Porsche's LMP1 Team Posts Dominant 1-2 Result In 6 Hours of Mexico
Porsche led the race from flag to flag, showing Toyota their tail lights for the full 6 hours.
With Porsche already having made the decision to leave the World Endurance Championship at the end of the 2017 season, they're continuing their dominant ways in a bid to take a third WEC championship title in as many years. Since the team joined the series at the beginning of 2014, they've entered 30 races, won pole position 17 times, taken 16 race victories (this one being their sixth 1-2 race win), as well as 10 fastest laps. Thanks in part to their Le Mans victory, Porsche now holds the lead of the championship on 198 points to Toyota's 141.5. Furthermore, Porsche's leading trio of Earl Bamber, Timo Bernhard, and Brendon Hartley hold the driver's title lead as well on 134 points, 41 points more than the next closest Toyota. There are still four rounds remaining in the championship, and we already know that anything could happen. Things look good for Porsche right now, however, and another few showings like this one is all it will take to clinch the championship tight.
You can check out the full race highlights right here:
Porsche 919 Hybrid #1 started the race with Nick Tandy in the car, streaking away from the green flag in second place. After eighty laps of racing he hands over to Andre Lotterer, unfortunately coming into the pits too fast, forcing Lotterer into a stop-go penalty during his stint. After a double stint, Lotterer hands over to Neel Jani who manages to put a lap on both Toyotas during his time in the car. Jani stays in the car to the end, playing a fuel strategy that banks on the predicted rain to come. The rain stays clear of the track for the full 6 hours, and Jani is forced to pit for a splash and dash just 3 laps before the checkered flag, where he finished in second place.
Porsche's #2 car started from pole position with Brendan Hartley on board, and at just the third lap of the race he sets the fastest time of the six hour event with a 1:25.730 lap. At lap 79 Hartley hands off to Earl Bamber. As the #1 Porsche was forced to serve a penalty, Bamber is allowed to stretch his lead significantly. At lap 121 he drops the first Toyota a lap down, and then on lap 136 the other Toyota falls a lap behind as well. At lap 159 Bamber passes the lead of the race off to Timo Bernhard who runs the car to the finish. During a caution period Bernhard fueled his car, then is forced to take a final splash of fuel just 2 laps from the end, thankfully with a healthy margin. From there he coasts to the finish with a dominant victory.
Fritz Enzinger, Vice President LMP1: “The 919 Hybrid was never more dominant than here. We have been fastest in free practice and qualifying and now we’ve got a one-two race win. We have experienced an impressive performance of our prototype and a sensational team effort. I want to thank the team on site, the development centre in Weissach and the entire Porsche AG.”
Andreas Seidl, Team Principal: “Congratulations to the whole team here at the track and at home in our Weissach workshop for this stunning one-two victory today. After the Nürburgring race, we’ve worked very hard at another test in Barcelona as well as in the following weeks to further improve the Porsche 919. Due to the changing track temperatures today, it was very important to choose the right tires at the right moment. Together with our colleagues from Michelin, we managed that very well. A big thank you to our six drivers too. Despite the fast pace and the constant challenge of overtaking traffic, they brought both cars home without a single scratch. We stay focussed and start our preparations for the next WEC race in Austin tomorrow.”
Drivers Porsche 919 Hybrid car number 1:
Neel Jani (33, Switzerland): “This is obviously a super result for Porsche, you cannot ask for more. It was unexpected that Toyota today didn’t have the hint of a chance. Apart from that, traffic was hard work today, you really had to be cautious."
André Lotterer (35, Germany): “This result is mega for Porsche. I was the second driver in the car and had a good double stint. Unfortunately I had to come for a stop-and-go penalty because Nick apparently had been too fast in pit lane but these things happen. Other than that I was just driving my rhythm and the car was running very well.”
Nick Tandy (32, Great Britain): “I did the double stint at the beginning and it was fine. We managed to get out in front together and work as a team. We were saving fuel a bit to offset our pit stops to avoid both cars pitting at the same time. Everything worked fine today except for the pit speed limit infringement.”
Drivers Porsche 919 Hybrid car number 2
Earl Bamber (27, New Zealand): “The entire weekend was fantastic. The team gave us a great car and made our life very easy. In the race it was a shame that our sister car had a penalty because some close racing would have been nice. I was the second driver in the car and my double stint was straight forward.”
Timo Bernhard (36, Germany): “This is a beautiful day for our Porsche LMP1 Team. This weekend was really good. The 919 was consistently fast, the strategy was right and it was lots of fun. In the end I could even manage the gap because it was so huge. I’m over the moon and now we will party.”
Brendon Hartley (27, New Zealand): “This was an awesome race weekend by our Porsche team. We were fast from the first session onwards and in the race our car was really amazing. Actually both our cars got away quickly from the Toyotas. We didn’t expect to have such a pace advantage. Lapping traffic at times was a bit of a gamble as it is a tough track in that respect. The last section is like a street track but I tried to be careful and bring it home with no mistakes. Earl and Timo both did superb jobs. We controlled the race and didn’t have to take extra risks. Mexico was fantastic and I’m looking forward to the rest of the championship.”