2015 FIA WEC: Six Hours of Shanghai preview

This weekend, the FIA World Endurance Championship returns for the penultimate round of 2015, heading to the Shanghai International Circuit in China for the sixth six-hour race of the year.

Since their victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Porsche hasn’t stopped winning in the FIA WEC, with the no. 17 919 Hybrid of Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard triumphing in the last three races at Nürburgring, COTA and Fuji.

Weissach’s success means that they head to China with a 53-point advantage over Audi in the manufacturers’ standings, giving Porsche a mathematical chance of wrapping up their first world championship since 1986 this weekend.

Porsche 919 Hybrid, Porsche Team: Romain Dumas, Neel Jani, Marc Lieb
Porsche 919 Hybrid, Porsche Team: Romain Dumas, Neel Jani, Marc Lieb

Last time out it was actually the no. 18 car that dominated however, team orders gifted Webber, Bernhard and Hartley the victory at Fuji on the last lap, moving them into the joint lead of the drivers’ championship.

Porsche’s second visit to China has got off to a solid start with Webber setting the fastest lap in the second free practice session this morning, 0.240 seconds faster than the no. 18 car.

In FP1, the two Porsche 919 Hybrid found themselves behind both Audi R18 e-tron quattros. However, Technical Director, Alexander Hitzinger was unperturbed: Our first day here went according to plan. Everything went smoothly and the long-runs were good.”

Porsche Team Manthey:  Richard Lietz

In the GTE-Pro class, Porsche Team Manthey heads to Shanghai with Richard Lietz leading the World Endurance Cup for GT drivers, seven points ahead of Ferrari duo, Davide Rigon and James Calado, despite only managing a fourth place finish at Fuji alongside Michael Christensen in the no. 91 Porsche 911 RSR.

Last season, the Chinese round of the FIA WEC brought plenty of success for the factory Porsche 911s as Patrick Pilet and Frédéric Makowiecki (this year teamed together in the no. 92 entry) took victory.

Lietz was able to finish second last year, giving the Austrian hope for another strong result this weekend as he goes in search of his first World Championship title.

Qualifying takes place tomorrow from 1:30pm local time, with the race getting underway on Sunday at 11:00am. For all the latest Porsche race news, check out our dedicated motorsport section now.

Porsche 911 RSR (91), Porsche Team Manthey:  Richard Lietz, Michael Christensen

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