Porsche wraps up WEC titles as Toyota takes race win in Shanghai
Porsche will bow out of the FIA World Endurance Championship’s LMP1 class off the back of a third straight championship-double after wrapping up both the drivers’ and manufacturers’ titles in Sunday’s 6 Hours of Shanghai.
Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard became the first drivers in history to win multiple overall drivers’ titles in the WEC, with a second-place finish ensuring they hold an unassailable lead alongside first-time champion Earl Bamber heading into the season finale in Bahrain.
Porsche also sewed up the manufacturers’ title after a late mistake from Toyota’s Jose Maria Lopez cost the Japanese marque a surefire one-two finish, crashing with a Porsche GT car while leading late on.
The clash allowed the No. 8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid crew of Sebastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima to pick up their fourth victory of the season, finishing a lap clear of the newly-crowned champions.
Andre Lotterer, Nick Tandy and Neel Jani took third in the No. 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid, while the No. 7 Toyota recovered to fourth place following the shunt for Lopez.
The manufacturers’ championship was also settled in GTE-Pro as AF Corse’s James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi finished third in the No. 51 Ferrari 488 GTE, with Ford Chip Ganassi Racing taking class victory through Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell in the No. 67 Ford GT.
Calado and Pier Guidi head into the season finale in Bahrain leading the drivers’ standings by just two points from Porsche’s Frederic Makowiecki and Richard Lietz, with Priaulx and Ticknell a further 5.5 points behind.
A title decider is also on the cards in LMP2 after the No. 31 Vaillante Rebellion squad of Bruno Senna, Nicolas Prost and Julien Canal took their third win in the last four races, moving into the lead of their championship in the process.
Senna and Canal will head into the Bahrain finale four points clear of No. 38 Jackie Chan DC Racing drivers Oliver Jarvis, Ho-Pin Tung and Thomas Laurent, with the Le Mans class-winning trio only finishing fourth in Shanghai in front of team owner Jackie Chan after an incident-strewn race.
Aston Martin Racing dominated proceedings in GTE-Am with the No. 98 Vantage GTE of Pedro Lamy, Mathias Lauda and Paul Dalla Lana, the trio taking victory by a lap from the No. 86 Gulf Racing Porsche 911 RSR.
The result saw the No. 98 crew move 10 points clear in their class championship heading to Bahrain, with the No. 77 Dempsey-Proton Racing team losing ground after finishing third on Sunday.