FIA World Endurance Championships (Motorsport - Road Racing)

FIA WEC website:



Latest News & Results


Start-finish win and manufacturers’ title for Porsche 919 Hybrid

Start-finish win and manufacturers’ title for Porsche 919 Hybrid

07/11/2016, International, Motorsport - Road Racing, FIA World Endurance Championships, Article # 20081841

Porsche celebrates its sixth race win this season and the successful defense of the manufacturers’ world championship title in Shanghai. At the penultimate of nine rounds of the FIA World Endurance Championship the race winners were Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley and Mark Webber, who started from pole position and lead the whole 195-lap race.

The trio with the sister Porsche 919 Hybrid, Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb, who are the championship leaders, started from sixth and finished fourth.

Hartley set the fastest race lap with at time of 1.45,935 minutes on the 5.451 kilometre long Shanghai International Circuit. The six-hour race was held in dry conditions and temperatures of around 23 degrees Celsius.

“Brendon was flying today and Timo’s double stint was really nice", said Mark.  "I did a single stint and got some used tyres out of the way before Brendon brought it home. It was an amazing day for Porsche and we are really happy to have contributed to it.”

To read more about Porsche's reaction to defending the manufacturers' world championship, read the press release HERE.

The Porsche 919 Hybrid takes pole position in Shanghai

The Porsche 919 Hybrid takes pole position in Shanghai

06/11/2016, International, Motorsport - Road Racing, FIA World Endurance Championships, Article # 20070405

The reigning world champions, Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley and Mark Webber, took pole position for the eighth and penultimate round of the FIA World Endurance Championship in Shanghai. The current championship leaders, Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb, will start sixth on the grid for the six-hour race on Sunday. Today’s pole is the third one this season for the Porsche 919 Hybrid, the around 900 HP strong hybrid racing car also started from P1 in Spa and in Le Mans. Since its debut in 2014, the 919 now has 15 quickest times in qualifying to its tally, and eight of these were achieved by Bernhard/Hartley/Webber.

In the WEC the average of the two fastest laps of two drivers counts for the qualifying result. In China the qualifying drivers were Hartley/Webber (car number 1, position 1, 1:44.462 minutes) and Jani/Lieb (car number 2, position 6, 1:45.051 minutes). Extra excitement came into play when the lap times of both the drivers who were at the wheel first were deleted. For Brendon Hartley this was because of exceeding track limits in the last corner, for Marc Lieb the reason was slightly exceeding the allowed fuel consumption. Both drivers got another set of fresh tyres for their second attempt.

The six-hour race on the 5.451 kilometre long Chinese Formula One circuit starts on Sunday at 11:00 hrs (04:00 hrs in central Europe). In Shanghai early title decisions are possible. Continuing ‘friendly’ weather conditions promise tough and close racing until the very last minute.

The third free practice session in the morning went smoothly with Porsche’s two Le Mans prototypes coming third (car number 2, 1:44.913 minutes) and fifth (car number 1, 1:45.418 minutes).

“It was a really tight fight for pole position today and it is great we made it," said Mark.  "Brendon did a really good job and our average time in the end is very strong. It seems the Toyota had a little bit of traffic on the last lap, so perhaps we have been a bit fortunate. However, we took a point away from the competition and this helps the sister car in its fight for the drivers’ title.”



24/10/2016, International, Motorsport - Road Racing, FIA World Endurance Championships, Article # 19894800


G-Drive Racing said farewell to their ‘Mighty 38’ Gibson 015S-Nissan chassis in the best possible fashion with victory at Estoril to secure the prestigious European Le Mans Series crown on Sunday (October 23).

The dominant victory was the second of the season for Giedo van der Garde, Simon Dolan and Harry Tincknell and the eighth for the legendary chassis with which the Jota Sport-run team won the 2014 Le Mans 24 Hours, in its 33rd and final appearance. It was also the second victory for G-Drive Racing in seven days after the thrilling win at the 6 Hours of Fuji FIA WEC event.

