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FIA World Endurance Champions Crowned in Paris

World Endurance Champions honored at FIA Gala in Paris…

Photo: FIA WEC

Photo: FIA WEC

The 2015 FIA World Endurance Champions were crowned Friday evening in Paris, as the top sports car racing drivers and manufacturers in the world collected their trophies alongside the other winners from Formula One, World Rally Championship, World Touring Car Championship, World RallyCross and the other continental championships from around the globe.

Mark Webber, Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley were honored as World Endurance Drivers’ Champions after taking four wins from eight races during the 2015 season in their Porsche 919 Hybrid.

The Porsche trio of drivers beat the 2012 champions, Marcel Fässler, Benoit Tréluyer and Andre Lotterer into second place, with the crew of the second Porsche 919 – Neel Jani, Romain Dumas and Marc Lieb finishing third.

Webber becomes Australia’s first motorsport world champion since Alan Jones in 1980 and it is 48 years since New Zealand had a motorsport world champion, with Hartley following in the footsteps of Denny Hulme who won the F1 crown in 1967.

“To win a World Championship title with Porsche as a driver is a massive moment,” Webber said. “I’m very proud of my Grand Prix victories but to put together this campaign with the team is right up there.”

Timo Bernhard said: “It’s been an incredible season with so many special moments: the double win for Porsche at Le Mans, four back-to-back race wins, we secured the manufacturer’s title and now we are World Endurance Drivers’ Champions which truly is the icing on the cake.

“I’ve been with Porsche for 17 years, they gave me the chance to become a professional racing driver and I’ve had a lot of success with them in the past. I owe them a lot and with the drivers’ title a dream has come true.”

Hartley added: “For me it was like a dream come true when I signed with Porsche in 2013 and to see how far we’ve come in the last two years is something to be very proud of.

“This WEC season has truly been one to remember, we had drama, we had fun, we had some beautiful victories and in the end it worked out well for us.”

Porsche claimed the FIA World Endurance Manufacturers’ Championship for the first time, joining Audi (2012, 2013) and Toyota (2014) in holding this illustrious title.

The German manufacturer added the world crown after wins in Germany, Texas, Japan, China, Bahrain and their 17th victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.

Porsche were also victorious in the FIA World Endurance Cup for GT Manufacturers, beating three-time champions Ferrari for the first time.

Austrian Richard Lietz lifted the FIA World Endurance Cup for GT Drivers, taking three wins in 2015 to finish ahead of outgoing champions Gianmaria Bruni and Toni Vilander by 13.5 points.

“The driver’s title in WEC is the highlight in my career as a race driver,” Lietz said. “This is one of the very few FIA titles you can win in GT racing. I am very proud of what Porsche has achieved in 2015 winning all GT titles.

“Apart from Le Mans our season was almost perfect. I was part of the development of our 911 RSR from the beginning on and over the years the car improved a lot.

“After three years in racing I think now the 911 RSR is one of the best handling GT car in the world.”

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