After having achieved the third consecutive Le Mans victory, Porsche also managed a hat-trick in the six-hour race at the Nürburgring: Like in 2015 and 2016, Timo Bernhard (DE) and Brendon Hartley (NZ) climbed on to the top step of the podium. In 2017 the duo were joined for the first time by Earl Bamber (NZ) in winning this race. It was the second race triumph for the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 and the 15th in total for the 919 Hybrid since its debut in 2014.
“I was really happy with my first stint,” commented Hartley. “I took over from Timo and came out right behind the sister car but got ahead within a few laps.
“The car was feeling really strong initially and I took the lead from the Toyota and pulled a good gap. But halfway through the stint we lost some performance, maybe caused by pick-up with regards the front aero, but then right at the end the balance returned.”
Bamber commented, “I had a good couple of stints – kept a steady pace and took no risks. The car’s balance was really nice throughout – the guys gave us a great race car today. I had to take avoiding action when an LMP2 spun in front of me but that was my only slight drama. It’s been a nice Sunday afternoon drive.”
The sister car with reigning world champion Neel Jani (CH), André Lotterer (DE) and Nick Tandy (GB) finished second having led the race for a long time. This outcome marks the fifth one-two FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) race result for Porsche, the last dating back to the 2015 Shanghai race.
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing took its first-ever podium with the pole position-winning #7 TS050 HYBRID of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López taking third place after leading the early stages and setting the fastest lap of the race.
After light rain in the morning, the fourth of nine championship rounds was held in dry conditions. Porsche has now scored 154 points in the manufacturers’ world championship with a 39.5 points gap to Toyota. In the drivers’ rankings, Bamber/Bernhard/Hartley have 108 points in total, earning them an advantage of 30 points over the best placed Toyota trio. Meanwhile Jani/Lotterer/Tandy move up to fourth position in the championship (46 points).
After the summer break, the fifth round of the FIA World Endurance Championship will take place on September 3rd in Mexico City.