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Bahrain Post-Race Notebook

John Dagys’ post-race notebook from 6H Bahrain…

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

***Mark Webber, Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley became the first Porsche drivers to earn a World Championship since Derek Bell in 1986, when Bell and Hans-Joachim Stuck took the Rothmans Porsche 962 to the World Sports Car Championship title.

***Porsche led 77 percent of the race laps this season (1332 laps) compared to Audi with 362 laps and only 24 laps led by Toyota. Bahrain marked the first race where all starters finished, apart from the 2013 abandoned Fuji event.

***Alex Wurz celebrated his final race of his storied driving career on the podium, with the Austrian and co-drivers Mike Conway and Stephane Sarrazin finishing a surprise third overall, due to the issues for Porsche and Audi. It marked only Toyota’s second podium of the season.

***Porsche won all three titles in GTE, thanks to a dominant GTE-Pro class-winning run by Patrick Pilet and Fred Makowiecki and Richard Lietz taking the drivers; title. However, the factory Manthey squad is understood to not be returning to defending its titles next year. Porsche has yet to make a formal announcement of its withdrawal.

***Patrick Dempsey’s future in the WEC also remains unclear, with the Hollywood actor/racer, who missed Bahrain due to filming commitments, not yet having finalized his 2016 plans. Rumors have continued to surface of his potential retirement from driving.

***Dunlop will host a four-day test at Bahrain beginning on Monday, with Rebellion Racing, ByKolles Racing and Aston Martin Racing to be present. The tire manufacturer is looking to re-enter the LMP1 and GTE-Pro categories next year.

***SMP Racing, which scored its second consecutive WEC title and first in GTE-Am, is understood to be closing in on a move up to the GTE-Pro class next year with a new Ferrari 488 GTE. The Russian-backed squad is operated by AF Corse, resulting in the potential of at least three 488s on the grid next year.

***Tequila Patron ESM ended its first full season of WEC competition with further disappointment, finishing eighth and ninth in class after both of its Ligier JS P2 Hondas suffered suspension failure. It marked the final race for its U.S.-based crew, with OAK Racing set to take over the majority of team operations in 2016.

***David Heinemeier Hansson will not return to the American squad next year, with the Silver-rated Dane exploring multiple options in LMP2 and GTE-Am. The 2013 WEC GTE-Am champion will test Porsche Team Manthey’s Porsche 911 RSR on Sunday in Bahrain.

***It’s understood Jon Fogarty will not be back full-time with ESM either, with the Californian’s Pirelli World Challenge program in GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing’s new McLaren 650S GT3 taking priority.

Laurent Mercier and Janos Wimpffen contributed to this report

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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