The final race of the 2017 FIA WEC season drew to a close this evening in Bahrain. A relatively smooth race saw the rest of the silverware awarded and dropped the curtain on a couple of race cars.
The #8 Toyota of Anthony Davidson, Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima run a near faultless race, which ultimately saw them claim the win. The rest of the LMP1 field endured penalties, punctures and other problems, and finished a lap down on the unstoppable #8. The win for Toyota is their 5th of the season, making them the more successful LMP1 team this year.
We were treated to a battle royale in LMP2, as a late strategy call left Bruno Senna on the back foot, but allowed him to keep the lead in the class. With just half an hour to go, the Rebellion team pitted the #31 car, whose power steering had already failed, topped it up with fuel and sent it on its way. Senna, on worn tyres and in a wounded car, managed to fend off a charging Olly Jarvis to take the victory and the LMP2 title.
As ever, we were treated to a banquet of excellent track action from both GTE classes. Mathematically, the GTE Pro title could have gone to several teams, but it was the AF Corse squad that took the win, giving them a drivers’ and teams’ trophy to add to the Ferrari manufacturers’ trophy they won in Shanghai. While the #51 crew of Pier Guidi and Calado took the titles, the team managed to swap their cars around, and it was Sam Bird and Davide Rigon in the #71 who claimed the race win. Sam then jumped on the moment, and proposed to his girlfriend in the pitlane – she said yes by the way!
In this game, you win some, and you lose some, and that was true enough for the Aston Martin Racing Team. They may have been unsuccessful this time out in GTE Pro, but in GTE Am, it was quite the opposite. A stellar performance from Paul Dalla Lana, Mathias Lauda and Pedro Lamy allowed them to take both the race win and the GTE Am drivers’ and teams’ titles. It was a rough day at the office for the Porsches though, with the Dempsey Proton car ended up a lap down thanks to a broken head light. The Gulf Racing team finished several laps down due to a penalty for not qualifying and getting tangled with the #1 Porsche.
The Porsche LMP1 team didn’t quite get the swansong they wanted, but they still leave the WEC as champions. And as for the retiring Aston Martin Vantage, the GTE Am squad made sure she had a proper send-off.