The reigning world champions Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley and Mark Webber won the innaugural six-hour race in Mexico City. By winning the fifth of nine rounds of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), with the 919 Hybrid, Porsche further extended its lead in the manufacturers’ standings. The trio of Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb came in fourth and extended their lead in the drivers’ world championship. The fastest race lap on the 4.304 kilometer Formula One track was achieved by Brendon Hartley in 1:25.880 minutes on lap 114.
In total this is the 11th victory for the Porsche 919 Hybrid prototype since its debut in 2014. In the current season the 919 has won four races, including the Le Mans 24 Hours. For Bernhard/Hartley/Webber it is their sixth WEC success. Porsche now leads the manufacturers’ standings with 201 points ahead of Audi (158) and Toyota (112). Dumas/Jani/Lieb lead the drivers’ standings by 41 points. Hit the “x” in the top left corner to return to the post when done viewing the gallery below.
Porsche’s LMP1 Race Report
How the race went for car number 1
- Brendon Hartley starts from fourth, overtakes his team mate Marc Lieb in the sister car in turn one and gets behind the two Audis.
- On lap 21 he overtakes the number 7 Audi (André Lotterer) for second place.
- After 35 laps Hartley uses a Full Course Yellow for an early pit stop and hands over the car to Mark Webber, who continues in second place on fresh tires.
- Just after the re-start Webber takes the chance to pass the number 8 Audi (Lucas Di Grassi) for the lead. Now he is the hunted and defends the lead until the last lap before his pit stop.
- After 74 laps Webber pits, right behind Di Grassi. The Porsche pit crew is faster – Timo Bernhard leaves the pits as the race leader.
- After 110 laps he has extended the gap to over ten seconds.
- Then the team uses the next Full Course Yellow to call both 919s into the pits. For a moment it had been unclear if the stop should be after 109 or 110 laps, which is why Bernhard continued on track after crossing the white line at the pit lane entrance. He is penalized for this. Brendon Hartley comes in for a stop and go penalty after 120 laps and loses the lead until lap 134, when he wins a battle against the number 8 Audi (Loic Duval) in the baseball stadium section.
- After 137 laps Hartley changes to rain tires and continues.
- On lap 140 the number 8 Audi (Oliver Jarvis) slips off the track. After two thirds of the race Porsche is leading with a one-two.
- After 162 laps Hartley hands over to Bernhard, who rejoins the race on intermediate tires. Meanwhile he drives in P2, because the number 7 Audi with Lotterer at the wheel has impressively recovered from dropping back earlier.
- When Lotterer pits after 172 laps, Bernhard is back in the lead.
- After 199 laps he comes in for a final tire change onto slicks.
- He brings home the race win after 230 laps, despite increasing rain and an off on lap 226.
Timo Bernhard had this to say about the race, “Sports car racing couldn’t be any better! I was third in the car and opened a good gap on the number 8 Audi. During my second stint in the last third of the race the final 20 minutes especially turned out to be very difficult. In sector three, as it was suddenly wetter than the lap before and I made a small mistake. Luckily I didn’t touch anything and was able to continue. It was outstanding how the team prepared the 919 Hybrid for these special conditions, the new track and the altitude.”
How the race went for car number 2:
- Marc Lieb drops back from second to fourth at the start.
- When the number 7 Audi (Lotterer) stops he improves to third.
- At its first pit stop after 35 laps the number 2 Porsche loses some time, because the pit stop at the same time as the sister car causes a time consuming situation when leaving the pit. Neel Jani drops back to fourth behind the number 5 Toyota (Kazuki Nakajima). Between the two a duel develops that Jani wins on lap 40.
- After 75 laps, and during another Full Course Yellow, Jani hands over to Romain Dumas, who continues in P3. He constantly reduces the gap to the front and hands over to Lieb after 110 laps.
- Again the double pit stop with the sister car is necessary, but not easy to handle. Lieb continues in second.
- On lap 127 he is overtaken by Hartley. In turn he hunts down Duval in his Audi on lap 136 and is second again. One lap later Lieb picks up rain tires and continues.
