The final round of the 2017 WEC is almost upon us, with the cars and drivers arriving in the sweltering heat of the Persian Gulf.
Although the LMP1 team sealed both driver’s and team titles in Shanghai two weeks ago, a victory here in Bahrain would be the icing on the cake for a remarkable chapter in Porsche’s motorsport history.
This will be the last competitive outing for the Porsche 919 Hybrid, one of our most consistently successful racing cars, with three consecutive manufacturer and driver’s titles in the WEC alongside that famous hat trick of outright wins at Le Mans.
The Six Hours of Bahrain is a day/night race, allowing spectators to see the 919 perform in the scorching sunshine and floodlit darkness, juggling tricky temperature changes and tyre wear on the abrasive, high downforce GP circuit.
Whatever the outcome, it will be a moving end to an incredible era that has pushed boundaries and forged friendships around the world.
New world champion Brendon Hartley summed up the mood in camp: “Going to Bahrain will be emotional for all of us. Especially as we arrive as World Champions with less pressure now. I have so many incredible memories and experiences with the 919 Hybrid, teammates, and all the boys and girls from the Porsche LMP Team. We shared something very special together. After developing the Porsche 919 for more than four years, it's an absolute dream to drive so we will all be enjoying every last lap with this awesome machine. On one side there will be a lot of sadness, but on the other hand we will be giving everything to give this project the ultimate send off it deserves.”
Despite the momentous day in LMP1, many eyes will also be on the fiercely contested GTE-Pro class, where the championship has come down to a three-way fight between Porsche, Ferrari and Ford. Richard Lietz and Frédéric Makowiecki trail the lead Ferrari by just two points in 911 RSR No. 91, with a possible victory for them in the driver’s championship also increasing Porsche’s chances of taking the team title.
Looks like we’re in for a vintage weekend in top tier sports car racing. Your tribe scribes and tribe leader, Mark Webber, will be there so stay tuned for behind-the-scenes peeks and updates as both qualifying and the race unfold.