One To Go - What's Still Up For Grabs in FIA WEC?
It’s the Tuesday after the weekend before. How are we all feeling? Have our championship winners come down from the initial high yet? After what can be called a somewhat messy 6 hours of Shanghai, a few of the championships in the FIA World Endurance Championship have been decided ahead of the season finale in Bahrain. There are still plenty of battles to be had however, and this is how it’s all looking.
LMP1 - sealed in Shanghai
Going into the penultimate round, Porsche had it all to lose in LMP1. For most of the race, it looked like the championship race would continue to Bahrain. However, in the final hour, contact between the #7 Toyota and the #91 Porsche 911 spelt the end of the Japanese manufacturer’s challenge for the title. Despite a dominant win for the #8 Toyota, Porsche walked away with two titles – the #2 crew of Brendan Hartley, Earl Bamber and Timo Bernhard took the driver’s title.
Points gap shrinks in LMP2
Consistency has been key in the LMP2 championship battle. While the ‘Mighty 38’ Jackie Chan DC Racing car has been grabbing headlines with a win at Silverstone and a 2nd place overall finish at Le Mans, its closest rival has been quietly closing the points difference. The #31 Rebellion has been racking up quite the tally, especially in the latter half of the season – their only non-podium finish this season was at Le Mans, though double points still saw them coming away with 16 points. In China, the #31 took their third win and now lead the title fight by four points from the #38.
GTE Pro driver battle continues
It all started so well for the #67 Ford Chip Ganassi squad - the championship has been theirs to lose since their win at the opening round in Silverstone. However, two disappointing finishes in Austin and Fuji saw the #67 drop to 4th in the standings. However, a fantastic performance by Priaulx and Tincknell earned them the win in Shanghai and put them back in the driver’s title fight. The team’s title won’t be continuing to Bahrain though, Ferrari have done enough to pull clear of their rivals to be named 2017 GTE Pro Champions.
An incredibly close title and a landmark win for Aston Martin
Despite only having five cars involved, the GTE Am championship has provided us with some brilliantly close racing. Before this penultimate round, the top three teams were separated by just three points. The race ended in a landmark victory for Aston Martin Racing, with the #98 car securing the team’s 50th win in GTE racing. The victory gives the British team a ten-point lead going into Bahrain – it’s still all to play for.
Congratulations to all at Porsche, especially 2017 champs Hartley, Bamber and Bernhard. And of course congrats to our GTE Manufacturer champions Ferrari! The finale of the FIA World Endurance Championship kicks off in Bahrain on the 16th of November, be sure to follow all the action as the final titles are claimed.
Cover photo ©Adrenal Media