The World Endurance Championship (WEC) has been dominated by Audi ever since it came about three years ago. For the first time in the short history of the championship, they look to be overthrown by their rivals. Toyota, who have dominated much of the season can take both the Drivers’ and Manufacturers’ Championships in LMP1 this weekend at the Six Hours of Bahrain, and there are further battles throughout the whole field.
There have been some incredible battles up and down the field this year in the World Endurance Championship. With almost every championship still up for grabs, the final two rounds, especially the finale at Brazil should be very exciting for everybody tuning in. With Mark Webber making the jump this year back to sportscars the popularity in the sport has sharply risen, and could well increase further as Jenson Button is linked with both Toyota and Nissan, the latter joining the series next year.
Here is a look at the championship situation in each class with just two rounds to go:
LMP1: Number 8 Toyota in Pole Position
Only the No. 2 Audi of André Lotterer, Benoît Tréluyer and Marcel Fässler can prevent Antony Davidson and Sébastien Buemi from becoming champion. With a 42-point lead, the Toyota duo only need to finish in the top six to secure the championship, regardless of what the Audi trio can manage. With only six hybrid LMP1 cars, that basically means that the Toyota simply needs to have a trouble-free race. The TS040 Hybrid which boasts 1000PS (986BHP) has taken four wins from six races this season and has clearly been the class of the field. Only the R18 e-tron quattro in the hands of the No. 2 crew can boast race victories this year, most notably at Le Mans.
In the Privateers’ Drivers’ trophy, the No. 12 Rebellion Racing team of Mathias Beche, Nicolas Prost and Nick Heidfeld has already dominated the season with five wins and a second.
In the Manufacturers’ Championship, should Toyota score 15 more points than Audi, they shall clinch that championship as well. A 1-2 finish would guarantee that, something which is not out of the realms of possibility given the pace advantage on long runs.
LMP2: SMP and G-Drive do Battle
G-Drive Racing in their Ligier JS P2 and SMP Racing in their Oreca 03R are doing battle for both the P2 Drivers’ and Teams’ championship. G-Drive are playing catch up after a costly retirement at Le Mans leaves them eight points behind SMP’s Sergey Zlobin. Zlobin’s team mates changed for Le Mans so they are out of the hunt. That should take nothing away from the Russian however, as he has finished in the top four in class at each race this year, despite not looking as if he is in the best machinery. It is the exact same situation in the Teams’ Championship.
LMGTE: Ferrari & Aston Martin Likely to take Honours, Porsche Might Miss out
Reigning GTE champion Gianmaria Bruni and team mate Toni Vilander have a healthy 25.5 point lead over Frédéric Makowiecki in the Porsche. So should they finish ahead of his car then they will be champion. In the AM class the all-Danish line-up of Kristian Poulsen and David Hansson are 31 points ahead of team mates Pedro Lamy, Paul Dalla Lana and Nicki Thiim, and it is certain that at least one of those will be champion in that class. In the Manufacturers’ Cup, Ferrari are just seven points ahead of Porsche, so it is all to play for there. Aston Martin are effectively out of it, 52 points adrift. In the Teams’ Trophy for the Pro class, the No. 51 AF Corse crew is 11 points ahead of the No. 92 Porsche Team Manthey crew. The No. 91 Porsche is a further 18 points adrift and is yet to win this season. The AM Trophy is an identical situation to the Drivers’ Championship.
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