The Porsche LMP Team took another big step in their mission of title defence in Mexico City yesterday: At the fifth round of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, the Weissach-based team with the two Porsche 919 Hybrids achieved a dominant one-two victory. The championship leading Le Mans winners, Brendon Hartley (NZ), Earl Bamber (NZ) and Timo Bernhard (DE) came first ahead of their teammates Neel Jani (CH), André Lotterer (DE) and Nick Tandy (GB).
Against all predictions, the weather stayed dry during the well received six-hour race and allowed straight racing with a pure result. The two Porsche 919 Hybrids lapped the competition provided by Toyota while Hartley set the fastest race lap.
Since the beginning of the 2014 season, the Porsche 919 Hybrid has now competed in 30 races, achieving 17 pole positions, 16 race wins – including six one-two victories – and ten fastest race laps. For 2017, the team is aiming to achieve a third consecutive world championship title for manufacturers and drivers. Porsche has now scored 198 points in the manufacturers’ world championship with Toyota on 141.5 points. In the drivers’ rankings, Hartley/Bamber/Bernhard (134 points) have extended their lead over the best placed Toyota trio to 41 points. Jani/Lotterer/Tandy now lie third in the championship (64 points). In less than two weeks time, on September 16, the WEC starts round six of nine at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas (USA).
How the race went for car number 2:
Hartley takes a solid lead from pole position. On lap three he sets the fastest lap of the race in 1:25.730 minutes. He refuels after 39 laps and hands over the 919 to Bamber after 79 laps. The team’s second Kiwi refuels after 119 laps. At this stop, a defective fuel flow meter sensor that controls the petrol consumption is replaced. On lap 121, mid-distance in the race, Bamber laps the first Toyota, then on lap 136 he laps the second one. After 159 laps, Bamber hands over to Bernhard. For the German’s first stop the team uses a full course yellow period for refueling and fresh tyres after 182 laps. When the next full course yellow arises, the team again decides for an early stop and refuels after 199 laps. Bernhard continues leading the race by a substantial margin of half a minute. After 238 of 240 laps, he stops for a final splash of fuel before taking a dominant victory.
The Porsche LMP Team after the race
Fritz Enzinger, Vice President LMP1:
“The 919 Hybrid was never more dominant than here. We have been fastest in free practice and qualifying and now we’ve got a one-two race win. We have experienced an impressive performance of our prototype and a sensational team effort. I want to thank the team on site, the development centre in Weissach and the entire Porsche AG.”
Andreas Seidl, Team Principal:
“Congratulations to the whole team here at the track and at home in our Weissach workshop for this stunning one-two victory today. After the Nürburgring race, we’ve worked very hard at another test in Barcelona as well as in the following weeks to further improve the Porsche 919. Due to the changing track temperatures today, it was very important to choose the right tires at the right moment. Together with our colleagues from Michelin, we managed that very well. A big thank you to our six drivers too. Despite the fast pace and the constant challenge of overtaking traffic, they brought both cars home without a single scratch. We stay focussed and start our preparations for the next WEC race in Austin tomorrow.”
Drivers Porsche 919 Hybrid car number 2:
Brendon Hartley (27, New Zealand):
“This was an awesome race weekend by our Porsche team. We were fast from the first session onwards and in the race our car was really amazing. Actually both our cars got away quickly from the Toyotas. We didn’t expect to have such a pace advantage. Lapping traffic at times was a bit of a gamble as it is a tough track in that respect. The last section is like a street track but I tried to be careful and bring it home with no mistakes. Earl and Timo both did superb jobs. We controlled the race and didn’t have to take extra risks. Mexico was fantastic and I’m looking forward to the rest of the championship.”
Earl Bamber (27, New Zealand):
“The entire weekend was fantastic. The team gave us a great car and made our life very easy. In the race it was a shame that our sister car had a penalty because some close racing would have been nice. I was the second driver in the car and my double stint was straight forward.”
Timo Bernhard (36, Germany):
“This is a beautiful day for our Porsche LMP1 Team. This weekend was really good. The 919 was consistently fast, the strategy was right and it was lots of fun. In the end I could even manage the gap because it was so huge. I’m over the moon and now we will party.”