The Porsche LMP Team took another big step in their mission of title defence in Mexico City today: 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, Earl Bamber (NZ), Timo Bernhard (DE) and Brendon Hartley (NZ) 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, Bamber/Bernhard/Hartley (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 1:
Tandy starts from P2 and stays on the heels of the leading sister car. He refuels after 40 laps and hands over the car to Lotterer after 80 laps. Because Tandy has exceeded the pit lane speed limit, Lotterer has to serve a stop-and-go penalty that costs around 20 seconds at the end of lap 91 and loses contact to the leading Porsche number 2. Lotterer refuels after 120 laps and hands over to Jani after 160 laps. While in pit lane, Jani laps the number 8 Toyota. He refuels again after 181 laps and picks up fresh tyres, taking advantage of a full course yellow phase. On lap 190, he also laps the number 7 Toyota. The team again uses a full course yellow to fill the car after 200 laps. The rain that was expected for the final stages stays clear. After 237 laps, Jani stops for a splash of fuel and finishes the race three laps later in second position.
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 refuelling 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 1:
Neel Jani (33, Switzerland): “This is obviously a super result for Porsche, you cannot ask for more. It was unexpected that Toyota today didn’t have the hint of a chance. Apart from that, traffic was hard work today, you really had to be cautious.”
André Lotterer (35, Germany): “This result is mega for Porsche. I was the second driver in the car and had a good double stint. Unfortunately I had to come for a stop-and-go penalty because Nick apparently had been too fast in pit lane but these things happen. Other than that I was just driving my rhythm and the car was running very well.”
Nick Tandy (32, Great Britain): “I did the double stint at the beginning and it was fine. We managed to get out in front together and work as a team. We were saving fuel a bit to offset our pit stops to avoid both cars pitting at the same time. Everything worked fine today except for the pit speed limit infringement.”
Drivers Porsche 919 Hybrid car number 2
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.”
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.”