Connect with us


COTA WEC Post-Race Notebook

John Dagys’ post-race WEC notebook from COTA…

Photo: Porsche

Photo: Porsche

***Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber and Brendon Hartley scored their third consecutive FIA World Endurance Championship victory of the season and the 10th win in the last 11 races for Porsche, which has turned into a dominant force, at least with the results on paper.

***The issues for the No. 8 Audi R18 were not just limited to the electrical gremlin in the fourth hour, which saw Loic Duval lose 45 seconds, but also an additional stop to fix a loose door. Had either of these problems not occurred, Duval, Lucas Di Grassi and Oliver Jarvis would have likely claimed victory.

***While the No. 6 Toyota TS050 Hybrid scored its fourth podium finish of the season, the sister No. 5 entry battled a turbo wastegate issue and other setbacks to come home fifth, in what’s been continued misfortune for Kazuki Nakajima, Sebastien Buemi and Anthony Davidson.

***Toyota’s Stephane Sarrazin, Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi have slipped to third in the Drivers World Championship, 0.5 points behind the No. 8 Audi trio, who finished second on Saturday.

***Marco Sorensen and Nicki Thiim have taken over the lead of the GT Drivers’ Championship, following a dominant run for the No. 95 Aston Martin Vantage. It marked Sorensen’s maiden WEC victory, and Thiim’s first triumph in GTE-Pro, and the British manufacturer’s second straight.

***An issue with the air conditioning compressor for the No. 66 Ford GT, which spent considerable time in the garage prior to an on-track incident, has seen Olivier Pla and Stefan Muecke effectively drop out of the title race, after leading the GT Championship post-Le Mans. Pla and Muecke have slipped to sixth, 36 behind AMR’s Thiim and Sorensen.

***A three-minute stop-and-hold penalty initially given to the No. 66 Ford for using more than its allocated set of tires, was rescinded after the team provided evidence that the car was involved in two incidents that caused tire damage.

***AF Corse’s Emmanuel Collard, Francois Perrodo and Rui Aguas saw their lead in the GTE-Am championship dwindle to 32 points after a mechanical issue for the No. 83 Ferrari F458 Italia resulted in a trip to the garage in the second hour. The trio came home sixth in class, their fist non-podium finish of the season.

***The scorching temperatures took its toll on a number of drivers in the race, including Nelson Panciatici, who was pulled from the car at the one-hour mark and taken to medical. The Baxi DC Racing Alpine driver was forced to pit early from 2nd in LMP2 due to losing his heal in his boot. David Cheng and Ho-Pin Tung drove the remainder of the race.

***A weekend attendance number was not released, but estimates have put the crowd in similar numbers compared to last year. One source indicated to Sportscar365 there were only 8,500 tickets pre-sold prior to the weekend. The event marked the likely final IMSA/WEC double-header, with both series poised to have standalone races at COTA next year.

***The race saw only two retirements, with the No. 44 Manor Oreca 05 Nissan having dropped out with left-rear suspension failure late in the running and the No. 42 Strakka Racing Gibson 015S failing to finish after persistent electrical issues.

***Strakka team principal Dan Walmsley said they should finalize their 2017 plans by Fuji. The British squad has most recently been linked to a two-car McLaren 650S GT3 program in the Blancpain GT Series. “There’s certainly truth in that we’re looking at many options,” Walmsley told Sportscar365. “We’ve started with a very clean sheet of paper. On that paper is WEC, ELMS and Blancpain and other categories.”

***Former Porsche LMP1 technical director Alex Hitzinger visited the WEC paddock this weekend. Hitzinger, who left the team in March, has moved to San Francisco for a new job in the automotive industry.

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


More in FIA WEC