Starting third, van der Garde signalled his intentions with a superb move around the outside of Fabian Barthez and pole-sitter Nicolas Lapierre at turn one to take the lead. The former Formula One driver was forced to relinquish the lead to Lapierre’s Oreca 05-Nissan on the straight on lap two, but was then able to keep the Frenchman in his sights for the duration of his stint.

After escaping damage in contact with a Ferrari GTE entry, van der Garde took his chance when Lapierre was delayed by an LMP3 car and led the pair into the pits on lap 32.

Dolan, who has been an ever-present in ‘Mighty 38’ since 2012, then climbed aboard for the first of two stints, but emerged behind Dragonspeed’s Henrik Hedman, who had gained track position by electing not to take tyres. However, Dolan was quickly on the tail of the Swede and decisively retook the lead around the outside of turn four on lap 34 before pulling out a healthy gap of over 50 seconds.

Despite the appearance of the Safety Car for one of many incidents involving LMP3 machinery, Dolan was untroubled out in front for the duration of his second stint and handed over to Tincknell a comfortable 47 seconds clear of the chasing pack.

With the Jota Sport-run team’s main championship rivals TDS by Thiriet Racing waylaid by technical problems, Tincknell only had to bring the car home to win the championship. But as the skies darkened, it turned into a race against the elements as much as the competition.

Thankfully, the rain held off until the end as Tincknell led Lapierre across the line by a significant 51.1 seconds after four hours of racing, putting the team’s past Estoril heartbreak to bed in resounding fashion. G-Drive Racing also scooped the 2016 ELMS Teams' title.

Once the well-deserved celebrations have subsided, G-Drive Racing return to action next week in the FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Shanghai, as Roman Rusinov, Will Stevens and Alex Brundle begin their pursuit of two series wins in consecutive races.


Simon Dolan, Partner/Driver JOTA Sport

“I can’t believe it, we hoped we could do it but we just had to run our own race today and hope for the best regarding the title. We drove the wheels off the car, we all did. Everybody performed fantastically, we never put a foot wrong and we got the reward we deserved, especially after the last few years when we were so close to the championship. I am absolutely delighted with this victory and title success.” 

Harry Tincknell
“We’ve been trying to win this race for three years, we’ve been trying to win the championship for three years and each previous year we’ve come close, I think we’ve deserved it, but it didn’t quite come our way before.

“This year we knew we just needed to be a little bit more consistent and make less mistakes. We did it in style by winning the final race and the whole team were magnificent. This is a sweet victory and such a great end to the career of this fantastic car.”

Giedo van der Garde
“I’m so pleased – before we came here I really had the full belief that we could win it and we did it. The guys did a good job, the whole team did a good job. To have my first season in the ELMS and win it straight away, I’m very pleased.”

Sam Hignett, Partner – JOTA Sport

“We have been so close over the last two seasons to winning the ELMS and now we have done it. This achievement is for every member of the team. The way we won it was perfect, leading the majority of the race and having superb pit stops throughout.


“We have had a lot of great days as a team and this one is right up there. This chassis has a remarkable history and for it to win the ELMS title in its final race is very satisfying and entirely worthy of such a wonderful car. I want to express my appreciation and thanks to all our partners, team member and fans for this title win.”

Results and Final Points

LMP2/ Overall Race Result – Estoril

1 Dolan/Tincknell/van der Garde       G-Drive Racing Gibson 015S-Nissan
2 Lapierre/Hedman/Hanley                  Dragonspeed ORECA 05-Nissan
3 Petrov/Wirth/Coletti                           SMP Racing BR01-Nissan
4 Pla/ Jönsson                                     Krohn Racing Ligier JS P2-Nissan
5 Gommendy/Lyons/ Vervisch             Eurasia Motorsport ORECA 05-Nissan
6 P. Lafargue /P. Lafargue /Enjalbert   IDEC Sport Racing Ligier JS P2-Nissan

2016 European Le Mans Series for LMP2 drivers 

1 Tincknell/Dolan/van der Garde     103
2 Thiriet//Beche                                   94
3 Wirth/Coletti                                      83
4 Lapierre/Hedman/Hanley                  76
5 Hirakawa                                           68
6 Leal                                                   60

European Le Mans Series LMP2 Teams’ Championship

1 G-Drive Racing                               103
2 Thiriet by TDS Racing                       94
3 SMP Racing                                       83
4 Dragonspeed                                     76
5 Eurasia Motorsport                            50
6 Krohn Racing                                     39


Click here for his-res imagery

Please credit Jakob Ebrey Photography for image use.



