Porsche wraps up WEC titles as Toyota takes race win in Shanghai

Porsche AG
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Porsche will bow out of the FIA World Endurance Championship’s LMP1 class off the back of a third straight championship-double after wrapping up both the drivers’ and manufacturers’ titles in Sunday’s 6 Hours of Shanghai.

Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard became the first drivers in history to win multiple overall drivers’ titles in the WEC, with a second-place finish ensuring they hold an unassailable lead alongside first-time champion Earl Bamber heading into the season finale in Bahrain.

Porsche also sewed up the manufacturers’ title after a late mistake from Toyota’s Jose Maria Lopez cost the Japanese marque a surefire one-two finish, crashing with a Porsche GT car while leading late on.

The clash allowed the No. 8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid crew of Sebastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima to pick up their fourth victory of the season, finishing a lap clear of the newly-crowned champions.

Andre Lotterer, Nick Tandy and Neel Jani took third in the No. 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid, while the No. 7 Toyota recovered to fourth place following the shunt for Lopez.

The manufacturers’ championship was also settled in GTE-Pro as AF Corse’s James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi finished third in the No. 51 Ferrari 488 GTE, with Ford Chip Ganassi Racing taking class victory through Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell in the No. 67 Ford GT.

Calado and Pier Guidi head into the season finale in Bahrain leading the drivers’ standings by just two points from Porsche’s Frederic Makowiecki and Richard Lietz, with Priaulx and Ticknell a further 5.5 points behind.

A title decider is also on the cards in LMP2 after the No. 31 Vaillante Rebellion squad of Bruno Senna, Nicolas Prost and Julien Canal took their third win in the last four races, moving into the lead of their championship in the process.

Senna and Canal will head into the Bahrain finale four points clear of No. 38 Jackie Chan DC Racing drivers Oliver Jarvis, Ho-Pin Tung and Thomas Laurent, with the Le Mans class-winning trio only finishing fourth in Shanghai in front of team owner Jackie Chan after an incident-strewn race.

Aston Martin Racing dominated proceedings in GTE-Am with the No. 98 Vantage GTE of Pedro Lamy, Mathias Lauda and Paul Dalla Lana, the trio taking victory by a lap from the No. 86 Gulf Racing Porsche 911 RSR.

The result saw the No. 98 crew move 10 points clear in their class championship heading to Bahrain, with the No. 77 Dempsey-Proton Racing team losing ground after finishing third on Sunday.

Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023

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Jamie Chadwick, the three-time W Series champion, will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Indy NXT Series next season.

Chadwick will make her debut in an American racing series in March, driving the No. 28 for Andretti Autosport with sponsorship from DHL. The 24-year-old will become the first female driver in 13 years to compete full time in the Indy NXT championship.

Chadwick joined the female free-to-enter W Series in its inaugural 2019 season, winning two races and the first of three consecutive championships. She has been a reserve driver for the Williams Formula One team and will continue in that role in 2023. She also has driven in the Extreme E Series.

Despite her success, Chadwick hasn’t landed a bigger ride in F3 or F2, and her break didn’t come until Michael Andretti contacted her and offered a test in an Indy NXT car.

The final three races of this year’s W Series schedule were canceled when funding fell through, but Chadwick still believes the all-female series was the right path for her.

“W Series has always been and will continue to be an opportunity to be racing for every female driver, so for my side, I looked at it while perhaps I would have liked to step up maybe earlier, at the same time being able to have that chance to race, get that experience, have that development, seat time… I was constantly learning,” Chadwick told The Associated Press.

“In that sense, I wasn’t frustrated at all. But on the flip side of it, now I’ve had that experience testing in the United States in Indy NXT and this is something I’m really excited about.”

Chadwick also is expected to have an enhanced role as a development driver next season with Williams, which chose American driver Logan Sargeant to fill its open seat on next year’s F1 grid.

“Andretti Autosport is proud to be supporting Jamie alongside DHL,” said Michael Andretti. “Jamie’s successful career speaks for itself, but Indy NXT gives Jamie the opportunity to continue her development in a new type of racing.

“We’ve turned out five Indy NXT champions over the years and look forward to continuing our role in developing new talent.”

Indy NXT is the new name of the rebranded Indy Lights Series, the final step on the ladder system before IndyCar.

Andretti will field two drivers next season in IndyCar that were developed in Indy NXT: Kyle Kirkwood, the 2021 champion, will return to Andretti after one season in IndyCar driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, and Devlin DeFrancesco is back for a second season.

Chadwick will be teammates in Indy NXT with Hunter McElrea and Louis Foster. She becomes Andretti’s second full-time female driver alongside Catie Munnings, who competes for Andretti United in the Extreme E Series.