While the focus of the news cycle in the WEC revolves around the uncertainty of it’s top category, action on track this weekend at the Hermanos Rodriguez circuit in Mexico City offered a much needed 6 hour reprieve. Participants from all four classes were eager to resume competition after having 6 weeks off from the last race at the Nürburgring.
Porsche continued their momentum from the prior two rounds dominating all practice sessions, putting both their cars on the front row, and running relatively unchallenged throughout the race. Aside from a momentary scare for the #2 Porsche 919 Hybrid where a fuel flow limiter had to be replaced during a routine stop, the trio of Brenden Hartley, Timo Bernhard, and Earl Bamber were unstoppable in collecting their third straight victory. The win further strengthened their stranglehold on the Driver’s Championship lead as they look set to claim top honors in the class for the season.
Toyota could not match the pace of the Porsches all weekend and would finish third and fourth a full lap down on the Porsche’s. Team leaders later admitted they were in damage limitation mode for the weekend having realized early on their TS050’s could not match the 919’s in Mexico.
The LMP2 battle offered up a bit more action, but ultimately one team and perhaps one driver stood out above the rest. Bruno Senna gapped the field early piloting his #31 Vaillante Rebellion Oreca to a significant lead in the opening stint of the race. When the team was not leading the race in the fifth hour, his team put him back behind the wheel as he charged through the field and reclaimed the lead and took the checkered flag first in LMP2. The win is the first for Vaillante Rebellion in LMP2 after three podiums earlier this year.
Championship leading “the Mighty #38,” of Jackie Chan DC Racing spent a significant time in the garage after hitting debris and damaging their clutch mechanism. The car would come home ninth in class with a significant chunk of points taken out of their title lead.
The best racing of the day could be found in GTE-Pro as the #71 AF Corse Ferrari battled Aston Martin Racing’s #95 for the lead most of the race. A costly penalty for the #71 Ferrari late in the race due to speeding during a safety car period proved to be a mistake the team could not overcome. It would be the #95 Aston Martin taking the win in GTE-Pro.
A scrappy battle in GTE-Am resulted in the #77 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche taking its second straight class victory as their title hopes continue to grow.
The event marks the last WEC event in Mexico for the foreseeable future. A shame really. Despite its reputation, the county and its culture is a beautiful and the people have a deep passion for motorsport. Let’s hope F1 does not follow suit and the WEC returns by 2020 better than ever.