17/10/2016, International, Motorsport - Road Racing, FIA World Endurance Championships, Article # 19800014


G-Drive Racing claimed a dramatic first win of the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship season in a nail-biting Six Hours of Fuji on Sunday (October 16).

A gutsy move for the lead by Will Stevens with just five minutes of the race remaining secured victory for himself and co-drivers Roman Rusinov and Alex Brundle in their #26 G-Drive Racing Oreca 05-Nissan at Fuji Speedway in Japan.

Stevens returned to the G-Drive Racing squad for the first time since finishing second at June’s Le Mans 24 Hours, combining with Roman Rusinov to secure pole position in the LMP2 category on Saturday – the fifth for the team from seven races this year.

He then built a 10-second lead during his opening stint; an advantage that was increased to over half a minute by Rusniov and Brundle. But as the various strategies played out, Stevens found himself right behind Bruno Senna’s #43 car with half an hour remaining and darkness descending.

Stevens closed in on his rival and brilliantly retook the lead with 25 minutes remaining, resisting an aggressive effort by his rival to push him towards the pit wall. Despite the circumstances, Stevens was instructed to reverse the positions shortly afterwards by Race Control.

After biding his time for a few laps, Stevens attacked again made an equally gutsy move around the outside of Senna on the run to Turn One with just five minutes left to secure a dramatic and richly merited victory.

The win was the first in the FIA WEC for JOTA Sport – who run the G-Drive Racing machine operationally – and helped them maintain third place in the teams’ championship.

Rusinov holds third place in the drivers’ standings while Stevens and Brundle climbed to sixth and 11th places respectively, despite both having only sporadically in the WEC in 2016.

Two rounds of the WEC remain with the next, the Six Hours of Shanghai, taking place on6 November in China.

Fuji was Jota Sport’s fourth WEC win as they enjoyed victories at Spa in 2012 and 2014 as well as Le Mans the same year.

G-Drive Racing, however, will be back in action next weekend (23 October) as they take their Gibson 015S-Nissan to Estoril, Portugal, for the final round of the European Le Mans Series, at which Simon Dolan, Harry Tincknell and Giedo van der Garde aim to become champions.


Roman Rusinov
"Pole position was great and we were really happy with this. Will did an incredible job in qualifying. He was on a different planet.

“We did some good overtakes and even the one we got penalised for we have to respect the stewards decision I guess. But it didn’t matter too much in the end. We had strong opposition but we came through and we will really appreciate this victory because we fought for it.”
Will Stevens

“The original move (on Senna) was exciting from the car so I hope it was as exciting from the outside too. The last stint was tough with traffic and we knew it would be extremely close with Bruno coming out of the pits

“If there is a gap I will always go for it. I would have appreciated a tiny bit more room! I don’t know how far away I was but for sure I was as close as I would want to ever get.

“Overall I am really happy for the team. They should have won a lot of races this year, so I feel honoured that the win has come when I am here. Big thanks to G-Drive Racing as they did a very good job all weekend.”

Alex Brundle
“There was a little bit of a gap for me to chase to the Alpine because we were on different synchs strategy wise but we knew it would be crucial to get ahead of them for the final stint which we did.

“Will did a fantastic job in the final stint and hold the lead from Senna at the end. This was a great team victory and I am so happy for them as they have been denied cruelly a few times this year. It is so well deserved.”

David Clark - JOTA Sport Director 
“It was a very accomplished performance from the team and the drivers this weekend. From start to finish they operated marvellously and the success was hard-fought and really deserved.

