In his newest Motorsport.com column, Porsche LMP1 ace Timo Bernhard displays on a Shanghai race that noticed he and his teammates topped world champions and the German squad rack up its third title in a row.
To have gained each championship titles in Shanghai is unimaginable. I’m extraordinarily pleased with the Porsche LMP group and my teammates.
It’s a nice honour to have been concerned within the Porsche LMP venture from the very starting. I did the roll out in Weissach in 2013 and the primary exams – the troublesome check and growth part afterwards actually introduced us all collectively as a group.
To go on and win Le Mans and each championship titles thrice can hardly be put into phrases. I believe this can all solely sink in after the final race.
The race in Shanghai final weekend wasn’t simple. After Fuji, Shanghai was the opposite observe the place we had a tough time. Toyota was actually sturdy and so they deserved to win, congratulations to them.
I’ve acquired the utmost respect for our group which regardless of the tough scenario and the excessive stress within the title struggle stored their head down and focussed on their job. Endurance racing is teamwork – all for one and one for all.
That’s why it was particularly nice that we gained each titles concurrently everybody had cause to get together!
I got here to Shanghai feeling very optimistic. I’ve all the time loved the Shanghai circuit due to its numerous parts; as an illustration the lengthy again straight and the center sector with its excessive calls for on driving method.
In 2015 and 2016 we gained there and took the title for Porsche, so I assumed the observe in China would go well with our 919 Hybrid higher than Fuji.
We might see already on Friday that it might be a really tight struggle. Attributable to a radio communication drawback between race management and the marshals and medical workers across the observe, the primary observe session on Friday began with a 90-minute delay.
However then we had been in a position to accomplished our programme with none issues and examined completely different automobile set-ups and tyre compounds and did a qualifying simulation.
Saturday was a moderately quiet day for me as I wasn’t in the automobile in any respect. Earl and Brendon had been on responsibility for qualifying and subsequently used free observe three as preparation. Brendon had an excellent second lap, however Earl didn’t have the very best run in qualifying.
He spun the automobile on the out lap which broken the tyre set and resulted in a puncture, and he wasn’t in a position to full a great lap. This stuff occur and general our error ratio could be very low. Ultimately we certified in fourth on the second row.
Earl began the race on Sunday and drove the primary double stint. For a short while after the beginning he managed to enhance to 3rd however then had to let the sooner #eight Toyota go.
When our sister automobile had some technical challenge, Earl moved up into third once more earlier than handing over the automobile to Brendon.
Shortly after a Full Course Yellow, Brendon had fairly a tough scenario when he was nearly pressured off observe by a LMP2 automobile. They made contact, however fortunately there was no main harm.
The abrasive tarmac of the Shanghai observe was additionally a decisive issue through the race; we even needed to change the entrance hood as we had a lot pick-up in there that it affected the automobile stability.
Simply earlier than Brendon handed over to me he was lapped by the main #eight Toyota. My stint was good however of course we knew a 3rd place end can be sufficient to seal the drivers’ title.
I might have pushed more durable however it simply wasn’t obligatory and I didn’t wish to threat something. As a substitute we slowed the automobile down a bit for security.
Toyota was not likely inside attain, nonetheless our automobile was dependable and the crew did one other sensational job!
Now we’re off to Bahrain for the season finale with blended emotions as a result of will probably be the final race with our 919 Hybrid. We wish to give it our all and bow out of an impressive period in model.