Another First and Second gives Porsche the Manufacturers’ WEC title

By taking the fifth victory in a row Porsche has made itself a World Champion in Shanghai. One race before the season’s finale no one can take away the Manufacturers’ title in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) from the young team from Weissach. In China the winning drivers were Timo Bernhard (Germany), Brendon Hartley (New Zealand) and Mark Webber (Australia) in a Six-Hour race of which two thirds were held on a wet track. The sister car of Romain Dumas (France), Neel Jani (Switzerland) and Marc Lieb (Germany) finished second, and hence delivered the season’s fourth one-two victory for the Porsche team.

Porsche has won the title with 308 points ahead of Audi (238) and Toyota (137). For Porsche it is the 13th Manufacturers’ World Championship title in endurance racing, and the first since 1986. Between 1964 and 1986, Porsche took twelve Manufacturers’ titles in the then Sports Car World Championship.

The Drivers’ World Championship title will be decided at the season’s finale in Bahrain on 21 November. Porsche drivers Bernhard/Hartley/Webber are leading with 155 points ahead of three Audi drivers who have scored 143 points.

How the race went for car number 17:

After the start behind the Safety Car the race goes green at the end of lap four and pole-setter Brendon Hartley stays in front. After 33 laps he comes in for refuelling and takes another set of rain tyres. The team uses the third of several full course yellow periods for the next pit stop and Timo Bernhard takes over after 52 laps. The conditions still only suitable for rain tyres. The lead is temporarily lost to the number 8 Audi and on lap 57 the number 7 Audi also overtakes Bernhard. On lap 61 the sister Porsche with Neel Jani at the wheel passes Bernhard as well. As the Audis pit, Bernhard lies second behind Jani. The following Porsche pit stop doesn’t change the order. Bernhard comes in for fuel only after 84 laps and then reduces the gap to Jani. On lap 101 the two Porsche 919 Hybrids swap positions because the number 17 car is the faster one at that point of time. Bernhard hands over the leading car to Mark Webber after 115 laps, and now semi-slick intermediate tyres are the call. After 132 laps Webber changes to pure slick tyres and continues to lead the race. At the end of lap 154 Webber comes for his last refuelling stop and gets another set of slick tyres. He then drives directly behind Romain Dumas until the sister car has to refuel – and number 17’s way to victory is clear.

Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1 winner 2015 WEC Manufacturers' Championship

How the race went for car number 18:

Marc Lieb starts from P2, briefly moves into the lead when Hartley has difficulties with boost, but then gets pushed off the track by André Lotterer in his Audi number 7. Lieb rejoins the race as the last car. He then overtakes 25 cars within five laps to catch the LMP1 cars. At the end of lap eleven he overtakes the number 2 Toyota for fifth. After 33 laps he pits for fuel and another set of rain tyres. The team uses the third ‘full course yellow’ period for the next stop. Lieb hands over to Neel Jani, who continues on another set of full wets. Jani is fourth but improves quickly. On lap 72 he takes the lead from the number 7 Audi. After 83 laps he comes in for fuel only and stays in the lead. On lap 101 Jani lets Bernhard pass because he has high brake temperatures temporarily. After 114 laps, Jani hands over the car to Romain Dumas who gets slick intermediate tyres. A misunderstanding when lapping another car leads to a spin on lap 126 and causes Dumas to drop back to third until the number 8 Audi has to pit. After 132 laps, Dumas pits for slicks. He rejoins in fourth but takes the lead after the pit stops of the Audis and his team mate. After a final ‘splash and dash’ at the end of lap 162 he finishes second.

Quotes after the race:

Fritz Enzinger, Vice President LMP1:

“For sure it will take some time until it really sinks in what we have achieved today. In what is only our second year in the WEC, we first won Le Mans and then took the World Championship title – it is difficult to believe this has happened. Due to the changing weather conditions these six hours here were extremely tense for us. Thanks to everybody who has worked hard for this success, at our home base in Weissach and generally at Porsche. Now we will try to secure the Drivers’ title, too.”

Andreas Seidl, Team Principal:

“First of all I want to thank everyone at home in the work shop in Weissach and here on site. This title really belongs to all of them. After an already difficult race in Fuji, I think today was another strategic masterpiece. We could rely on our Michelin tyres every moment and under all circumstances. We stayed focussed despite any problems we had, especially regarding our number 18 car. Those drivers fought their way back from being last to first in an unbelievable manner. Crew number 17 is on a great run at the moment and it continued here, they well deserved that win. Our mechanics today were the best in the pit lane.”

Alexander Hitzinger, Technical Director:

“We have won Le Mans in our second year and now the Constructors’ World Championship, plus we have dominated every single qualifying – you cannot ask for more. I am really proud on this team. We have been aggressive in our development and didn’t accept any compromise when it was about performance but we accepted the risks of that as well. Nevertheless we have managed to get the Porsche 919 Hybrid reliable too.”

