Already the World Endurance Championship is on it’s final race of the 2017 season – the 6 Hours of Bahrain. After a thrilling season, the grid head to the middle east for the ninth and last race of the year. Porsche LMP1 Team go into their final WEC race as reigning, three-time champions, but in the GTE classes it is all still to race for.
Toyota Gazoo Racing have won the last two races, showing a much more competitive streak at the end of the year. They would love to beat Porsche in their final race but it is certain that the two German cars will be putting in the maximum to take a last win for the team. With rumours of Toyota staying in the WEC growing recently as talk of Fernando Alonso joining the Japanese outlet for next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, Toyota will want to keep their winning streak up and end the year on a high going into next year. No championships are left to fight for in LMP1, so the two teams are battling for pride of taking the last win of the season around Bahrain International Circuit.
LMP2 has seen the first change in the championship lead with one race to go. The #31 Vaillante Rebellion took a race win out last time for the 6 Hours of Bahrain and lead the championship by four points. Jackie Chan DC Racing car #38’s fourth place last time out was not enough to keep them ahead of the #31 ORECA 07/Gibson. This weekend, either of the two teams could take the title, so the race will be a close one to watch. Gustavo Menezes still mathematically has a chance to take the LMP2 trophy, but it would need both the #31 and #38 to fail to finish competitively and him to win to see that possibility happen.
GTE Pro is probably the closest championship of them all going into the final race. The top three are covered by just eight points and any of the three teams could take victory in the GT Drivers’ World Endurance Championship if the win the final race of the season. It’s one of the closest championship decider the WEC has ever seen in it’s short life. The outcome of the weekend will be able to be predicted on where AF Corse #51 look to be over the weekend. James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi lead the championship going into the weekend with Richard Lietz and Frederic Makowiecki in the Porsche GT Team #91 second and ex-leaders of the class Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell in the Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK sitting third after winning last time out in Shanghai.
It was neck and neck between the Am class leaders Dempsey-Proton Racing and Aston Martin Racing before the race last round. Pole position for the #98 Aston Martin put the two teams on even points before the six-hour endurance started. The Porsche struggled with tyre issues through the race, only managing to finish third to AMR’s first place result. Ten points separate the two teams at the top of the class, meaning that the Dempsey team need to win and take pole, with AMR finishing third or below to take the title from the three veterans of the class.
With a Saturday race day this weekend, action gets going on Thursday for the first two practice session of the event. Stay tuned to TheCheckeredFlag to keep up with everything there is to hear from the last race of the 2017 season.