It’s been a pretty awesome year for the crew of the No.2 Porsche. Winning the dramatic Le Mans 24 Hours back in June kicked off a run of four straight victories, and even though Toyota has started and ended the year strongly, it hasn’t been enough to stop Brendon Hartley, Timo Bernhard, and Earl Bamber from securing the drivers’ championship with a round to spare after finishing second in Shanghai.
For Hartley and Bernhard it’s their second title (having won it in 2015 with Mark Webber), making them the first double LMP1 champions since the WEC began in 2012, and giving Bamber the title in his first full season in the class.
Porsche also secured it’s third consecutive manufacturers’ championship in its final year in LMP1, but only just. In the closing stages of the race Toyota was running 1-2 and looking set to take to fight to Bahrain in a couple of weeks, but Jose Maria Lopez crashed into a backmarker and dropped back, handing Porsche the title.
The No.8 Toyota of Sebastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima, and Anthony Davidson held on to take its fourth win of the season – the same amount as the No.2 Porsche, but thanks to worse results elsewhere the double points of Le Mans, it hasn’t been enough to take it to a decider.
It caps off a pretty crazy few weeks in particular for Hartley, as he’s had to dovetail these last few races with the beginnings of his F1 career. In fact, he hasn’t had a weekend off since September, and won’t get another one until December!
In fact, it’s been a bonkers year all-around for Hartley. Winning Le Mans, finding out he’ll lose his WEC drive when Porsche withdraw, potentially getting an IndyCar drive with Ganassi, winning Petit Le Mans, getting a shock F1 chance with Toro Rosso, and now winning his second WEC title!