FIA WEC Shanghai 6 Hours Resources
» The extremely high tyre wear provided an extra dimension to the race. Cars in all classes had to double stint rubber, and conserving tyres was key. The extreme degradation created huge rubber build up off the racing line, narrowing the track significantly.
» The TV timing graphics had a small, but significant change for fans. The gaps on the ticker displayed the gaps between cars, rather than the gap to the leader (class, or overall). The change means that the ticker is now more useful, usually giving a time rather than the gap in laps. Good change!
LMP1 – Mistakes were costly
» Toyotas performance advantage over Porsche was sizeable. Despite some early lap dramas, the TS050s were 1-2 only 33 minutes into the race.
» The gap really started to climb after the first set of pit stops. The Toyota appeared to handle the tyre wear better than the Porsche, which magnified the speed advantage
» Unfortunately for Jose Maria Lopez, his mistakes were very public and costly. The #7 was lucky to get away without a penalty after a tangle with the #26 G-Drive LMP2 car. Whilst recovering, the #7 was run off the road by a Ford taking his normal racing line.
» The biggest was yet to come as the #7 made heavy contact with the #91 Porsche. The contact damaged the left rear suspension of the Toyota, ending Toyota’s slim hopes of taking the Manufacturers title. It also ended the #91s chances of a GTE Pro win – the #91 was on the tail of the leading #67 Ford at the time.
» It’s often forgotten that whilst Lopez has bags of experience, none of it is in multi-class racing. The fastest car he’s raced before this was in GP2 over a decade ago. It perhaps would have been wise to develop a driver in LMP2 before LMP1, but that ship has sailed. On the assumption that Toyota remains in WEC, Lopez will enter the season with more experience and be a real force to be reckoned with.
» The LMP1s managed good fuel mileage at Shanghai. We’re used to seeing 45-50 minutes, but the cars managed 55 minutes comfortably.
» Shanghai was the first time we’ve really see the LMP2 top speed become an issue for the LMP1 runners. The long back straight gave the LMP2s a good long run at the hybrids, which were hitting their maximum velocity relatively early on the straight.
» The #1 Porsche suffered the only reliability issue of the day. The throttle was sticking open slightly during corners, forcing some minor offs which looked like driver errors. The car slowed on the back straight and after a reset resumed the at racing speed.
» Clinching both titles gives Porsche a clean sweep of 2017 – Le Mans, Drivers Championship and Manufacturers Championship. This is the third straight sweep for Porsche – winning both championships and Le Mans in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
LMP2 – Drama goes the way of Rebellion
» The LMP2 result swings the title battle towards Rebellion. The #31 now leads the championship for the first time since Spa, and has the momentum going into the final race.
» The #31 victory was helped by another set of super stints from Bruno Senna. The Brazilian pulled a 3 second gap on lap 1, and 40 seconds by the time he handed the car to Canal. The car was again the fastest when Senna got back in the car for the finish.
» It was a similarly successful day for the second Rebellion. The #13 was lucky to get away unpenalised after a first lap incident, but put in a strong race after that. Silver driver, David Heinemeier Hansson drove an incredible two stints, holding off Platinum rated Professional drivers.
» Whilst Rebellion took podiums, it was a bad day for the championship leading Jackie Chan DC Racing team. Both cars were involved in multiple incidents, leaving the cars 4th and 8th in class.
» Gommendy in the #37 had an off track moment trying to pass the #24 Manor around the outside of T1/2. Whilst getting back on track, the #37 made contact with the #24 and spun. 15 minutes later, the #37 was attempting to lap the battling GTE Am Ferraris. The LMP2 car made contact with both Ferraris, sending all 3 off the road.
» A couple of hours later, with David Cheng at the wheel, the #37 collided with the Jean Eric Vergne in the #24 Manor. Both cars spun and continued.
» The Mighty 38 had a not-so-mighty day. After an initial off at the start, the team settled down and set about burning through the silver driver time early in the race. 2 Hours in, the #24 Manor spun out the Jackie Chan car, costing around 5-10 seconds.
» The biggest incident came with the #26 G-Drive car. Ho Pin Tung was attempting to pass Nico Muller down the inside of T1. The cars were overlapped, but not massively and Muller turned in. The cars made contact and left the road. G-Drive suffered a puncture, whilst the #38 got away lucky with no damage. Opinion is divided on who is at fault, but the stewards decided it G-Drive would be punished for the incident and gifted the Russian squad a drive through penalty.
» You probably gathered from above that the #24 Manor also had a rough day. In addition to the previous incidents, the #24 also spun the #97 Aston Martin. Damage sustained to the Manor required a pit stop, and the stewards gave them a 10 second penalty for their troubles. The day was complete when the car stopped in pit lane with 45 minutes to go – suspected to be out of fuel.
» The Russian merry-go-round that is the G-Drive car placed two new drivers alongside Rusinov for Shanghai. ELMS Champion Leo Roussel and DTM star Nico Muller filled the seats.
» Nico Muller was impressive on his LMP2 debut. The car was the fastest in the field during the early race recovery. The late incident with Ho Pin Tung soured a strong debut run.
GTE Pro – Damage control by Ford
» We’ve become used to seeing AF Corse running at the front, with Ford struggling. Shanghai was a reversal in fortunes, with the #67 running strongly, matched only by the Porsches. Ferrari were in damage control mode, whilst Aston Martin had no match for the others.
» The leading #92 Porsche suffered a rare and sudden engine failure. The car failed to accelerate out of the hairpin, and oddly did not pit. The engine then stopped on the pit straight, and the car was rolled up into the gravel. Why the car didn’t pit, and why the driver chose to abandon the car in the gravel is a mystery.
» Ford had another issue with one of the doors. Despite a redesign, the #66 had the driver side door come open, with the driver seemingly unable to close it. Once rectified in the pit stop, the issue did not occur again.
» The #91 was a serious contender for the victory before the incident with the Toyota. The incident caused a puncture and put an end to the #91s chances of victory. Fortunately, pit stops were due and the car had only a third of a lap to get back to the pits. This allowed the #91 to retain second place.
» The Ford lacked the top speed to make effective passes on the Porsches. They were forced to muscle around them, but once around could pull away with ease.
» In an attempt to conserve tyres and make up some ground, Ferrari tried some unusual tyre strategies. At one point only the left sides were changed, and they also tried new fronts combined with scrubbed rears.
» The Auto-BoP system still leaves a lot to be desired. The Aston Martin could in no-way compete with the rest of the field, whilst the Ferrari also struggled.
GTE Am – Completely different to Pro
» Whilst Astons struggled in Pro, they dominated in Am. The #98 looked comfortable at the front and came home over a minute ahead of the second and third placed cars.
» The incident with between the Am Ferraris and the #37 LMP2 car changed the championship dramatically. The #61 Clearwater Ferrari was relegated to fourth, and the #54 Spirit of Race Ferrari retired. This elevated the two Porsches into second and third.