“If anyone is any doubt about how exciting endurance racing can be then they need to watch this race. The tension in the final thirty minutes was extraordinary. We came out on top and it is a real testament to the hard work and skill of all our team members.”

Gary Holland - Team Manager
“We were confident coming in to the race because we proved to be quick from the very start. Will brought a different dynamic to the team this weekend and it all worked quite seamlessly for us which was nice.

“All the drivers were all really ‘on it’ this weekend and did great jobs. I think it would be amiss also not to praise Rene (Rast) who could not be with us this weekend. He has brought so much to the set-up and overall performance of the car this season.”

Results and LMP2 Points

Race Result & Points
LMP2 Race Result – Fuji International Speedway
1 Rusinov/Stevens/Brundle                G-Drive Racing ORECA 05-Nissan
2 Senna/Albuquerque/Gonzalez       RGR Sport Ligier JS P2-Nissan
3 Lapierre/Menezes/Richelmi              Signatech Alpine A460-Nissan
4 Giovinazzi/Gelael/van der Garde      ESM Ligier JS P2-Nissan
5 Derani/Dalziel/Cumming                  ESM Ligier JS P2-Nissan
6 Kane/Williamson                           Strakka Racing Gibson 015S-Nissan
2016 FIA Endurance Trophy for LMP2 Teams – After seven rounds
1 Signatech Alpine                                          171        
2 RGR Sport by Morand                                 136
3 G-Drive Racing                                           114
4 Extreme Speed Motorsports                          94
5 SMP Racing                                                   59
6 Strakka Racing                                               66
2016 FIA Endurance Trophy for LMP2 Drivers – After seven rounds
1 Menezes/Lapierre/Richelmi                    171
2 Senna/Albuquerque/Gonzalez                133
3 Rusinov                                                  112
4 Cumming/Derani/Dalziel                           94
5 Rast                                                          86
6 Stevens                                                    67
11 Brundle                                                  48


Click here for his-res imagery
Porsche 919 Hybrid extends manufacturers’ championship lead in Japan

Porsche 919 Hybrid extends manufacturers’ championship lead in Japan

17/10/2016, International, Motorsport - Road Racing, FIA World Endurance Championships, Article # 19799951

Porsche came third and fifth with its two 919 Hybrids in a thrilling six-hour race at the Fuji International Speedway. Porsche thus defended its lead in both, the manufacturers’ and drivers’ classifications, at the seventh out of nine rounds of the FIA World Endurance Championship. Toyota achieved a victory on home soil. After 244 laps all three manufacturers engaged in the top category LMP1 were within 18 seconds.

For quite a while Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley and Mark Webber had chances to win the race; in the end they finished third. The reigning world champions had started from second place on the grid. This year’s Le Mans winners and current championship leaders, Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb, had started from sixth position. They were unhappy with the car’s balance for some of the time and came fifth. Because their closest rivals in the drivers’ championship took more points than them, their advantage has shrunk to 23 points.

In the manufacturers’ standings, Porsche (263 points) has increased its lead over Audi (204). Toyota follows with 174 points and there are two more six-hour races to come. 

The race at the foot of Mount Fuji was held in constantly dry conditions at ambient temperatures of around 20 degrees Celsius.

“The start and first lap of the race was pretty clean racing for everyone,” said Mark. “Then we settled into the grove. The Audi and Toyota were faster than us in the beginning but we stayed in the game and improved when the track temperatures came down a bit. On my second stint I got some time back on the Toyota and to the Audi who apparently had a problem at the pit stop. The race was coming to us a little bit to us. For a very long time the three cars at the front could equally have won the race. Congratulations to Audi.”

Timo, Brendon and Mark qualify on front row in Fuji

Timo, Brendon and Mark qualify on front row in Fuji

16/10/2016, International, Motorsport - Road Racing, FIA World Endurance Championships, Article # 19776540

The two Porsche 919 Hybrids will start from positions two and six on the grid for the seventh round of the FIA World Endurance Championship at the Fuji International Speedway in Japan. The reigning world champions, Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley and Mark Webber, have qualified on the front row. The current championship leaders, Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb, will start the six-hour race on Sunday from sixth on the grid. Pole position went to their rivals from Audi: The car number 8 crew was 0.025 seconds faster than the best Porsche. This translates into a distance of less than 1.4 metres.

