Once Porsche starts winning, it can be hard to get them to stop. In 2016, Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard landed three consecutive wins(Nürburgring, Mexico and CotA). In 2015 the same trio managed four consecutive wins(Nürburgring, CotA, Fuji and Shanghai). This weekend's 1-2 finish at the 6 Hours of the Nürburgring is the brand's second consecutive LMP1 victory in 2017, following a very dramatic 24 Hours of Le Mans. This race was the 919's 15th overall win since debuting in 2014.
Much like the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Toyota's appearance at the Nürburgring was dominated by reliability concerns. The #8 Toyota was effectively taken out of contention early in the race due to a fuel pump failure. After six hours the team had brought the car to fourth position, but never seriously contested the race lead. The #7 Toyota, driven by Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and José María López failed to match Porsche's speed after the first half. Considering Toyota's impressive pace lap-on-lap in past rounds this year, the lack of pace this round is surprising.
Porsche's commanding win at their home round of the WEC is indicative of a team that is fully on its game. Coming out of this round, each driver praised the team's level of preparation. Encouragingly, Lotterer, Jani and Bernhard all noted strong competition from the leading Toyota in the race's early stages. From André Lotterer, driving the second place 919:
Initially I had a very good start and was on the better racing line but then Timo got ahead into Turn 1. During the first stint, Kamui Kobayashi, Timo and myself were all at the same speed and it was a lot of fun going through the traffic. It's been a good day for Porsche with both cars really strong, exchanging the lead many times. Maybe our car could have taken the race win but we worked as a team with the championship in mind.
While FLATSIXES.com is decidedly a blog about Porsche, strong competition is key to Porsche continuing to improve. While we love Porsche, we still want good racing. Toyota's impressive pace in qualifying not only at Le Mans, but also at Silverstone and Spa this year are encouraging signs to us.
The glory at the 6 Hours of Nürburgring was not solely in LMP1. After claiming the pole in GT-Pro, Porsche fought a tightly contested race in the class. Though the AF Corse Ferrari claimed the victory in GT-Pro, the 911 RSRs filled out the rest of the podium. Richard Lietz and Frédéric Makowiecki now sit just behind the leading Ford GT drivers in the GT-Pro Driver's Championship.
Following this round Porsche is now tied with AF Corse for second in the manufacturer's championship for GT-Pro, with 73 points each. Ford's #67 Ford GT is still leading the class with 84 points.
Dempsey-Proton claimed a win in the class at Nürburgring, and have stayed on the podium every round so far this season. The top GTE-Am drivers have managed some of the best racing in all of the WEC so far this year, and the leading Ferrari, Aston and Porsche drivers are separated by just two points in the Championship for drivers(88 points for all three Dempsey-Proton Porsche drivers and all three Clearwater Ferrari drivers, and 86 for all three Aston Martin drivers).
Manufacturers Standings After The 6 Hours of Nürburgring
- Porsche - 154
- Toyota - 115
- Chip Ganassi Racing - 84
- Team Manthey (#91) - 73
- AF Corse - 73
- Aston Martin Racing - 69
- AF Corse - 64
- Chip Ganassi Racing - 51
- Aston Martin Racing - 44
- Team Manthey (#92)- 24
- Clearwater Racing - 102
- Dempsey-Proton Racing - 94
- Aston Martin Racing - 92
- Spirit of Race - 50
- Gulf Racing - 46