The 2017 6 Hours of Mexico appeared to be a dominate race up and down the classes, with each discipline presenting one strong competitor that the others in class struggled to catch. The class victories looked to be settled, in most cases, within the first hour of the race. Varying results have thrown some interesting changes in the class championship leads as the FIA World Endurance Championship heads into the last four rounds of the season.
Porsche made Toyota Gazoo Racing look like they were in different classes over the six hour race as they powered to a unthreatened one-two finish. Just under half of the race was left when Toyota fell off the lead lap, a gap that continued to grow rather than reduce to the chequered flag. Although it was Championship challenging #8 Toyota that finished third, the points gap still grew to leading #2 Porsche. 104 points are still available before the end of the season, but it looks like if Porsche continue to perform as they are it will be a breeze for the German team to take their third consecutive World Endurance Driver’s Championship and second titles for Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard.
The #2 Porsche team lead with 134 points, 41 points ahead of #8 crew of Anthony Davidson, Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima. The #1 Porsche team have recovered well from their disappointing retirement from the Le Mans 24 Hours. Although trailing the sister car by 70 points, they are now third in the Driver’s Championship and only 29 points behind #8 Toyota.
A poor race for the #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing team and a victory for the #31 Valiante Rebellion has seen the LMP2 championship close up as the end of the season draws closer. What was around a 40 point lead for Ho-Pin Tung, Oliver Jarvis and Thomas Laurant has now come down to 23 points. One more bad weekend for the Jackie Chan crew and the Rebellion trio of Bruno Senna, Nicloas Prost and Julien Canal could take the Endurance Trophy lead.
The time for new drivers to be signed is upon us, with the 2018 season looming ever closer. CEFC Manor TRS Racing have been changing drivers every race to try and find an excellent line up for next year when they may be stepping up to the LMP1 class. Alex Lynn announced this week that he had signed alongside Sam Bird at DS Virgin Racing for Formula e, and that may make a difference to where he races next year. Of course, many of the LMP2 and GTE drivers partake in both WEC and FE and Lynn could make both series work so long as there are no calendar clashes. With the WEC’s recent calender announcement, the two series could run in tandem throughout the winter months.
Neither of the GT World Endurance Championship title contenders had the best weekend at Mexico. Due to poor races in the last two rounds, class Le Mans winners Jonny Adam, Daniel Serra and Darren Turner have fallen down the leader board, now eighth in the standings and 27 points behind the leaders. Harry Tincknell and Andy Priaulx still lead the GTE Pro class, but second placed Richard Lietz and Frederic Makowiecki are closing in. Another missed podium for the Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK #67 means that their championship lead is just eight points. Ford will need to bring some improvements for their home race at the Circuit of the Americas if they wish to keep Tincknell and Priaulx on top.
Another podium for Ferrari sees them remain on top of the GTE Manufacturer’s Championship. Ford trail by nine points to the Italian car company, whilst Aston Martin, who have looked to have great pace in the last couple of rounds, are 12 points off the leaders. It’s all to play for in the manufacturers as Porsche round off the table 31 points behind Ferrari. There are still a lot of points up for grabs for the teams to receive with the fly away portion of the season left to race.
A second consecutive win for the Dempsey-Proton Racing team sees them happily at the top of the GTE Am Endurance trophy. Once again, their poor performance at Le Mans has seen the strong season of Pedro Lamy, Paul Dalla Lana and Mathias Lauda stifled slightly. The same happened to them last season; had they have had a better Le Mans last year they would have easily take the Am Trophy when the season came to an end in Bahrain. This year is not disastrous nor over yet, as the Aston Martin Racing crew only trail the class leaders by 10 points. It could all change in the next round if the Porsche team has a bad race.
Most of the championships are still left to play for. The racing in the last four round of the 2017 World Endurance Championship should be intense to say the least and bring some exciting wheel to wheel actions on track.