For Porsche, this year’s mission hots up with the race at the 4.549 kilometre Formula One circuit at the foot of Mount Fuji. Porsche’s target is to defend both titles, for manufacturers as well as for drivers. Mathematically, but only if there were extraordinary circumstances, an early outcome in Japan is possible. The race starts on Sunday at 11:00 hrs (04:00 hrs in central Europe).

In the WEC the average of the respective best laps of two drivers counts for the grid position. Bernhard/Webber (car number 1, position 2, 1:23.595 minutes) and Jani/Lieb (car number 2, position 6, 1:24.134 minutes) were the qualifying drivers in Japan.

In the morning’s third free practice session the two 919 Hybrids came third (car number 2, 1:24.558 Minutes) and sixth (car number 1, 1:25.623 Minutes).

“It was a really good fight for pole today,” said Mark. “It wasn’t quite enough for us, but Timo and I we were both happy with our best laps and we are in good shape for the race.”

Webber confirms retirement from motorsport to take on new role with Porsche

Webber confirms retirement from motorsport to take on new role with Porsche

14/10/2016, International, Motorsport - Road Racing, FIA World Endurance Championships, Article # 19763273

The six-hour race at FIA WEC World Endurance Championship in Bahrain onNovember 19 will be the last time the reigning World Champion from Australia will compete as a works driver. Afterwards new tasks await the nine times Formula One Grands Prix winner: 40-year old Mark Webber will represent Porsche at global events and as a consultant will contribute by lending his experience to the motorsport programmes of the sports car manufacturer from Stuttgart. This includes talent research as well as driver training for up and coming professionals and the huge number of worldwide Porsche amateur racers. Alongside rally legend Walter Röhrl (69) Webber is now the make’s second representative. Both are distinguished by a successful racing career as well as by a huge affinity to Porsche.

“Mark Webber stands for everything what Porsche implies: sportsmanship, power of endurance, straightforwardness and focused work for success. He is full of beans and always a thoughtful listener. I want to thank Mark for his great performance in the World Endurance Championship and am pleased he will remain tightly connected to Porsche in the future”, says Oliver Blume, Chairman of the Executive Board of Dr. Ing h.c. F. Porsche AG.

Fritz Enzinger, Vice President LMP1, is sorry to see the driver retire from the cockpit. “Already in the important period of building up the programme, Mark has strengthened us with all his experience and he seamlessly integrated himself into the team. Behind the wheel he is a fair fighter, never shy of even the toughest wheel-to-wheel battle. At the same time, he thinks strategically and is team orientated. This mixture makes him invaluable as an endurance racer. Winning the 2015 drivers’ world championship together with Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley almost seemed to be a logical consequence. Also thanks to his performance, we hope to win the world championship titles for manufacturers and drivers again in 2016.” Currently the Porsche Team ranks first in both classifications. In the manufacturers’ world championship Porsche leads with 238 points ahead of Audi (185) and Toyota (137). Romain Dumas/Neel Jani/Marc Lieb have a 37.5 lead ahead of the best placed Audi trio. There are still three races remaining.

„I have arrived where I belong“, says Mark Webber. “Porsche is the brand I always loved most and the one that suits me the best. The 911 is iconic – it has got elegance, performance and understatement, and is never intrusive. It is just the right car for every scenario.” He continues: “I will miss the sheer speed, downforce and competition, but I want to leave on a high and I’m very much looking forward to my new tasks.”

Mark Webber has no need to quit his professional racing career. His lap times still top the time-sheets, he remains fit, his experience is priceless and his relationship with his teammates has bonded into lasting friendships. Webber always knew what he wanted after his successful Formula One career. “It was a big change from Formula One to LMP1 and an entirely new experience. But it came at the right time for me. I found I liked sharing a car and the chemistry between Timo, Brendon and me is special and something I’ll always remember. It will be strange getting into the race car for the very last time in Bahrain but for now I will thoroughly enjoy every moment of the remaining races.”