- On lap 148 he is touched by an LMP2 car, which causes part of the bodywork from the rear left to come off.
- After 154 laps, and on instructions from race control, Lieb has to pit for a new rear end. He drops back to third.
- His rain tires are a handicap on the now drying track, so on lap 166 the number 6 Toyota (Stéphane Sarrazin) gets past him as well.
- After 169 laps Lieb hands over to Jani, who continues on intermediate tires. Because the Porsche pit crew did a faster stop than the Toyota team, Jani improves to third.
- On lap 178 he gets past by the Toyota again.
- After lap 194 Jani comes in for another early pit stop to change from intermediates to slicks. Dumas takes over for the final stint and brings the car home in P4.
Marc Lieb had this to say about the race, “Having started second, finishing fourth is not what we had hoped for. The start wasn’t easy. The Audis played very well together and I was surprised by Brendon. On my first stint especially I had difficult situations in traffic. Later in the race, when we had drizzle and rain, the track conditions were tricky. Several times our tyre choice wasn’t right. For us there was more within reach today and, therefore, we feel a bit disappointed.”
FIA World Endurance Manufacturers’ Championship Standings
- Porsche 201 Points
- Audi 158 Points
- Totyota 112 Points
FIA World Endurance Drivers’ Championship Standings
- Marc Lieb, Neil Jani, Romain Dumas 118 Points
- K. Kobayashi, M. Conway, S. Sarraxin, 77 Points
- L. Duval, L. Di Grassi, O. Jarvis, 74.5 Points
- A. Lotterer, M. Fässler, 69 Points
- B. Hartley, M. Webber, T. Bernhard, 53.5 Points
Porsche’s GT Race Report
Great success for Porsche customer teams at the premiere of the WEC Sports Car World Endurance Championship in Mexico: With the Porsche 911 RSR, Abu Dhabi Proton Racing won the GTE-Am class at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez circuit with the team celebrating its maiden WEC victory in front of 38,000 spectators. Sharing driving duties in the cockpit of the 470 hp winning racer from Weissach was Porsche’s works driver Patrick Long with Khaled Al Qubaisi and David Heinemeier Hanson. The KCMG squad with Porsche factory pilot Wolf Henzler, Christian Ried and Joel Camathias secured the third podium spot after a gripping six-hour race. Gulf Racing rounded off the sterling performances from Porsche customer teams with the all-British line-up of Ben Barker, Michael Wainwright and Adam Carroll clinching fourth place.
In the GTE-Pro class the situation was looking promising for third place for the Porsche works drivers Richard Lietz and Michael Christensen in Dempsey Proton Racing’s 911 RSR, but as rain set in about halfway through the race on the Mexico City Grand Prix circuit at a 2,310-meter altitude, they dropped down the field after making an unfortunate tire choice. The pair took the flag in sixth place.
GTE-Pro class Race Result
1. Stanaway/Turner (NZ/GB), Aston Martin, 202 laps
2. Bruni/Calado (I/GB), Ferrari 488 GTE, 202
3. Sörensen/Thiim (DK/DK), Aston Martin, 202
4. Rigon/Bird (I/GB), Ferrari 488 GTE, 201
5. Franchitti/Priaulx/Tincknell (USA/GB/GB), Ford GT, 201
6. Christensen/Lietz (D/A), Porsche 911 RSR, 201
7. Mücke/Pla (D/F), Ford GT, 181
GTE-Am class Race Results
1. Al Qubaisi/Long/Heinemeier Hansson (UAE/USA/DK), Porsche 911 RSR, 197 laps
2. Collard/Perrodo/Aguas (F/F/P), Ferrari F458 Italia, 196
3. Ried/Henzler/Camathias (D/D/CH), Porsche 911 RSR, 196
4. Wainwright/Carroll/Barker (GB/GB/GB), Porsche 911 RSR, 196
5. Lamy/Dalla Lana/Lauda (P/CAN/A), Aston Martin, 192
6. Yamagishi/Ragues/Taylor (J/F/USA), Chevrolet Corvette, 184
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Round six of the Sports Car World Endurance Championship WEC will be contested in Austin/USA on 17 September.