2014 FIA WEC: Austin Six Hours race report
After six hours of intense racing, Porsche Team Manthey narrowly missed out on a second FIA World Endurance Championship victory of 2014, with Patrick Pilet and Frédéric Makowiecki running home just 16 seconds behind the winning Aston Martin at Austin’s Circuit of The Americas.
In front of 50,000 fervent sports car fans, the first FIA WEC race since Le Mans threw up its fair share of drama, with proceedings having to be red flagged after 90 minutes, shortly before the race entered into darkness thanks to torrential rain flooding parts of the circuit and causing cars to spin off in all directions.
Racing resumed nearly an hour later, with Nick Tandy in the no. 91 Porsche 911 RSR (filling in for the injured Richard Lietz) quickly taking to the head of the field in the factory Porsche he shared with Jörg Bergmeister.
With the no. 92 entry of Pilet and Makowiecki following through into second, for much of the race it looked as if Weissach would score a memorable one-two to kick start their title challenge as the FIA WEC headed into a busy second half of the season.
However, with 85 minutes remaining, after sterling performances by both Tandy and Bergmeister, the no. 91 Porsche Team Manthey 911 RSR failed to start following a routine pitstop, dropping two laps off the lead and resuming in fourth.
This left the all-French pairing in the no. 92 sister car out in front as the race headed into its final hour however, the chasing Aston Martin of Darren Turner and Stefan Mucke was closing fast.
The duo battled it out, with the lead changing numerous times around the challenging, undulating COTA track but, unfortunately for Porsche, it was the Aston Martin that came out on top, securing the lead after the during the last round of pitstops half an hour before the chequered flag.
There was another podium for Porsche in the GTE-Am class as the 991 RSR of Proton Competition came home third (again behind the Aston Martin charge), with Christian Ried and Khaled Al Qubaisi once again assisted by Porsche Junior, Klaus Bachler.
The result leaves Porsche just four points behind Ferrari in the battle for manufacturers’ honours, with Makowiecki moving into second position in the drivers’ points standings as the FIA WEC circus gears up for the next round in Fuji on 12 October.