Aussie Grit: the Mark Webber story

Since 1991 everything in Mark Webber’s life has been dedicated to racing. Karting, Formula Ford, Formula 3, Formula 3000, 215 Formula One Grands Prix including nine victories and 42 podiums in what is the pinnacle of motor racing. In 2013 he found his home at Porsche. As early as in 2015 he became FIA World Endurance Champion, a title he was fighting hard for, together with Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley in their 919 Hybrid Le Mans Prototype. 2016 though marks a year of changes in the life of the popular Australian. Early this summer he married his long-time partner Ann, on August 27 he turned 40 and at the end of the 2016 season he will give up with professional racing to take on his new role as Porsche’s special representative and consultant.

Webber is a straightforward man and he’s honest with himself. In his book Aussie Grit: My Formula One Journey, published in 2015, he gives a deeper insight into his career. He left his home in Queanbeyan in New South Wales, Australia, at the age of 19 with a clear goal – to further his career as a racing driver in England. He was one of many, and one of those without a sponsor, but he had natural talent. He won the prestigious Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch, contested Formula 3 and Formula 3000. He was invited to join the sports car programme at Mercedes. The 24-hour Le Mans race was set to be the highlight of the 1999 season. The car and the team were considered favourites. But the car’s aerodynamics were on a knife-edge. Webber’s car launched into a backflip in the qualifying session and again in the warm-up. He survived two dramatic crashes unharmed, but his career seemed to have run out of steam. The page turned, however, with a successful Formula One test drive for the Benetton team, which secured him a test and reserve driver position in 2001.

The biggest triumph: The finale in Bahrain

Webber's Formula One debut was memorable: he finished fifth in 2002 at his home Grand Prix in Melbourne – with an inferior Minardi. In 2005 he scored his first podium with the former BMW WilliamsF1 team. He celebrated his first F1 win at the 2009 German Grand Prix with Red Bull Racing in his 131st Grand Prix. In 2010 and 2012 he won the Monaco Grand Prix. After 15 years, it was an older and more mature Webber who returned to La Sarthe in 2014. His incident-packed experience from 1999 seemed far away, but the much wanted victory has continued to evade him: In 2014, as he was driving in second place with only two hours to go when a bang from the powertrain shattered the dream. In 2015, the 919 that he again shared with Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley was running in the lead during the first third of the race, only to have a time penalty to relegate them down the field. The trio launched a charge through the field to claim second place. In 2016 it was a damaged water pump that prevented him and his teammates from winning Le Mans.

The biggest triumph was achieved at a nerve-wracking finale in November 2015 in Bahrain: both throttle barrel levers were broken and had to be locked at full throttle. The 919 was only able to finish the race thanks to outstanding engineering performance in the background and a driver sensitivity that looked superhuman. The title was at stake. “To have scored my first World Championship title with Timo and Brendon with Porsche means a great deal to me,” says Webber who never talks about this feat without mentioning his teammates.

First Porsche was a Turbo model

His affinity to Porsche, however, is nothing new. As a teenager he drove a 911, borrowed from a friend, and when he bought his own first Porsche he went straight for a Turbo model. Today the collection includes a 918 Spyder, a 911 R, a GT3 RS (991), a 911 GT2 RS (997), a 911 GT3 RS 4.0, a 1954 356 Cabriolet and a 1974 2.7 Carrera.

For immediate release
October 13, 2016

Following this afternoon’s announcement by Porsche that Mark Webber will assume a new role as special representative for the German automotive manufacturer as he signs off on a long and successful career behind the wheel, the 40-year old Australian has confirmed his intentions and future plans.

“Of course hanging up my professional racing helmet is a very big decision but I’ve been extremely fortunate to receive great counsel from two of the legends of our sport, Sir Jackie Stewart and Niki Lauda, about the timings of such a decision,” said Webber as he prepares for this weekend’s Fuji round of the WEC.

