The 2016 6 Hours of Shanghai saw the N°1 Porsche/Michelin (Bernhard/Webber/Hartley) take the spoils ahead of the N°6 and N°5 Michelin-equipped Toyota TS050 Hybrids of Sarrazin/Conway/Kobayashi and Davidson/Buemi/Nakajima respectively. Porsche Team won the Team’s crown for the second season running. The Drivers’ title will be settled in Bahrain.
With the exception of Turn 1, where Brendon Hartley was momentarily passed by Sébastien Buemi, the N°1 Porsche 919 Hybrid/Michelin dominated in China to collect its fourth win of 2016. The result took the German make’s score to six victories so far to clinch the Teams’ endurance world title.
Toyota Gazoo Racing put its two cars onto the podium to prolong the Drivers’ crown suspense until the finale in Bahrain. Indeed, the battle between the N°2 Porsche of provisional championship leaders Dumas/Jani/Lieb (4th) and the Japanese prototypes was a highlight of the afternoon. Toyota eventually stole the advantage by keeping both its machines on the same tyres after their final refuelling stops.
Audi Sport Team Joest, which will curtail its FIA WEC activities at the end of the year, had a troubled time in China. Its two R18s ended up fifth (N°8) and sixth (N°7) after a mid-race collision. It was the first time since the season’s curtain-raiser at Silverstone that neither machine finished has inside the top three.
In LM P2, fourth place for the N°36 Signatech-Alpine (Lapierre/Menezes/Richelmi) sufficed to sew up the class’s Teams’ and Drivers’ endurance trophies. The day’s winner was the N°26 Oreca05-Nissan (G-Drive, Steven/Rusinov/Brundle), ahead of the N°30 and N°43 Ligier-Nissans.
There was another Ford/Michelin one-two in LM GTE Pro with the N°67 (Priaulx/Tincknell) and N°66 (Mücke/Pla) cars after their domination of qualifying. Third was the N°51 Ferrari 488 GTE/Michelin which increased the Italian make’s lead over Aston Martin in the GT Manufacturers’ championship.
The N°98 Aston Martin Vantage/Michelin (Lamy/Dalla Lana/Lauda) picked up its fifth LM GTE Am victory of the year (its third in a row). Despite tangling on the last lap, the N°78 Porsche/Michelin (KCMG) and N°83 Ferrari/Michelin (AF Corse) joined in the podium celebrations. The LM GTE Am titles will be decided in Bahrain.