Drivers Porsche 919 Hybrid #17

Timo Bernhard (34, Germany):

“It was an action-packed race. When I jumped in the car the track was really very wet. A ‘full course yellow’ was on and I drove between the two Audis in a lot of spray. Actually I had to familiarise myself with the conditions because I didn’t do a single lap in the wet before and didn’t want to take too much of a risk. The car was fast. When the track was drying, it definitely was the fastest of all. I had nice battles with the Audis and with Neel. In the end I could take the lead and we have reached our great target today.”

Brendon Hartley (25, New Zealand):

“It wasn’t a bad start and my two stints in the early race went smoothly. The conditions weren’t easy, especially when the rain got stronger. That was around lap 45. Visibility was very poor and there was aquaplaning too. I obviously had to push because there was pressure from the Audis but I managed it with zero mistakes and handed over a leading car to Timo.”

Mark Webber (39, Australia):

“What this team has done in such a short period of time is just incredible. I have been involved in some pretty professional motor sports projects and I must say it is impressive to come to this level and have this result this year. It’s really hard to produce these cars and get this top performance week after week. The Constructors’ title is great for Porsche and everyone was working hard. Racing for these guys is amazing.”

Drivers Porsche 919 Hybrid #18

Romain Dumas (37, France):

“It was a great race and the result for Porsche is amazing. Our sister car was strong today and deserved to win. I had to take more risk than should have been necessary, because I made a mistake when I was following Mark and spun, so I had to catch up.”

Neel Jani (31, Switzerland):

“Marc did a super job to bring back the car to the leading group in the race after the incident on lap one. When I took over, it was raining quite heavily. The visibility was very poor and there was aquaplaning. But the car was superb in this condition. I could attack and found my way from P4 to take the lead. Towards the end of my first stint I had trouble with the brake temperature and that was tricky. On a half-wet or wet track, no one wants an unpredictable brake balance. I had a few moments when I almost went off. So my stint had a bit of everything.”

Marc Lieb (35, Germany):

“I had a good start, unfortunately then on lap one I was hit and pushed off the track. I had difficulties starting the car again, which did cost some extra time. Then I went on my journey through the field. In the beginning the car was a bit understeery but then it became good and it became even better in the heavier rain.”

Race result 6 hours of Shanghai (CN):
1. Bernhard/Hartley/Webber (DE/NZ/AU), Porsche 919 Hybrid, 169 laps
2. Dumas/Jani/Lieb (FR/CH/DE), Porsche 919 Hybrid, + 26.294 seconds

3. Fässler/Lotterer/Tréluyer (CH/DE/FR), Audi R18 e-tron quattro, + 30.311 sec
4. Di Grassi/Duval/Jarvis (BR/FR/GB), Audi R18 e-tron quattro, + 50.906 sec
5. Wurz/Sarrazin/Conway (AT/FR/GB), Toyota TS040 Hybrid, 4 laps behind
6. Davidson/Buemi/Nakajima (GB/CH/JP), Toyota TS040 Hybrid, 5 laps behind

FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), points after 7 of 8 rounds, Drivers:
1. Bernhard/Hartley/Webber (DE/NZ/AUS), Porsche 155
2. Lotterer/Tréluyer/Fässler (DE/FR/CH), Audi, 143
3. Dumas/Jani/Lieb (FR/CH/DE), Porsche, 113,5
4. Di Grassi/Duval/Jarvis (BR/FR/GB), Audi, 91
5. Davidson/Buemi (GB/CH), Toyota, 67
6. Tandy (GB), Porsche & Oreca, 66,5
7. Bamber/Hülkenberg (NZ/DE), Porsche, 58

8. Nakajima (JP), Toyota, 55

Manufacturers:
1. Porsche, 308
2. Audi, 238
3. Toyota, 137

World Endurance Championship, round 7 in Shanghai/China – Race GT

Third win of the season for Porsche 911 RSR – titles to be decided at finale

The Porsche 911 RSR driven by Richard Lietz (Austria) and Michael Christensen (Denmark) has won Sunday’s Six-Hour race on Shanghai International Circuit, China. This marks the third victory of the season for the 470 hp winning racer from Weissach, which was developed on the basis of the iconic 911 sports car, in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) for sports cars. At the wheel of the sister 911 RSR campaigned by the Porsche Manthey squad, French pilots Frédéric Makowiecki and Patrick Pilet finished in third place.

With this result, Porsche has defended its Manufacturers’ title chance in the fiercely contested GTE-Pro class of While Richard Lietz has extended his lead in the FIA World Endurance Cup for GT drivers, as did the Porsche Manthey team in the team classification, Porsche managed to close the gap to Ferrari to just four points. At the final race of the season on 21 November in Bahrain, a maximum of 44 Manufacturers’ points are still up for grabs.