“The timing is right for me – you certainly view things a bit differently when you get a bit older and your priorities in life change. As with my F1 career, it’s nice to making the decision on my own terms.

Webber added, “I’ve really, really enjoyed my time in the cockpit with Porsche and could never have envisaged having such a dynamic relationship with my two team-mates in the #1 919, Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley. It’s been a sensational three years and off the back of three consecutive wins, I’m hoping we can continue our good form and finish this year strongly.

“It’s an absolute honour for me to remain with Porsche and whether it’s at the track or away from it, I’m looking forward to putting my 26 years’ experience as a competitor to good use in my new role within the company.

“In addition to Porsche, I’m incredibly fortunate to be walking into some new and exciting opportunities with Red Bull (who I will have been with for 10 years next year), Channel 4 in the UK, and Network Ten and Michelin in Australia. As for Aussie Grit himself, I’m working on a couple of new ventures too, so watch this space!”

Mark's Fuji Memories

Mark's Fuji Memories

11/10/2016, International, Motorsport - Road Racing, FIA World Endurance Championships, Article # 19723059

Of all the venues I’ve been to in the past 20 or so years of racing, Japan has always been a special place to go to. The whole country is crazy for motor sport and embrace us drivers regardless of which team we’re driving for or which country we’re from. The Japanese love Super GT, motor bike races, F1 and endurance racing.

Growing up in Australia I remember watching the Suzuka 8 Hours motorcycle race on TV, as a lot of Australians rode in that race and it was an easy one to follow due to the time difference.

The track in Fuji has a long sportscar racing history with the first races taking place in the 1960s and they hosted the World Sportscar Championship in the early 1980s and have since hosted Super GT races and other categories such as F1 in 2007 and 2008.

I enjoy racing at the Fuji track, it’s a challenging circuit with the traditional long straight. I like the start of the second sector, with a left and then long double right before the hairpin at the back and then into a high speed passage. The last sector is quite a challenge too, it’s tight and twisty, which I actually really like and it suits our 919 very well with the four-wheel drive.

The setting with Mount Fuji in the backdrop is quite spectacular and we always receive a warm welcome from the Japanese fans who know and love their motorsport.

The competition in the last few races has been pretty close and that will be no different in the remaining rounds. There are so many things you have to get right as a team, whether it’s the weather or tyre strategy - you have to be on top of your game. Off the back of the last few races we want to keep the run going with car number 1 and get another nice results in Japan.



28/09/2016, International, Motorsport - Road Racing, FIA World Endurance Championships, Article # 19561425


G-Drive Racing kept their European Le Mans Series title hopes alive with a fifth place finish at Spa-Francorchamps on Sunday (September 25).

Giedo van der Garde, Simon Dolan and Harry Tincknell had led the four-hour race until the final 90 minutes, but two Safety Cars in quick succession during the middle stint disrupted their strategy and cost the #38 Gibson 015S-Nissan a chance of repeating their famous success at Spa in the FIA World Endurance Championship last year.

After Tincknell qualified the car third, Van der Garde moved up one position at the start and consolidated his position before making an early stop for fuel under a Full Course Yellow (FCY). The time saved in the pits ensured the Dutchman moved into the lead by the end of his stint, before Dolan took over in second position.

After a few laps to get up to speed on his new tyres, the Briton shrugged off the challenge of Andreas Wirth’s SMP Racing BR01-Nissan and quickly set about catching the race leader when the first of two Safety Cars appeared to repair barrier damage on lap 37. Having only recently pitted, Dolan stayed out and duly took the lead when the four-hour event restarted. 

The race had only been green for a further twelve minutes when the Safety Car reappeared with just over two hours remaining. Dolan was unable to come to the pits in time, so G-Drive decided to stay out and delay their third stop until shortly before the return to green, thereby stretching their fuel window. 

Unfortunately the Safety Car was withdrawn earlier than expected, which required Dolan and several other like-minded rivals to pit under green, costing them valuable time to the cars which had already pitted.

