard (DE) and Brendon Hartley (NZ), the championship leading Le Mans winners, crossed the line first at the Circuit of The Americas.
The sixth round of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) was a hot six-hour race with up to 33 degree Celsius ambient temperature and 40 degree Celsius track temperatures. The reigning world champion Neel Jani (CH), Andre Lotterer (DE) and Nick Tandy (GB) finished second. This trio had started from pole position and led for most of the race before letting the sister car ahead in the closing stages which is better placed in the championship.
Jani achieved the fastest race lap in 1:47.149 minutes on lap 9 of 192. Toyota’s prototypes were strong opponents.
By winning Earl Bamber, Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard extended their lead in the FIA World Endurance Championship with their fourth consecutive victory, with Bamber crossing the line 0.276 seconds ahead of teammate Nick Tandy in the No. 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid.
It came after Tandy relinquished a nearly ten-second lead with eight minutes to go, letting the Kiwi around on the outside heading into Turn 1 for the position.
The gap remained nip-and-tuck to the finish, in the closest margin of victory of the season.
It, however, marked the third consecutive race team orders were enacted, denying Tandy and co-drivers Andre Lotterer and reigning World Champion Neel Jani a sure-fire win.
[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]The result marked the Porsche 919 Hybrid’s 17th race win and the seventh one-two victory since its debut in 2014. Furthermore, it now has eleven fastest race laps to its tally. Porsche aims to complete the innovative prototype’s career in a perfect manner in its final season this year. Having won the Le Mans 24-Hours three years in a row, the team is aiming to achieve a third consecutive world championship title for manufacturers and drivers. Porsche has now scored 242 points in the manufacturers’ world championship with Toyota on 168.5 points.
In the drivers’ rankings, Bamber/Bernhard/Hartley (159 points) have extended their lead over the best placed Toyota drivers (108 points). Jani/Lotterer/Tandy lie fourth in the championship (90 points). Due to the excessive heat, the maximum consecutive time for a driver at the wheel was limited to 80 minutes from the regulations. This made it clear before the start that no double stints would be possible.
The 919 Hybrid could do 30 laps with one fuel fill which lasted approximately 57 minutes. The seventh of nine WEC rounds will take place on October 15 in Fuji, Japan.
How the race went for car number 1:
Jani starts from pole position and builds up a solid lead of more than ten seconds. After 30 laps he hands over to Lotterer who gets fresh tires. Because the Toyotas don’t change tires at their first stops, Lotterer drops back to third. From lap 47 to 52, he is embroiled in a tense battle with José Maria Lopez in the number 7 Toyota that Lotterer wins to continue in P2. At the next stop after 60 laps, Tandy takes over. He continues on the same set of tires and leads the race for his entire stint.
After 91 laps, Jani is behind the wheel again. He gets fresh tires but retains the lead. After 123 laps, Lotterer jumps into the leading car once more and continues on the used tires. Shortly before the next stop, he gets touched by the number 7 Toyota (Kamui Kobayashi) but both cars continue.
After 153 laps, Lotterer hands over to Tandy. After leaving the pits, he is overtaken by the sister car and continues in P2. During the last round of pit stops – Tandy refuels at the end of 174 laps, Tandy leads again. At the end of a highly exciting race, with four laps to go he lets the sister car pass with the championship in mind.
How the race went for car number 2:
|The #2 team celebrates|
Bernhard starts from P2 but loses two positions on the first lap to the Toyotas. At the first stop after 29 laps, Hartley takes over and gets new tires. Because Toyota do not change tires, Hartley drops to fourth before overtaking the number 7 Toyota with Lopez at the wheel on lap 53. After 59 laps, Hartley hands over the third placed car to Bamber. He continues on used tires, now in P2 again after Toyota has a longer stop for tires.
