By taking a one-two victory in Austin, Texas, USA, the Porsche LMP Team further extended its World Endurance Championship lead. Earl Bamber (NZ), Timo Bernhard (DE) and Brendon Hartley (NZ), the championship leading Le Mans winners, crossed the line first at the Circuit of The Americas.
The sixth round of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) was a hot six-hour race with up to 33 degree Celsius ambient temperature and 40 degree Celsius track temperatures. The reigning world champion Neel Jani (CH), André Lotterer (DE) and Nick Tandy (GB) finished second. This trio had started from pole position and led for most of the race before letting the sister car ahead in the closing stages which is better placed in the championship. Jani achieved the fastest race lap in 1:47.149 minutes on lap 9 of 192. Toyota’s prototypes were strong opponents.
“The result is an awesome team effort,” commented Hartley. “Both our cars were always close together and Toyota kept us honest for the entire race. It was interesting to see the different tyre strategies today. I was second and fifth in the car and had good, clean stints.”
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing finished on the podium in the 6 Hours of Circuit of the Americas after a race-long challenge for victory in the sixth round of the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC).
The TS050 HYBRIDs recovered from a disappointing qualifying session to perform strongly, with the #8 of Sébastien Buemi, Stéphane Sarrazin and Kazuki Nakajima finishing third, 21.680secs behind the winning Porsche #2 after 1,058km of racing.
Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López in the #7 TS050 HYBRID played their part in an exciting race on their way to fourth place as the TOYOTAs finished in the same order as they started.
The result marked the Porsche 919 Hybrid’s 17th race win and the seventh one-two victory since its debut in 2014. Furthermore, it now has eleven fastest race laps to its tally. Porsche aims to complete the innovative prototype’s career in a perfect manner in its final season this year. Having won the Le Mans 24-Hours three years in a row, the team is aiming to achieve a third consecutive world championship title for manufacturers and drivers. Porsche has now scored 242 points in the manufacturers’ world championship with Toyota on 168.5 points.
In the drivers’ rankings, Bamber/Bernhard/Hartley (159 points) have extended their lead over the best placed Toyota drivers (108 points). Jani/Lotterer/Tandy lie fourth in the championship (90 points). Due to the excessive heat, the maximum consecutive time for a driver at the wheel was limited to 80 minutes from the regulations. This made it clear before the start that no double stints would be possible. The 919 Hybrid could do 30 laps with one fuel fill which lasted approximately 57 minutes. The seventh of nine WEC rounds will take place on October 15 in Fuji, Japan.
6 Hours of COTA results:
1st #2 Porsche (Bernhard/Bamber/Hartley) 192 laps
2nd #1 Porsche (Jani/Lotterer/Tandy) +0.276secs
3rd #8 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing +21.956secs
4th #7 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing +45.026secs
5th #36 Alpine (Lapierre/Menezes/Negrao) +15 laps
6th #13 Rebellion (Beche/Heinemeier Hansson/Piquet) 16 laps