It was an untroubled win in Mexico for the #2 Porsche 919 helmed by Timo Berhard, Brendon Hartley and Earl Bamber giving them their third win in this seasons World Endurance Championship. The #1 car of Neel Jani, André Lotterer and Nick Tandy took second place, only faltering later in the race after serving a time penalty for speeding in the pit lane.
The #8 Toyota of Sébastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima took third place struggling to contend with the Porsche sister cars over the weekend, while #7 TS050 HYBRID of José-Maria Lopez, Kamui Kobayashi and Mike Conway came in fourth, though had managed to hold onto a third place until an unscheduled pit stop dropped them behind their sister car.
In LMP2 Vaillante Rebellion took their first win with the #31 car of Julien Canal, Nicolas Prost and Bruno Senna finishing 25 seconds ahead of #36 Signatech Alpine Matmut of Nicolas Lapierre, Gustavo Menezes and André Negrão. With third place on the podium going to #24 CEFC Manor Racing’s Jean-Eric Vergne, Ben Hanley and Matthew Rao.
In LMGTE Pro it was Aston Martin who took the win in the #95 Vantage of Nicki Thiim and Marco Sørensen. Joining them on the podium was Sam Bird and Davide Rigon who despite crossing the line first in their AF Corse Ferrari, incurred a 10 second penalty for speeding while under a full course yellow which then dropped them into second place. The #91 Porsche 911 RSR of Richard Lietz and Frédéric Makowiecki completed the podium.
The LMGTE Pro-Am Class found the Dempsey-Proton racing team of Christian Ried, Matteo Cairoli and Marvin Dienst take P1 just fractions of a second ahead of Aston Martin Racings #98 Vantage driven by Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda. In third place was Benjamin Barker, Nicholas Foster and Michael Wainwright in the Gulf Racing Porsche 911.
The 6Hrs of Mexico race came in the same week that WEC announced a big shake up of the Championship format. Although the calendar is still to be confirmed the changes include a transitional calendar for next year that will see the series run from April 2018 to June 2019 and include two trips to Spa and Le Mans but the loss of the popular Silverstone and Nurburgring rounds as well as COTA and Mexico.
Other changes to be implemented is the inclusion of only one category(LMP1) this follows Porsche’s announcement earlier in the year of its withdrawal from the championship to join the Formula E programme.
Whilst the technical changes are unavoidable due to the withdrawal of manufacturers it remains to be seen if the changes to the WEC calendar will prove popular or not. Despite the series stating the new format will save teams in costs, the format may be disliked by fans who have now lost several popular rounds. Will the changes signal an end to what was the World Endurance Championships?
Allison Remzi Images ©Andy Fitzpatrick ©Allison Remzi