Moments before the end of Bamber’s stint, Kobayashi gets ahead of him but Bamber successfully fights back and regains P2. After 90 laps, Bernhard is back in the car and on fresh tires. Once again he drops back to P4 because the Toyotas refrain from a tire change this time.
From lap 97 to lap 100, the safety car is on track and all gaps disappear. On lap 104, just after mid distance, Bernhard successfully closes down Mike Conway in the number 7 Toyota. When Toyota changes tires, the Porsches are up in front again. Hartley takes over after 121 laps in P2. After 151 laps, Bamber is back behind the wheel.
On lap 154, he overtakes the sister Porsche for the lead. After 173 laps, he comes for the final stop for refuelling and is now second, less than ten seconds behind the leader. On lap 188 of 192, the sister car hands the race win to him.
Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado have become the first repeat GTE-Pro winners of the FIA World Endurance Championship season by taking class victory in the Six Hours of Circuit of The Americas on Saturday.
The AF Corse drivers drove a consistent race to take their second win in the last three races, having also stood on the top step of the podium at the NÃ¼rburgring.
|1||LMP1||T.Bernhard, E.Bamber, B.Hartley||Porsche||192||6h00m52.444s|
|2||LMP1||N.Jani, A.Lotterer, N.Tandy||Porsche||192||0.276s|
|3||LMP1||S.Buemi, S.Sarrazin, K.Nakajima||Toyota||192||21.956s|
|4||LMP1||M.Conway, K.Kobayashi, J.M.Lopez||Toyota||192||45.026s|
|5||LMP2||N.Lapierre, G.Menezes, A.Negrao||Alpine/Gibson||177||15 Laps|
|6||LMP2||M.Beche, D.H.Hansson, N.Piquet Jr.||ORECA/Gibson||176||16 Laps|
|7||LMP2||J.Canal, N.Prost, B.Senna||ORECA/Gibson||176||16 Laps|
|8||LMP2||H-Pin Tung, O.Jarvis, T.Laurent||ORECA/Gibson||176||16 Laps|
|9||LMP2||D.Cheng, A.Brundle, T.Gommendy||ORECA/Gibson||175||17 Laps|
|10||LMP2||M.Rao, B.Hanley, J-E.Vergne||ORECA/Gibson||175||17 Laps|
|11||LMP2||F.Perrodo, M.Vaxiviere, E.Collard||ORECA/Gibson||174||18 Laps|
|12||LMP2||R.Rusinov, P.Thiriet, A.Lynn||ORECA/Gibson||168||24 Laps|
|13||GTE Pro||J.Calado, A.P.Guidi||Ferrari||167||25 Laps|
|14||GTE Pro||M.Christensen, K.Estre||Porsche||167||25 Laps|
|15||GTE Pro||D.Rigon, S.Bird||Ferrari||167||25 Laps|
|16||GTE Pro||N.Thiim, M.Sorensen||Aston Martin||167||25 Laps|
|17||GTE Pro||D.Turner, J.Adam, D.Serra||Aston Martin||167||25 Laps|
|18||GTE Pro||R.Lietz, F.Makowiecki||Porsche||166||26 Laps|
|19||GTE Pro||A.Priaulx, H.Tincknell||Ford||166||26 Laps|
|20||GTE Pro||S.Mucke, O.Pla||Ford||166||26 Laps|
|21||GTE Am||P.D.Lana, P.Lamy, M.Lauda||Aston Martin||162||30 Laps|
|22||GTE Am||Mok W.S., K.Sawa, M.Griffin||Ferrari||162||30 Laps|
|23||GTE Am||T.Flohr, F.Castellacci, M.Molina||Ferrari||159||33 Laps|
|24||GTE Am||C.Ried, M.Cairoli, M.Dienst||Porsche||148||44 Laps|
|–||GTE Am||M.Wainwright, B.Barker, N.Foster||Porsche||92||Retirement|
|–||LMP2||R.Gonzalez, S.Trummer, V.Petrov||ORECA/Gibson||51||Retirement|