FIA WEC Bahrain 6 Hours Resources
- Official Site
- Race Results
- Race Report
- Talking Points
- Championship Standings
- FIA WEC News
- FIA WEC tRL TV Videos
The LMP2 class offered probably the most exciting show, with two of the cars contending the race victory also fighting for championship win. Rebellion’s car n.31 arrived in Bahrain with a tight advantage in the championship standings on DC Racing car n.38 and could, up to a point, managed the race. But the situation during the race changed many times, with both cars leading in different phases and with both the cars suffering some technical issues toward the end.
This had a direct impact on the pit stop strategy of car n.38, that was apparently not able to fill the tank completely in the last pit stops, this forcing them to progressively shorter stints and to a stop more than the direct competitors.
It must anyway be said that car n.38 also reacted very quickly to an announced FCY phase (because of a cat walking on the side of the track) that was then canceled and never started at all. The car anyway was already in the pit, with an early stop that could also have led to the one more pit stop at the end.
The table above tells us that car n.38 spent about 35 seconds more in the pit lane than car n.31. If we consider that the gap between the two cars at the end of the race was about 10.7 seconds, we have something to think about!
Of course, car n.31 also had problems and could not push too hard at the end of the race because of a powering steering issue, with Bruno Senna offering probably one of the best performance of his life.
It is also worth to mention how car n.36, who finished fourth, used a different strategy, trying to triple stint the tyres on one side of the car, by changing only two of them during one of their early pit stops. This lead them to the shortest time in the pit among the cars we consider, but, as we will see, they also dropped down by several position during the stint immediately after this “ambitious” decision.
We cannot know exactly how much each crew pushed during the race, but the data we collected seemed to show that car n.38 had a small edge in terms of performance, although the difference between them and car n.31 was really small.
Our analysis will include more cars than usual, since I could identify more or less two “performance groups”, a faster one and a slightly slower one.
The following table, relative to the best and average of the best 20, 50, 100 lap times and “all clean” lap times, gives already an idea about each car performance during the race:
Interestingly, the best lap overall has been obtained by car n.37, which was also very close to car n.31 up to the average of the best 20 laps metrics, but fell down on the long distance.
Beside the best lap overall, it is clear anyway that on the long run car n.38 had the best pace, with a gap on car n.31 (the closest contender) reducing a bit as we analyze more and more laps.
It is also worth to notice that car n.13 seemed closer to the sister Rebellion crew than in previous races, above all if we consider the average of the best 100 laps and the “all clean” laps.
Car n.26 was very competitive if we look at the best lap and to the average of the best 20 laps, but falls progressively down on the long distance.
Car n.36, despite its “alternative” strategy, had a good pace and was close to car n.31 in terms of performance up to the average of the best 50 laps metrics, but the gap between the two cars performance increases a bit on the long distance.
The plots relative to the best 20, 50 and 100 lap times of each car help, as usual, to visualize better each crew’s pace relative to the others.
The first plot shows that car n.37 was indeed very fast if we only look at the best 3-4 laps and still pretty competitive if we consider the best 20 laps, but falls significantly down afterward.
Car n.38 is with no doubt the fastest on track, with car n.31 being close if we look at the best laps overall, falling a bit behind between the 5 and the 45-50 mark and then getting again very close on the long distance.
It is interesting to notice how, after the 50 mark, three cars (car n.31, car n.38 and car n.13) had pretty much the same pace, with only a small advantage for car n.38.
Car n.36 is a kind of special case in this race, partly because of the strategy the team adopted: they probably didn’t have the absolute pace of the best cars, as the first plot seems to suggest, but were anyway pretty close. Their line, in the second and third plots, lies pretty much on the car n.38 one between the 25 and 50 mark. After this, there is a significant performance drop and Signatech car finds itself between the bests in class and the “second group”, on the long run performance.
To better understand how the race evolved, let’s take a look at all the lap times of each car comparing them to car n.31 ones.
We start to the main contender, car n.38.
As we have seen, car n.38 was a bit faster than car n.31 and this is confirmed by the above plot. DC Racing’s crew is clearly faster than Rebellion’s one during the third, the fourth and the last two stints. We know anyway that Rebellion performance was compromised in the closing race phases by the power steering issue. We can also identify how the two cars stopped pretty much simultaneously the first three times, but this trend was broken starting with the fourth stop. From that stop on, car n.38 started coming into the pit lane always before and performed always shorter stints. The results was car 38 stopping once more than car n.31: this was probably one of the race’s deciding factors.
The comparison between car n.31 and car n.13 helps to confirm how close the two cars were in terms of pace, differently to what we have seen in other races.
More interesting is the comparison between car n.31 and car n.36, because it helps to highlight the impact of the strategy / tyres change decision that Signatech took, when they let Lapierre to triple stint the tires on one side of the car.
Although we all know the value of Lapierre as a driver, we cannot ignore the dramatic performance drop that the team experienced during the third stint, that also costed them many positions. This is particularly important considering that Signatech’s crew was in many phases as quick as Rebellion car n.31 if not quicker (like during the third, fifth and seventh stints). Of course, this strategy saved them some pit time, but the performance lost was too big to be compensated.
