Porsche has won the FIA WEC 6 Hours of COTA 2017, and repeated a 1-2 finish just like Mexico a week ago. The #2 Porsche 919 Hybrid won the race with Earl Bamber in the lead followed by the #1 sister car with Nick Tandy behind the wheel. Toyota took third and fourth in LMP1.
Signatech Alpine won LMP2 in their #36 car with Gustavo Menezes behind the wheel leading Piquet Jr. in the #13 Vaillante Rebellion car and and Nicolas Prost in the #31, yet from Vaillante giving the team a double podium.
Ferrari had an upper hand in Austin having dominated both qualifying and the main race. In LMGTE-Pro, AF Corse won P1 in the #51 Ferrari 488 GTE leading the #92 Porsche GT Team RSR while Sam Bird ensured a double podium for Ferrari in the other AF Corse car.
In LMGT-Am, Mathias Lauda managed to cross the finish line first in the #98 Aston Martin leading Matt Griffin in the #61 Clearwater Racing Ferrari 488 GTE and the #54 Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 GTE, yet another double for Ferrari.
With Porsche starting from pole in a 1-2 fashion, and with the #1 Porsche 919 Hybrid leading the #2 sister car. Toyota instead gambled on tires and went for a longer stint with Kazuki Nakajima in the #8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid, he led for most part of the second hour until it was time to stop when Porsche resumed a 1-2 lead again.
Third hour saw Toyota move back to third and fourth, the #7 car stayed at a distant fourth from the fight ahead. In LMP2, Signatech Alpine had a similar experience after starting from pole before falling back due to tire strategies. They however got their position back, they stopped twice and fell back to second with Andre Negrao behind the wheel. He managed to catch up with the #37 Jackie Chan DC Racing car before snatching the lead. Nico Prost meanwhile was third in the #31 Vaillante Rebellion.
The fourth hour saw the intervention of the safety car after Mike Wainwright’s Gulf Racing Porsche hit the barriers.
In LMGTE, Ferrari led the pro class from pole with Alessandro Pier Guidi in the #51 Ferrari 488 GTE heading Sam Bird in the #71 Ferrari 488 GTE. Despite leading for the first 45 mins, Nicki Thiim fell back to third in the #95 Aston Martin, some 25s behind the Ferraris. In LMGTE-Am, Ferrari had the upper hand after two hours with Weng Sun Mok leading in the Clearwater Ferrari 488 GTE followed by the Gulf Racing Porsche 911 RSR.
Two Hours to Chequered Flag
The order at the front had changed again to 1-2 for Porsche, although the #8 Toyota had ran in second for a better part of the fourth hour. Lotterer was now in the leading #1 Porsche followed by Brendon Hartley in the #2 car. Nakajima was third in the #8 Toyota while Jose Maria Lopez was fourth in the #7 sister car.
Nicolas Lapierre was now behind the wheel of the leading LMP2 car, the #36 Signatech Alpine. James Calado led the GTE-Pro class in the #51 Ferrari followed by Kevin Estre in the #92 Porsche and Thiim in the #95 Aston Martin. Sun Mok again led the LMGTE-Am in the #61 Ferrari followed by Pedro Lamy now in the #98 Aston Martin and the #77 Porsche of Marvin Dienst.
With less than 30 minutes left in the race, the positions remained pretty much the same, at least for the leaders across all four classes except for the final five minutes. In LMP2 however, Nelson Piquet Jr. in the #13 Vaillante Rebellion was now in P2 behind the Signatech Alpine car now driven by Gustavo Menezes.
Nick Tandy had taken over the #1 Porsche while Earl Bamber was in the #2 sister car. Nakajima and Kobayashi were in the #8 and #7 Toyota cars respectively.