Porsche made it look very easy as they took a competitive one-two finish around the Nurburgring for the 6 Hours of Nurburgring. Toyota Gazoo Racing had no response for the pace Porsche displayed with their high downforce aero kit. It was a day of easy wins in the LMP classes as Oliver Jarvis, Ho Pin Tung and Thomas Laurent converted their inherited pole position to their second six-hour victory of the season.
Toyota #8 race instantly became a race of damage limitation as Sebastien Buemi slowed on the formation lap. A fuel pump failure saw the championship-contenting Toyota forced into the pits before the green flag dropped so the part could be replaced. They finished the race classifying fourth overall but five laps down. This lost them 13 points to the winning Porsche #2 in the World Endurance Drivers’ Championship.
After the first hour of the race, it became a Porsche vs Porsche battle. The Toyota did not have the pace to keep up with the high downforce Porsches, revealing a weakness in the team’s hope to battle for the championships. This was the first race weekend that both LMP1 teams ran the high-downforce aero kits and it was clear at the start of the weekend that Porsche had an edge. That edge translated to nearly a lap-long lead at the chequered flag, indicating Toyota have a lot of work to do if they want to have any chance of stopping Porsche from walking away with both titles again this season.
Both of the Porsche was suffering from a lot of rubber pick up and aero degradation during the laps, that created a “yo-yo” effect for which Porsche was leading the race. Every stint the lead Porsche would swap around. This lead to an intense fight at the end of the race. With both cars dropping off and gaining rapidly on each other at the top and end of each hour it was difficult to tell who would come out on top. Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley and Earl Bamber took victory over the sister car by 1.6 seconds.
As the #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing disappeared into the distance for an easy class win, the battles for the rest of the podium raged on behind them. Vaillante Rebellion had shown great pace all weekend and was hot in the fight for the podium. Bruno Senna, Juilien Canal and Filipe Alburquerque took second comfortably with a 28 second lead on the third-place finishers.
It was the stunning stints from Nicolas Lapierre and Tristian Gommendy that put the #36 Signatech Alpine in prime position to fight the second Rebellion for the bottom step of the podium. Coming off of Gommenday and Gustavo Menezes‘ hard work, Lapierre was able to pass the #13 and extend an advantage that Mathias Beche could not rival.
In their last confirmed race for this season, the #4 ByKolles Racing had a quiet race that saw them classify 14th overall. There were no incidents or periods in the garage for the team as they completed a simple lights to flag race. Only one car retired from the 6 Hours of Nurburgring. Damage on the #35 Signatech was too extensive to be able to repair before the end of the race. They officially retired from the endurance event just before the halfway point.