Porsche Team’s trio of Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard have captured the 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship following a dramatic, troubled but triumphant afternoon into evening at the Six Hours of Bahrain, the eighth and final round of the season.
The trio’s No. 17 Porsche 919 Hybrid went to the garage early with engine troubles and lost five laps. In the final hour of the race, Webber limped home fighting hybrid issues, but was still able to bring the car home in fifth place overall.
The No. 17 car won four races on the trot from the Six Hours of Nürburgring at the end of August through the penultimate round of the season, the Six Hours of Shanghai, earlier this month.
On the whole, Porsche claimed its sixth consecutive victory in today’s race, as the sister No. 18 trio of Neel Jani, Romain Dumas and Marc Lieb finally broke through for their first win of the year. As the third car, the No. 19 entry of Nick Tandy, Earl Bamber and Nico Hulkenberg won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in mid-June, it means all three of the factory entries have claimed a win this year.
Lieb was the particular standout from today’s race, as he fought off the advances of the No. 7 Audi R18 e-tron quattro driven by Benoit Treluyer. Treluyer, along with teammates Andre Lotterer and Marcel Fassler, came up just short of both the win and the Driver’s World Championship.
A late race pass by Sam Bird on Tandy in LMP2, Bird in the No. 26 G-Drive Racing Ligier JS P2 Nissan and Tandy in the No. 47 KCMG Oreca 05 Nissan, netted the G-Drive trio of Bird, Roman Rusinov and Julien Canal not just the race win but that class title as well. It ends a dramatic season-long title battle between the two of them, where several differences of opinion joined some instances of contact on track – particularly at Fuji.
Richard Lietz won the GTE-Pro driver’s title and Porsche the manufacturer’s cup, while like in LMP1, the overall spoils went to the sister entry for the first time in 2015. Frederic Makowiecki and Patrick Pilet, the latter of whom won the GT Le Mans championship in IMSA this season, took the class race win in the No. 92 Porsche 911 RSR.
GTE-Am was split, with Aston Martin Racing’s trio of Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda winning in their No. 98 Aston Martin Vantage V8 for the first time since before Le Mans, at Spa back in May. Meanwhile SMP Racing’s trio of Andrea Bertolini, Victor Shaytar and Alexey Basov, the season-long class dominant entry in the No. 72 Ferrari F458 Italia, won that class driving title.
Today’s race brought to a conclusion one of the more exciting seasons in recent memory, as most if not all eight rounds packed drama, thrills and chills into every six-hour event (and most of the 24 at Le Mans).