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2017 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC)

Round 5: 6 Hours of Mexico

Michelin tyres deliver performance and consistency as Porsche claims 1-2 finish in Mexico

The 2017 6 Hours of Mexico saw victory go to Porsche who topped Friday’s free practice session before dominating qualifying on Saturday.

 

Despite the formation of threatening clouds in the closing stages, the race itself took place in clear weather, with track temperatures ranging between 25°C to 32°C. This scenario enabled the teams to maintain a relatively consistent pace throughout, and only two full course yellow periods upset the regularity of the refuelling stops.

 

Yet in the days leading up to Sunday’s race, the conditions had been far more fickle and unpredictable… “We are ready for whatever the weather decides to throw at us,” announced Jérôme Mondain, the manager of Michelin Motorsport’s endurance racing programmes, before the start as forecasters were predicting the arrival of showers for the fifth hour. “Our guys are totally ready to provide Wet, Full Wet or Hybrid tyres should our partner teams choose to fit them.”

 

In the end, the biggest challenge at the 4.43km Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez resulted from the notable reduction in the number of tyres authorised by the 2017 regulations for the LM P1 and LM GTE Pro cars. At the same venue this time last year, the allocation per car was a total of eight sets for qualifying and the race. This time round, that figure was halved to four sets.

 

“Thanks to the work accomplished with our partner teams during the first part of the season, we arrived in Mexico fully prepared and confident, but we still needed to check that our positive feeling was justified,” noted Jérôme Mondain. “In the end, we were very pleased with the lap times which proved consistent from the first to the last stints of the race in both the LM P1 and LM GTE Pro classes. This feedback is very encouraging ahead of the championship’s upcoming trips to Shanghai and Bahrain where we will face the same smaller tyre allocations.”

 

The 6 Hours of Mexico saw Porsche LMP Team run both medium- and hard-compound tyres as a function of the shifting track temperatures, while Toyota Gazoo Racing stayed with the medium compound from start to finish. The Japanese team even completed a triple stint on the same rubber during the early part of the race.

 

Porsche LMP Team went on to secure a one-two finish led by the N°2 919 Hybrid of Bernhard/Bamber/Hartley which completed the distance ahead of the sister prototype of Jani/Lotterer/Tandy (N°1).

 

Toyota Gazoo Racing came third with its N°8 TS050 – Hybrid (Buemi/Davidson/Nakajima). The result takes the German manufacturer further clear at the top of the provisional Manufacturers’ standings, while Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley and Earl Bamber have extended their lead in the Drivers’ points table.

 

The next round of the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) will take teams to Circuit of the Americas (COTA) near Austin, Texas, USA, on September 14-16.