The team in the #1 Porsche 919 Hybrid, Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley and Mark Webber scored a start-to-finish victory in the Shanghai round of the World Endurance Championships (WEC) on 6 November 2016. This race, the eighth and penultimate round of the 2016 WEC, saw Porsche clinch the Manufacturers’ Championship for the second consecutive year since their return to prototype racing in 2014. Their victory in Shanghai was Porsche’s sixth win this season in the championship.
Starting from pole position, the #1 car never lost its lead. Brendon Hartley started the race and double-stinted before handing the car to Timo Bernhard after 60 laps. Maintaining his lead, Bernhard also double-stinted before handing the car to Webber after 120 laps. Still in the lead, the Aussie handed the car over to Hartley with 150 laps completed, and Hartley brought the Porsche home in first place having completed 195 laps. The young New Zealander also set the fastest race lap (lap 7) with a time of 1:45.935 minutes around the 5.451km Shanghai International Circuit.
Neel Jani, driving the #2 Porsche, started the race down in sixth place, putting in consistently quick laps and by the time he vacated his seat after 59 laps, he had brought the car up into second place. Marc Lieb took the wheel but on lap 80 the #6 Toyota passed the Porsche, pushing it back a place. Lieb handed the car to Romain Dumas and on lap 109 he was passed by the #5 Toyota, relegating the Porsche to fourth place. Ten laps later, and with Jani back in the seat, the Porsche was able to get by the #5 Toyota into third place and when the #6 Toyota had an unscheduled pit stop after 134 laps, the #2 Porsche moved back into second place. A spirited duel with the #5 Toyota ensued and eventually the #2 Porsche finished in fourth place.
Victory by the #1 Porsche in Shanghai was sufficient to earn Porsche the Manufacturers’ title for 2016. The points tally in the Manufacturers’ title after Shanghai are as follows: (1) Porsche 301 points; (2) Audi 222 points; (3) Toyota 207 points, which will make the final race an interesting one as the battle for second place is still up for grabs. With just one race remaining, the 6-Hours of Bahrain on 19 November, the trio in the #2 Porsche, Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb lead the Drivers’ Championship, but this is a lot closer than the Manufacturers’ Championship.
LMP1 Drivers’ Championships (after 8 rounds)
|1||2||Romain Dumas||Porsche 919 Hybrid||152|
|1||2||Neel Jani||Porsche 919 Hybrid||152|
|1||2||Marc Lieb||Porsche 919 Hybrid||152|
|2||6||Kamui Kobayashi||Toyota TS-050 Hybrid||135|
|2||6||Mike Conway||Toyota TS-050 Hybrid||135|
|2||6||Stéphane Sarrazin||Toyota TS-050 Hybrid||135|
|3||8||Loïc Duval||Audi R18 e-tron quattro||121.5|
|3||8||Lucas Di Grassi||Audi R18 e-tron quattro||121.5|
|3||8||Oliver Jarvis||Audi R18 e-tron quattro||121.5|
|4||1||Brendon Hartley||Porsche 919 Hybrid||119.5|
|4||1||Mark Webber||Porsche 919 Hybrid||119.5|
|4||1||Timo Bernhard||Porsche 919 Hybrid||119.5|
After the Shanghai race, which was held in dry conditions, Team Principal, Andreas Seidl had this to say, “It feels great having secured the manufacturers’ world championship title again for Porsche. This is an achievement by every single team member – at home in Weissach, here at the race track and also thanks to our partners. The title is the result of having a fast, reliable car and a strong team performance. Here in Shanghai we took pole, set fastest race lap, constantly had the fastest car on track, the best pit stops, the right strategy and the best drivers at the wheel. This title win is well deserved and at the finale in Bahrain we want to fight for the drivers’ world championship title.”
Timo Bernhard (#1 Porsche): “We’ve had a super race today. Brendon made a great start, so we were able to keep the lead and then extend it. Here you really had to constantly balance between being aggressive or rather defensive when lapping slower cars. I am absolutely happy that our trio has another race win.”
Brendon Hartley (#1 Porsche): “What a day! The first corner after the start was interesting. I think the Toyota used a big package of energy from the e-motor and passed me quite easily into turn one, but I got him just before the safety car came out. This was a good little battle on the first lap. After that I just tried to keep it clean and handed the car over with an 18 second lead. We had to change the nose because a piece of rubber had damaged the light. Once again our pit stops were great and on my last double stint everything went smoothly. I am very, very happy.”
Mark Webber (#1 Porsche): “Brendon was flying today and Timo’s double stint was really nice. I did a single stint and got some used tyres out of the way before Brendon brought it home. It was an amazing day for Porsche and we are really happy to have contributed to it.”
Romain Dumas (#2 Porsche): “It was very tight racing today. I was third in the car for a single stint and I had some bad traffic, which, of course, cost some time. I had lots of pick-up on my tyres that I never got rid of.”
Neel Jani (#2 Porsche): “I started from sixth on the grid, and tried to drive tactically with regards to positioning myself in traffic and saving boost to be able to attack when needed. It worked out, the car was good and I could catch one car after another. I was able to hand over the car in second position after a double stint. I did another double stint in the end, but then the car didn’t feel quite as good. Now we have to take care of the drivers’ world championship at the finale in Bahrain in two weeks.”
Marc Lieb (#2 Porsche): “I was in the car second after Neel and my stint wasn’t great. In the beginning I had a lot of traffic and constantly had to lap cars, I just ruined my front tyres. I had no grip at the front axle and constant understeer.”
Edited by: Glen Smale
Images by: Porsche