Going into the eighth and final WEC round the Porsche works drivers Timo Bernhard (DE), Brendon Hartley (NZ) and Mark Webber (AUS) have 155 points to their tally and, therefore, a 12 point advantage over the Audi drivers Marcel Fässler (CH), André Lotterer (DE) and Benoît Tréluyer (FR). With a score of 113.5 points and no chance of taking the title, the second Porsche crew of Romain Dumas (FR), Neel Jani (CH) and Marc Lieb (DE) are in third.
The 5.412 kilometre long Formula One track in Sakhir will host the third WEC race of the year to be held partly in the dark – after Le Mans and Austin. The six-hour race will be green flagged at 15:00 hrs local time with the sun setting at 16:46 hrs. The heat and fine sand in the kingdom’s desert create additional challenges.
In 2014 the race in Bahrain was the penultimate round of the championship and it was the first time that both Porsche’s driving crews made it to the podium ceremony. Dumas/Jani/Lieb had started from pole position and finished second. While Bernhard/Hartley/Webber were third in both qualifying and the race.
Since the 919’s debut back in April 2014, it has won six races. Five of the wins were achieved in 2015, four of them were one-two results, and these included the Le Mans 24 Hours. In all seven 2015 rounds to date no car other than a Porsche 919 Hybrid has made it onto the front row of the grid. The prototype is a research laboratory for future sports car technology. It is powered by a downsizing two-litre V4-cylinder turbo charged petrol engine and an electric engine, which is fed by two different energy recovery systems (brake energy from the front axle and exhaust energy). This unique and ground-breaking powertrain produces a system performance of around 1,000 hp.
All titles in the strongly represented and fiercely contested GTE-Pro class will only be decided at the final race of the season on 21 November at the Bahrain International Circuit. After scoring victories at the Nürburgring, in Austin and recently in Shanghai, Porsche now travels to the desert kingdom with excellent championship chances: The Porsche Manthey squad fields two 470 hp 911 RSR in Bahrain and currently leads the team classification. Richard Lietz ranks first in the FIA World Endurance Cup for GT Drivers. In the manufacturers’ classification, Porsche sits second just four points shy of the top spot. In Bahrain, however, manufacturers can still earn a maximum of 44 points.
Fritz Enzinger, Vice President LMP1: “With our early win of the manufacturers’ title, which is, of course, particularly important to Porsche, we have been richly rewarded for our courageous technical design of the 919 Hybrid and for the intensive develop- ment work within the team. Now we’re going for the drivers’ world championship. One should never underestimate the uncertainties of a six-hour race, with heavy traffic and countless lapping manoeuvres. You’re always in thin air at the limit. With the first phase of the race run when the sun is low and then with around two-thirds of the dis- tance in darkness, we are facing additional challenges at Bahrain.”
Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser, Head of Porsche Motorsport: “This finale promises to be extremely exciting. The fact that all titles in the GTE-Pro class will be decided at the last race speaks volumes for the strength and balance of the grid, especially in this category, and it’s a reflection of the competitive spirit shown by the manufacturers, drivers and teams over the entire season. Thanks to our Shanghai win, we have improved our chances of winning the title. In the second half of the season we launched a charge back to the top, and in Bahrain we’ll now do everything we can to bring this endeavour to a successful conclusion and claim all three titles.”
Please find quotes of the drivers in the press release under Downloads.
There are different circuit layouts available in Bahrain, but the WEC runs on the same one as Formula One. One lap is 5.412 kilometres long and has eight right handers and six left handers. The start-finish straight is 1.090 kilometres.
The Bahrain International Circuit opened in 2004 and is located about 30 kilometres outside Bahrain’s capital of Manama.
Over 30 islands in the Persian Gulf belong to the Kingdom. Its size is around 750 square kilometres – half the size of the city of London.
Bahrain has nearly 1.2 million inhabitants.
According to the rules, the Porsche 919 Hybrid can produce and use max 4.92 megajoule electricity per lap in Bahrain. At the same time, its fuel consumption per lap is limited to 1.501 kg. In normal racing mode (without any safety car periods) and given its maximum fuel cell capacity of 67.4 litres, the Porsche 919 Hybrid must refuel every 31 laps at the latest.
Refuelling and changing tyres may only be made sequentially, not at the same time. Only two mechanics may work simultaneously when changing tyres. That takes a lot longer than in Formula One, for example.
Drivers are normally only changed when new tyres are needed.
WEC rules call for averaging the fastest laps of two drivers in qualifying for the grid positions.
The Porsche 919 Hybrid has a power system that produces around 1,000 hp. Over 500 hp comes from the two-litre V4 turbo petrol engine, while the e-machine, fed by the two recovery systems, delivers more than 400 hp.
The Porsche 919 Hybrid accelerates from 0-100 km/h within 2 seconds and takes 4.5 seconds to go from 0-200 km/h.
Four types of Michelin tyres can be used: slick tyres for dry conditions, a hybrid tyre (no profile either but softer cover) for mixed conditions, wets and full wets for heavy or extreme rain. The full wet tyre manages to push up to 120 litres of water per second out of the way.
The Porsche 919 Hybrid was designed and built at the Porsche AG Development Centre in Weissach. A total of 230 team members work there.