AHR a.a. 16.09.01

6 Hours Of Mexico – FIA World Endurance Championship Round 5 – Preview (01.09.16)

The 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship moves to Autodrómo Hermanos Rodríguez, Mexico from September 1 – 3 when the 6 Hours of Mexico is run on the circuit first established in 1962 and to which The FIA Formula One World Championship  returned in 2015.

At 2,285 metres above sea level, Circuit Autodrómo Hermanos Rodríguez has the highest elevation of all the current FIA World Endurance Championship circuits and will be a test for drivers and cars alike.

In the Manufacturers’ Championship, Porsche Team has a commanding lead of 164 points, 35 points ahead of second placed Audi Sport Team Joest. Toyota Gazoo Racing, after all the promise of the significant development of the Toyota TS050-Hybrid for 2016, remains in third place in the Manufacturers’ Championship standings on 97 points. It does appear as if the design of the 2016 car was solely aimed at victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, an objective which was narrowly missed in the final laps of the race, and that the FIA World Endurance Championship was not top of the priority list for this year.

Problems have already struck Toyota Gazoo Racing in the opening hours of the race weekend in Mexico with an accident in the Collective Test for the #6 Toyota TS050 – Hybrid while Stéphane Sarrazin was at the wheel. Thankfully Sarrazin was unhurt but the chassis sustained damage which required rebuilding the car around the spare monocoque. Later in the day Anthony Davidson was withdrawn from the sister #5 car, still suffering with pain from bruised ribs from an earlier testing accident.

The #12 Rebellion Racing Rebellion R-One AER holds the lead in the FIA Endurance Trophy for Private LMP1 team on 104 points, 29 ahead of its sister car, the #13. Rebellion Racing has not entered the #12 car for the remainder of the season as it prepares its campaign for 2017 following rule changes. The #13 car, driven by Mathéo Tuchser, Dominik Kraihamer and Alexander Imperatori will fly the Rebellion Racing flag for the five remaining rounds of the 2016 championship.

Signatech-Alpine, with its #36 Nissan-powered Alpine A460 driven by Gustavo Menezes, Nicolas Lapierre and Stéphane Richelmi, has a 38 point lead over second placed #43 RGR Sport by Morand Ligier JS P2 in the FIA Endurance Trophy for LMP2 Teams. The #36 car has scored victories in the last three rounds and will bring momentum and determination into Round Five. G-Drive Racing with its #26 Nissan-powered ORECA 05 currently lies third on 67 points. Alex Brundle will race with G-Drive Racing for the second time this season, having made his debut at Nürburgring.

The closest class battle of the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship season is in the LMGTE Pro category where just five points separates the top three teams, all representing different manufacturers. The #66 Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK Ford GT leads the class in its debut season in FIA WEC. The driver pairing of Stefan Mücke and Olivier Pla currently hold a slim two-point lead over the #71 AF Corse Ferrari F488 GTE driven by Davide Rigon and Sam Bird.

Just another three points back, on 67 points, is the #95 Aston Martin Racing Vantage driven by Nicki Thiim and Marco Sørensen.

In LMGTE Am, AF Corse currently hold a more decisive lead with its #83 Ferrari F458 Italia on 111 points. The driver line-up of François Perrodo, Emmanuel Collard and Rui Aguas will be looking to consolidate their lead at this round. In second place, 41 points back from AF Corse, is the #98 Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage driven by Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda. Third-placed Larbre Compétition has added IMSA regular Ricky Taylor to drive alongside Yutaka Yamagishi and Pierre Ragues.

This season the FIA World Endurance Championship has provided some dramatic, aggressive and, at times, heart-breaking racing. The 6 Hours of Mexico will be no exception.

Qualifying starts at 14:10 local time on Friday September 2 with the lights going out for the six-hour race at 13:30 local time on Saturday September