Having decided not to change tyres in a bid to protect track position, Dolan put up a strong fight against the professional drivers around him who were on much fresher rubber, but pitted in eighth place as he handed over to Tincknell on lap 65. 

With a fresh set of Dunlop tyres underneath him, Tincknell was now the fastest man on track and had risen to fifth spot before making his final stop with twenty minutes to go. The 24-year-old re-joined sixth, but gained a further position in the dying minutes after Andrea Pizzitola’s Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JS P2-Nissan lodged itself in the gravel, which caused the race to end under Full Course Yellow.

Although the overriding emotion was disappointment due to the poorly timed Safety Cars, G-Drive Racing are still in the hunt for the championship with only one round to go at Estoril in Portugal on 23 October, where they will push hard to overturn a 13-point deficit to championship leaders TDS by Thiriet Racing.


Giedo van der Garde

“My opening stint was good and the car felt nice to drive and we were in a comfortable second place. We made the call to come in early on the first Safety Car and it put us out of synch with most of the field and when the other Safety Cars came it hurt us unfortunately.

“We head to the last round at Estoril which is a circuit I really enjoy. Lets us see what happens there. 13 points is a lot but we just have to do our best and try and win it. The rest will take care of itself. We need some luck but we also need to make sure we are in the best position to capitalise on any misfortune for the TDS team.”

Harry Tincknell
“We had great pace for qualifying even though we are aware of the straight-line speed deficit to the newer cars. Third place was a good team effort and a place where we could build a fine race.

Giedo and Simon drove really well in their stints. We strategy call with the early stop didn’t quite go our way and when I got in the car there was some damage to the front splitter which limited my pace but I still managed to get passed Coletti for third place.

“It is disappointing to finish 5th as I think we could have at last challenged for the win but we have nothing to lose at Estoril.”

Simon Dolan, Partner/Driver JOTA Sport
"In hindsight it was unfortunate that we came in for the early stop as it hurt us later when the other Safety Car period came. It is unusual to have so much SC time in a race at Spa.

“It is doubly frustrating when we knew that we could have fought for the win. The car was well suited to sector two in particular and we were quick throughout the stints. The result leaves us with a lot to in Portugal and we have to count on some bad luck for the TDS guys. But together we will be battling all the way so we can give this great car a send-off it deserves.”

Gary Holland - Team Manager
In the race our strategy was compromised by the length of the second safety car. We had to have a 'splash and dash' at some point during the race and the first safety car was a very good opportunity to get this done but it didn’t work out as we wished.

“We think that at least P2 was possible last weekend as the pace in the car and our tyre management was very good. All three drivers drove very strong races; especially Simon battling with Beche (TDS) whilst on much older tyres. 

“We now need to analyse our race in detail to learn lessons before Estoril next month but we will keep fighting to the last corner.”

Result & Points

LMP2/Overall Race Result – Spa-Francorchamps

1 Lapierre/Hedman/Hanley                  Dragonspeed ORECA 05-Nissan
2 Stevens/ D Vanthoor/ L Vanthoor     Team WRT Ligier-Judd
3 Thiriet/Beche/Hirakawa                     Thiriet by TDS ORECA 05-Nissan
4 Rojas/Canal/Berthon                         Greaves Motorsport Ligier-Nissan
5 Dolan/Tincknell/van der Garde       G-Drive Racing Gibson 015S-Nissan
6 Leal/Wirth/Coletti                              SMP Racing BR01-Nissan

2016 European Le Mans Series for LMP2 drivers
1 Thiriet//Beche                                   91
2 Tincknell/Dolan/Van der Garde     78
3 Wirth/Coletti                                      69
4 Hirakawa                                           65
5 Leal                                                    61
6 Lapierre/Hedman/Hanley                  57
European Le Mans Series LMP2 Teams’ Championship

1 Thiriet by TDS Racing                      91
2 G-Drive Racing                               78
3 SMP Racing                                      68
4 Dragonspeed                                    57
5 Eurasia Motorsport                           40
6 Greaves Motorsport                          36