Porsche’s domination of the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2015 continued on Sunday at the 6 Hours of Shanghai as the no. 17 car of Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard swept to its fourth successive victory.
After locking out the front row at the Shanghai International Circuit, the two Porsche 919 Hybrids faced a stiff challenge throughout the race as wet weather brought Audi’s pair of R18 e-tron quattros into play for the race win.
However, while Porsche opted to double stint its tires in the middle of the race, Audi lost time by making a switch to fresh rubber in the pits that cost the no. 7 of Andre Lotterer, Benoit Treluyer and Marcel Fassler the lead of the race.
Although they did manage to recover some time after making an early switch to slicks when the track dried out and move back up to second when Romain Dumas spun the no. 18 Porsche, a blistering final stint from the Frenchman allowed him to re-take P2 and complete a one-two for the German marque.
The result secured Porsche its first FIA WEC manufacturers’ title, and puts the no. 17 trio of Webber, Hartley and Bernhard on the brink of the drivers’ championship ahead of the 6 Hours of Bahrain later this month.
In LMP2, the Signatech Alpine team sprung a surprise to claim its first WEC victory, beating G-Drive and KCMG to top class honors with its no. 36 Nissan, driven by Nelson Panciatici, Paul-Loup Chatin and debutant Tom Dillmann.
Porsche’s success continued in GTE Pro as Richard Lietz moved to within touching distance of the GT drivers’ title with his third win of the season. Racing alongside Michael Christensen, Lietz helped control proceedings in class as the no. 91 Porsche 911 RSR finished 40 seconds clear of the no. 51 AF Corse Ferrari in second place.
AF Corse did not go home empty-handed, though, as the no. 83 F458 Italia of Francois Perrodo, Emmanuel Collard and Rui Aguas claimed their first victory of the season in GTE Am to give themselves a chance of winning the class title in Bahrain. Aston Martin Racing and SMP Racing rounded out the podium, and will also be vying for top GTE Am honors at the final round.