WEC - 2016 Title Battles Set for Shanghai Showdown | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile
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WEC - 2016 Title Battles Set for Shanghai Showdown


WEC - 2016 6 Hours of Shanghai - Entry List

FIA, Motorsport, Mobility, Road Safety, F1, WRC, WEC, WTCC, World RX

The imposing Shanghai International Circuit is the venue for the eighth round of the FIA World Endurance Championship season, the 6 Hours of Shanghai, and the scene is set for a titanic battle to see who will become the 2016 champions.

The focus of the weekend in China will be the FIA World Endurance Manufacturers Championship with Porsche going into the final two races of the 2016 season as favourites to retain their world title.  Audi, who yesterday announced their withdrawal from the WEC at the end of the 2016 season, and Toyota will both be working hard to secure the top step of the podium to boost their drivers’ title hopes, and expect another edge-of-the-seat race between the leading contenders in LMP2 and the LMGTE categories. 

The FIA Endurance Cup for GT Manufacturers couldn’t be closer, with only three points between Ferrari and Aston Martin and that particular battle will go down to the wire in Bahrain.

A large and high quality grid will once again form the 6 Hours of Shanghai on Sunday 6 November.  The 5.451 km (3.387 miles) circuit, situated 30km from the city centre, is tough and demanding and tricky track conditions can lead to action-packed races.

Fight for Drivers’ World Championship signals a thriller

After taking Toyota’s first victory since 2014 last time out in Japan, Kamui Kobayashi, Stephane Sarrazin and Mike Conway have closed the gap in the Drivers’ World Championship standings to the No.2 Porsche Team crew of Neel Jani, Romain Dumas and Marc Lieb to 23 points.  With 52 points till available from the final two races it is still possible for the Toyota crew to overhaul their Porsche rivals, but if Jani, Dumas and Lieb pull out their lead to more than 27 points to their nearest rivals on Sunday evening the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans winners will be declared 2016 world champions. 

Just six points behind the Toyota crew are Audi Sport’s Loïc Duval, Lucas di Grassi and Oliver Jarvis and they particularly will be seeking revenge for their narrow defeat at the last round.  Audi’s uncharacteristic technical problems in Fuji should hopefully be a thing of the past for the No.7 crew of Andrea Lotterer, Benout Treluyer and Marcel Fassler, the trio anxious to return to the podium after disappointing races in the USA and Japan. 

After seeing the no6 crew secure the first victory of 2016 for Toyota, the no5 TS050 crew of Anthony Davidson, Kazuki Nakajima and Sebastien Buemi will be hoping to emulate their teammates in China.

Rebellion Racing secured the 2016 LMP1 Privateer title for the fifth year in succession in Japan and the battle with the no4 Bykolles Team CLM-AER is for the final two race victories of the season.

LMP2 battles to rage on

Signatech Alpine’s third place for Gustavo Menezes, Nicolas Lapierre and Stéphane Richelmi at the last round consolidated their lead in the standings, but didn’t quite put the championship crown out of the reach of nearest rivals, RGR Sport.  There are 38 points between the first and second placed line ups, with 52 points on offer over the final two rounds of the season.

G-Drive Racing’s first class win of the year came in spectacular style and more of the same can be expected among at least five or six of the entries in LMP2.  Manor and Tequila Patron ESM were both in the mix at Fuji and they will be pushing for their own first victory of 2016.

New to the WEC for Shanghai will be British/New Zealand former single-seater standout and current DTM driver Tom Blomqvist, who will be lining up alongside Antonio Giovinazzi and Sean Gelael in the No.30 ESM Ligier JS P2 Nissan.   Making a welcome return to the championship, but both with a new team – Manor – are Roberto Gonzalez and Mathias Beche.  The Mexican/Swiss duo will be driving the No.45 ORECA 05 Nissan with Tor Graves.

Likely to be a home favourite will be Chinese team Baxi DC Racing Alpine, with David Cheng and Ho-Pin Tung being of special significance to the locals.  They are partnered in the Alpine A460 Nissan once again by former ELMS LMP2 Champion and 2015 6 Hours of Shanghai race winner Paul-Loup Chatin.

LMGTE classes set to thrill once again

There have been six different LMGTE Pro winners from seven rounds, and only 10 points separate current championship leaders, Marco Sørensen and Nicki Thiim of Aston Martin Racing, from nearest rivals, Davide Rigon and Sam Bird of AF Corse.  So far this season the Italian/British drivers from Ferrari are the only pairing to have won more than once, and it is anyone’s guess who will take the class honours in Shanghai. 

The gap between LMGTE Am points leaders, François Perrodo, Emmanuel Collard and Rui Aguas of AF Corse, and the second-placed line up of Paul Dalla Lana, Mathias Lauda and Pedro Lamy is now 33 points, with the Aston Martin Racing trio having taken class honours and maximum points at the last two rounds.  Ferrari 458 Italia, Aston Martin V8 Vantage or Porsche 911 RSR…all challenged in Japan, and all will be in the mix again in Shanghai.

The 6 Hours of Shanghai is the closest to a home race for Hong Kong team KCMG, and Christian Ried, Wolf Henzler and Joel Camathias will be out to impress.  The class also welcomes a new driver for the Chinese round:  the very experienced French driver Romain Brandela makes his WEC debut for Larbre Competition in the No.50 Chevrolet Corvette C7.

Fans can expect great entertainment on and off track, including a comprehensive support race package from the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia, Audi R8 LMS Cup and BMW M235i Racing Cup series.