The Porsche 919 LMP1 Hybrid was gifted a win at the opening round of the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) season after the actual race winning Audi R18 was excluded in post-race scrutineering due to an excessively worn skidblock.
The skidblock under the front of Audi’s latest WEC challenger was found to be less than 20mm thick, contravening the FIA technical regulations, thereby ruling the car out of the final results. The second-placed Porsche 919 LMP1 of Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb.
Porsche WEC Crash Video
Jani had set the fastest race lap, with a time of 1:40.303: just six-tenths of a second slower than the 919’s fastest time around Silverstone over the course of last weekend, which was set by Brendon Hartley in Free Practice 2. Hartley came a cropper in the race, however, when contact with the Gulf Racing Porsche 911 of Mike Wainwright on lap 71 led to a huge accident for car number 1, which had built up a comfortable lead in the hands of Mark Webber. Both drivers escaped unharmed, but the damage to the 919 won’t be buffing out. Here’s some video:
Hartley’s post-race statement took no prisoners. “I wanted to get past a GT car on the outside, which is quite normal through there, but the driver didn’t see me and used all of the road. I don’t want to blame anyone, it was a shocking moment and a true shame.” The stewards saw the cause of the crash rather differently, laying the blame with Brendon while noting: “you are reminded that LMP1 drivers are liable for the way they overtake slower cars such as LMP2 and especially LM GTE cars.”
Sixth position in GTE-Pro was the best the 911 RSR could manage after problems with a pit stop. The Ferraris of Rigon/Bird and Bruni/Calado came home first and second, followed by Turner/Sörenson/Thiim in the Aston, with a brace of Ford GTs making up the top five. In six hours of racing, the 911 RSR of reigning GT champions, Michael Christensen and Richard Lietz, clocked up 154 laps versus the wining Ferrari’s 167 laps overall: a sizeable gap to the front. We’ll have to see how the season pans out: Porsche is holding station with customer teams only for the old 991 while the new 911 racecar is in development.
The next race on the 2016 WEC Calendar is the 6 hours of Spa Francorchamps on May 7. The 911 should do well if it rains in Belgium.