Apologies, our race report is later than usual… we actually spent a few days ‘post race’ enjoying the sights and sounds of Austin… what a great place… as they say… ‘Keep Austin Weird’!
So you all know the result by now, under the scorching Texan sun the #2 Porsche 919 Hybrid took the chequered flag at the 6 Hours of Circuit of the Americas. Brendon Hartley, Timo Bernhard and Earl Bamber gave the German marque their third in a row of 1-2 finishes with the #1 of Neel Jani, Andre Lotterer and Nick Tandy bringing up the rear for the, what is becoming, standard photo finish!
For most part of the race it was unclear if it would be a Porsche win, with Toyota giving the 919’s a run for their money, but the tide turned and the Toyota’s were unable to keep up the pace, with the #8 Toyota Gazoo Racing of Buemi, Sarrazin and Nakajima finishing some 22 seconds behind. A further 23 seconds down the road was the sister car of Conway, Kobayashi and Lopez. Team President Hisatake Murata commented: “I am pleased that we could challenge Porsche and give the fans an exciting race… Even though we are disappointed not to win, today's performance gives us a lot of encouragement for our home race; we will go to Fuji Speedway aiming for the middle of the podium.”
In LMP2 the #36 Signatech Alpine of Gustavo Menezes, Nicolas Lapierre and Andre Negrao topped the class timing screens at pretty much every opportunity giving the #36 the top step of the podium. A small drama of a broken rear light added a slight ruffle to their otherwise unruffled day. Guastavo said after the race: “We did it, victory at home! So proud to represent the USA at the 6hrs COTA and defend last year’s victory.”
The two Orecas of Vaillante Rebellion claimed the last two steps of the podium, #13 and #31 respectively.
The LM GTE Pro battle did not disappoint (it seldoms does!) with the win being taken by the AF Corse Ferrari #51 of Allessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado. But it could quite easily have been a very different result with challenges coming from the #92 Porsche 911 RSR of Michael Christensen and Kevin Estre, who finished second, and the sister AF Corse Ferrari #71 of Rigon and Bird taking third. Pier Guidi: “What a race...like roller coaster but at the end we brought it home! Thanks to James, AF Corse and Ferrari for the amazing job.”
LM GTE Am went the way of the #98 Aston Martin Vantage of Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda, although the #61 Ferrari 488 of Clearwater Racing provided some ‘close’ racing to finish second. Lamy said after the race: “This was a special race and the perfect weekend. The heat was really intense inside the car but we were fighting so hard for the victory you just completely forget that!”
The Singaporean outfit of Weng Sun Mok, Keita Sawa and Matt Griffin provided some storming drives throughout the 6 hours but were in the end unable to close down the gap. The #54 Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 of Flohr, Castellacci and Molina claimed the final podium step of the weekend.
There were two retirements: #25 CEFC Manor TRS Racing with an electrical issue and the #86 Gulf Racing UK Porsche with significant damage following an off at T11.
Join us for Round 7 of the FIA World Endurance Championship, the 6 Hours of Fuji, Sunday 15th October, race time 1100 hrs local time.