Saturday’s season-ending Six Hours of Bahrain will see titles decided in all four classes of the FIA World Endurance Championship, in what’s been a particularly close season-long battle in the LMP1 and GTE-Pro ranks.
While Porsche wrapped up the Manufacturers’ World Championship last time out in Shanghai, the drivers’ title is still up for grabs, and could still go the way of Audi, should the lead 919 Hybrid falter this weekend.
Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber and Brendon Hartley head in with a 12-point lead over Audi’s Andre Lotterer, Benoit Treluyer and Marcel Fassler, meaning a third place finish or better for the No. 17 Porsche team would give them the title.
Additionally, should the No. 17 car get pole, as it has done so on four occasions this year, the extra point would mean they’d only need to finish fourth in the race, based on a tiebreaker should the No. 7 Audi win.
Bernhard, Webber and Hartley seek their unprecedented fifth straight victory on Saturday.
While Rebellion Racing and drivers Nico Prost and Mathias Beche have already locked up the LMP1 Privateer’s Trophy for teams and drivers, respectively, the fight for LMP2 honors will go down to the wire.
G-Drive Racing and drivers Sam Bird, Roman Rusinov and Julien Canal hold at 16-point lead over KCMG’s Richard Bradley and Matt Howson, meaning a fourth or better for the No. 26 Ligier JS P2 Nissan would give the title to the Russian-backed crew.
That could be easier said that done, however, as the G-Drive squad headed into last year’s season finale in Sao Paulo with a healthy championship lead until brake failure eliminated them from the race, handing the title to SMP Racing.
Richard Lietz and Michael Christensen’s third win in the last four races has propelled Lietz to a nearly unsurmountable 20-point advantage over AF Corse’s Davide Rigon and James Calado, who still search for their first GTE-Pro victory in their Ferrari F458 Italia.
The battle to watch, however, will be in the World Endurance Cup for GT Manufacturers, which sees Ferrari ahead of Porsche by just four points, meaning the much-coveted title could go either way depending on Saturday’s outcome.
SMP Racing, meanwhile, is on the brink of its second consecutive WEC title, but this time in GTE-Am, with Andrea Bertolini, Alexey Basov and Victor Shaytar with a 19-point lead over the No. 83 AF Corse trio, which scored its first class victory of the season in Shanghai.
For both Lietz and the SMP team and drivers, just being classified at the end of the six hours will be enough for both to walk away as World Champions in what’s been a memorable season of racing.
Track action kicks off on Thursday with a pair of Free Practice sessions, followed by a final 60-minute Free Practice and qualifying on Friday.
The FIA WEC Six Hours of Bahrain gets underway Saturday at 3 p.m. local (7 a.m. ET, Live! FOX Sports 1).