Let’s now break down also LMP2 teams performance, analyzing each track sector times.
Car n.38 was pretty much the fastest in sector 1, but the gap between DC Racing’s crew and Rebellion car n.31 is nearly nonexistent, above all if we consider more laps. The table relative to the best sector 1 time, the average of the best 20, 50 and 100 sector 1 times and of the “all clean” sector 1 times pretty much underlines how close to each others the performances of the two main contenders were.
Beside this, the most interesting note is how close car n.13 was to the the first two classified crews.
Car n.31, car n.13 and car n.38 form the fastest group, while all the other cars are a bit slower and pretty much close to each other.
A look at the plots relative to the best 20, 50 and 100 laps helps to better understand the relative pace of each car compared to the others.
As we may see, car n.38 line is constantly the lowest, if we only exclude the fastest sector 1 times of the race, up to about the 5 mark in the plots above.
Car n.13 and car n.31 are very close to each other, above all past the 19 mark.
Car n.36 is close, but still a small step behind the two Rebellion cars and DC Racing one, while the other three cars are pretty close together and a further step slower.
As we mentioned already during the LMP1 analysis, sector 1 includes the biggest part of the main straight, where top speed plays a very important role and two pretty hard braking zones, leading to two slow corners that are followed by hard accelerations.
To have an indication about the reason why car n.38 is so fast in sector 1 and if there is any difference in the aerodynamic setup each team used, we can take a look to the top speeds data (the speed trap was placed at the end of the main straight).
As we would expect, car n.38 has the highest top speeds and this seems to (at least partially) explain why they were so quick in sector 1. They were probably running a setup with lower downforce/drag than other cars.
It is anyway interesting to notice that car n.31 has constantly lower top speeds than car n.38, still obtaining sector 1 times that are very close to car n.38 ones. It is also worth to notice that car n.13 and car n.31 seem to have similar performances in terms of top speed too.
This is not the case for car n.38 and car n.37, with the latter having significantly lower top speeds.
Car n.36, on the other hand, has slightly higher top speeds than car n.31, but is anyway a bit slower in the first sector, as we saw.
Sector 2 is more twisty and combines low and medium speed corners and a tricky braking point, where the cars brake while cornering.
By looking at the table relative to the best and average of the best times for this sector, we cannot really identify any dominant car, as nearly each metrics has a different crew signing the best result.
It doesn’t comes as a surprise that some of the cars that had a lower top speed are pretty fast in sector 2, above all if we consider only up to the best 50 times: car n.37 signs the best sector 1 time overall and remains on top also if we consider the average of the best 20 times. On the average of the best 50 sector 2 times car n.37 remains on the same performance level of car n.38 and car n.31 but is beaten by car n.36, which was also one of the crews with lower top speeds and was close to car n.37 performance also in the average of the best 50 sector 1 times.
On the long distance, car n.31 and car n.38 return on top, followed closely by car n.13.
The following plots, relative to the best 20, 50 and 100 sector 1 times help us to visualize the situation we have just described.
Car n.37 is the fastest if we only look at the best 17 sector 2 times. Car n.36 took the lead afterward and remains the quickest up to the 44 mark. Past this point, car n.31, car n.13 and car n.38 come back on top and are clearly the fastest cars, all three with very similar sector times.
Sector 3 is again all about car n.38. Jota’s crew pretty much dominates in terms of performance in this track section, only missing the overall best sector time (anyway for less than 6 hundredths of a second) that was taken by the sister car n.37.
The table above gives a first feeling also about how much faster car n.38 was compared to the direct championship competitor, car n.31. In each of the metrics we consider, the gap between the two crews is always slightly bigger than 0.1 seconds.
Car n.37 has the best overall sector 3 time, as we mentioned already, but falls behind on the long distance.
Car n.36 is relatively fast and pretty close to car n.31 performances, at least up to the average of the best 100 sector times.
Since each car sector 3 times are pretty much similar, the plots relative to the best 20, 50 and 100 sector 3 times are a better mean to get a feel of each team’s relative performance.
These plots confirm that car n.38 is the only one really holding a gap on the rest of the crews, with its line lying constantly below all the others.
Car n.31 gets closer only on the very right part of the third plot, so namely if we consider the “slowest of the best 100 sector 3 times”.
The plot also helps, once again, to identify how extreme was car n.37 performance drop.
Interestingly, car n.26 is very close to car n.31 in this sector, if we consider the data relative to their best 45 sector 3 times.
Car n.36 seems to have potential but their performance also experience a significant deterioration past the 51 mark.
Closing, the analysis relative to the LMP2 class seems to show that, looking only at the performance side, race end result could have been more favorable to car n.38. Considering they stopped once more for refueling than the direct competitors, car n.31, we could ask ourselves how the race could have ended if they could run the same strategy.
On the other hand, we don’t have to forget that also car n.31 experienced some problems, above all during the closing phases of the race.
In any case it was an extremely tense battle, something really enjoyable for every fan. Rebellion succeeded in winning the first season of this new LMP2 era, which is even more remarkable if we think that they didn’t run in the (extremely competitive) LMP2 class last year and that they always showed extremely good performance, beside very very consistent race management.