Porsche Victorious After 6-Hours In Shanghai!
After a stellar 6-hour World Endurance Championship race in Shanghai, China this weekend, Porsche leaves with their 6th victory of the season, and the world constructors championship for the second year in a row. Porsche ist Marken Weltmeister 2016.
The first eight races of the 9-race WEC season have been dominated by Porsche's 919 Hybrid LMP1, as they've won a stellar six of those, including the 6-hours of Shanghai taking place this weekend. The race was dry and temperate for the entire six hours, and the circuit was incredibly hard on tires. Porsche had worked out that they could possibly complete as many as 32 laps on one tank of fuel, but their tires were falling off before that, necessitating earlier stops at 29 or 30 laps. Their competitors from Toyota suffered a pair of right rear tire punctures, and the buildup of castoff rubber tire debris off the racing line was quite evident just an hour into the race. Audi, in their final LMP1 season, did not have a good race, at one point the two team cars even ran into each other, forcing one of them into a spin. While the competition had issues, Porsche just kept turning laps at the front, content to watch it all fall apart behind them. During the course of the race, leading driver Brendon Hartley set the fastest in-race lap with at time of 1:45.9 minutes on the 3.38 mile long Shanghai International Circuit.
The penultimate round of the championship in China was led essentially from beginning to end by the 2015 driver's championship winning #1 car of Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley, and Mark Webber. The trio sat on the pole, and Brendon started the car. At the first corner, the Toyota in second place jumped out to the lead by using more energy boost from their hybrid system. Hartley kept some of his electric boost in reserve and re-passed for the lead on the long back straight. Immediately after passing, a safety car came out to slow the field down as there was contact between one of the Manor LMP2 cars and an Aston Martin GTE Pro class car that ended with both cars retiring. When the restart got worked out, Hartley got the jump on the rest of the field, and maintained a healthy lead. A strong double stint from Hartley passes off to Timo Bernhard in the lead, who does another stellar double and hands off to Mark Webber at lap 120. Webber does a single stint, and Hartley gets back in at lap 150 to take the car to the finish. 195 laps total in 6 hours is a new race record, and puts the winning car's pace at about 109.85 miles per hour on average (including stops for tires and fuel, as well as the short safety car period).
The #2 sister car, currently leading the Drivers Championship on points, of Neel Jani, Romain Dumas, and Marc Lieb, had a slightly more trepedatious run to the finish, ultimately finishing behind both Toyotas in 4th. Neel Jani started the car from 6th on the grid, and after 59 laps hands off to Marc Lieb in second position. Lieb hands over to Romain Dumas on lap 89 having lost out to the #6 Toyota in 3rd. Dumas then falls behind the #5 Toyota to fourth. By this point, both Audis are out of contention and running slowly or having major drive issues. Jani gets back into the car and jumps ahead of the #5 with a stellar pitstop, and the #6 Toyota then has an unscheduled pit-stop to replace a punctured tire, promoting Dumas back to second. On their final round of pit stops, Toyota opted not to take tires on both of their cars and managed to nurse them to the finish. Porsche had taken tires on Jani's final stop, giving Toyota a 30-second advantage. From then Porsche chose not to risk the car and just continue running cautiously to collect points for 4th position on the #2 car.
Post Race Quotes
Andreas Seidl, Team Principal: “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.”
Drivers Porsche 919 Hybrid number 1
Timo Bernhard (35, Germany): “We’ve had a super race today. Brendon made a great start, so we were able to keep the lead and then extend it. I was the second driver in the car and also did a double stint. The number 6 Toyota with Kamui Kobayashi driving was really strong. Very often the situation in traffic was the limiting factor. 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 (26, New Zealand): “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. I knew he would suffer later in the lap, because according to the rules you can only use a certain amount of energy. I got him just before the safety car came out. This was a good little battle on the first lap, and 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 massive peace 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 (40, Australia): “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.”
Drivers Porsche 919 Hybrid number 2
Romain Dumas (38, France): “It was very tight racing today. I was third in the car for a single stint. 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 (32, Switzerland): “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 super good and I could catch one car after another. When I was in third position I struggled a bit, because I then very unluckily hit traffic and lost several seconds. But still I was able to hand over the car in second position after a double stint. Unfortunately in the middle stints of the race we lost some time. 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 week’s time.”
Marc Lieb (36, Ludwigsburg): “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.”