The second race of the World Endurance Championship held in Asia was again contested predominantly on a wet track. The conditions on the 5.541-kilometre Grand Prix circuit on the outskirts of the Chinese financial capital were not quite as extreme as they were recently in Fuji, Japan. However, the drivers still faced major challenges in the first four hours of racing. Frédéric Makowiecki in the number 92 car and Richard Lietz in the 91 vehicle got away cleanly at the start and established themselves amongst the front pack of the competitive GT-Pro field.

The Frenchman, who had taken off from the fourth grid spot after a difficult qualifying, moved into second after just five laps. The Austrian, who had started from directly behind him and travelled to China as the leader of the FIA World Endurance Cup for GT Drivers, managed to settle into third place. After another ten laps, he manoeuvred himself into first place and, with a solid performance, laid the foundation for his third win of the season.

On the rain-soaked track, the 911 RSR again profited from its excellent traction thanks to its rear-engine layout. Frédéric Makowiecki left the track briefly during a duel and fell back to sixth place. But after the second hour of racing, the number 92 car, now with Patrick Pilet (as the winner of the American Tudor United SportsCar Championship) at the wheel, had again moved up into second place behind the leader, Michael Christensen. The race strategy of the Porsche Manthey team proved a perfect match for the drivers’ performance: as the track gradually dried with two hours to go, the strategists made the call to change from wet tyres to slicks at exactly the right moment.

Quotes after the race:

Marco Ujhasi, Overall Project Manager GT Works Motorsport:

“The focus and the systematic preparation in practicing for the race have paid off. The conditions were difficult, but the drivers and the team made no mistakes. Now everything is wide open again heading to the season finale. The circuit in Bahrain doesn’t particularly suit our 911, but we’ll try our very best.”

Drivers 911 RSR #91

Richard Lietz:

“That was a difficult race. In the first three stints the decision to run wet tyres was good, but afterwards it became tricky. We changed to slicks at exactly the right time. For some it was perhaps a little early, but you need to take a risk in such a situation. During this phase of the race, Michael drove masterfully. Well done. I’m pleased for the team. To come from fifth and win is fantastic.”

Michael Christensen:

“The last hours were more difficult than the start. When the track began to dry up it was critical to make the right tyre choice at the right point in time. Using an excellent strategy, the squad found a great solution to this difficult decision. We tried not to make any mistakes out on the track, and we succeeded, even though it wasn’t easy with the weather conditions and the caution phases.”

Drivers 911 RSR #92

Patrick Pilet:

“A difficult race with a fantastic outcome for Richard and Michael. Normally we should have finished second, but unfortunately it didn’t work out. We would have liked to earn more manufacturers’ points for Porsche. Still, we’re celebrating today – and from tomorrow we’ll turn our full attention to the final race in Bahrain.”

Frédéric Makowiecki:

“We experienced a problem with the front tyre which threw us down the field after a good start. Afterwards we put on the pressure over the entire race but narrowly missed out on second place. Still, third place also yields us a lot of points towards the manufacturers’ championship.”

Race result

GTE-Pro class
1. Lietz/Christensen (A/DK), Porsche 911 RSR, 151 laps
2. Bruni/Vilander (I/SF), Ferrari F458 Italia, 151
3. Pilet/Makowiecki (F/F), Porsche 911 RSR, 151
4. Rigon/Calado (I/GB), Ferrari F458 Italia, 150
5. MacDowall/Rees/Stanaway (GB/BRA/NZ), Aston Martin, 149
6. Turner/Adam (GB/GB), Aston Martin, 149

GTE-Am class
1. Perrodo/Collard/Aguas (F/F/P), Ferrari F458 Italia, 146 laps
2. Dalla Lana/Lamy/Lauda (CDN/P/A), Aston Martin, 146
3. Bertolini/Shaytar/Basov (I/RUS/RUS), Ferrari F458 Italia, 145
4. Dempsey/Long/Seefried (USA/USA/D), Porsche 911 RSR, 145
5. Roda/Ruberti/Sylvest (I/I/DK), Chevrolet Corvette, 144
6. Castellacci/Griffin/Hall (I/GB/GB), Aston Martin, 139
7. Ried/Bachler/Al Qubaisi (D/A/UAE), Porsche 911 RSR, 139

Points’ standings GTE-Pro after 7 of 8 races
FIA World Endurance Cup for GT Manufacturers
1. Ferrari, 259 points
2. Porsche, 255
3. Aston Martin, 165

FIA World Endurance Cup for GT Drivers
1. Richard Lietz, Porsche, 135 points
2. Michael Christensen, Porsche, 117
3. Davide Rigon, James Calado, Ferrari, 115
4. Gianmaria Bruni, Toni Vilander, Ferrari, 112,5
5. Frédéric Makowiecki, Porsche, 93
7. Patrick Pilet, Porsche, 75

FIA Endurance Trophy for GTE-Pro Teams
1. Porsche Team Manthey, #91 Porsche, 144 points
2. AF Corse, #51 Ferrari, 130
3. AF Corse, #71 Ferrari, 129

The eighth and final round of the Sports Car World Championship WEC is contested on 21 November in Sakhir/Bahrain.

Author: News Editor

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