How will WEC 2016 unfold?

The final round of the 2016 World Endurance Championship has finally arrived. Teams landed in Bahrain earlier this week to prepare for the final race of the season. For some team, the championship battle could not be closer with some driver’s titles and the GT Teams Championship still waiting to be decided.

For the World Endurance Drivers Championship, there are just two cars feasibly possible of taking the 2016 crown. Last race’s results saw Audi fall out of the title hunt and it become mathematically impossible for reigning Champions in the Porsche #1 to retain their title. In the final race, the battle is between Porsche #2 crew of Neel Jani, Romain Dumas, and Marc Lieb – who have lead most of the season and won the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans this year – and Toyota #6 team of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, and Stephane Sarrazin. The Porsche team have a 17-point lead over their Japanese rivals and it would have to see them fail to finish the race and Toyota #6 finish second or higher for them to lose the Championship.

Porsche rounded up the Manufacturer’s Championship last round with a fourth win for the reigning Champions in Porsche #1. Mark Webber, Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley could take third in the Driver’s Championship this weekend. Their current point gap to Audi #7 (currently in third) is just two points, so outscoring the departing team by three points would put Porsche #1 in front after Webber’s final race.

LMP2 saw #36 Signatech Alpine take the LMP2 title last race out at Shanghai. With the championship winners decided, the focus turns to the second-place battle. As of the moment, RGR Sport #43 hold second place, with Bruno Senna, Ricardo Gonzalez, and Filipe Albuquerque sharing the cockpit. But it has been last year’s LMP2 Champion team G-Drive who has come back to life in the latter stages of the season and now threatens that second place. Only Roman Rusinov can take second place from the RGR crew, as Will Stevens and Alex Brundle do not have enough points by their names to take the place. Stevens has been standing in for Rene Rast for the last few races in the G-Drive #26 car. 11 points split RGR Sport from G-Drive and a win for G-Drive and a fourth place from RGR would see Rusinov take second in the LMP2 Championship.

The LMGTE Am class is all tied up as we come into the season finale. Reigning Am Champions AF Corse took the class Championship once again with the #83 car. The team consisted of F Perrodo, E Collard, and R Aguas. The #98 Aston Martin of Mathias Lauda, Paul Dalla Lana, and Pedro Lamy, who have won most of the recent rounds in the Am class, have taken a competent second place in the class Championship. Third went to the #88 Abu-Dhabi Proton Racing Porsche 911.

However, in LMGTE Pro, the Championship battle could not be closer. Both the driver’s and teams championship are yet to be decided in the Pro class. It is the only class that has three teams potentially still able to take the Championship. Pro class is currently being lead by Aston Martin with the #95 crew. Marco Sorensen and Nicki Thim lead the class with a 12-point advantage on second-placed AF Corse #71. The only way Sam Bird and Davide Rigon can take the title from #95 Aston Martin is if they win and the #95 finishes fourth or lower. But thanks to its recent turn of form the #66 Ford could also take the title this weekend. It is a big ask for Stefan Mucke and Oliver Pla, but if they get pole, win the race, and #95 finishes ninth they would become the 2016 Pro Class Champions.

The main GT Teams Championship battle is between Ferrari and Aston Martin, where the gap is just ten points. There is a maximum of 52 points available to both teams to score this weekend, but all Aston Martin have to take the Teams GT Championship away from Ferrari is outscore them by 11 points. Ford are just about in the Teams battle but their gap is 39.5 to Ferrari in the lead. It would be asking for al of the Ferraris and Aston Martins to not finish the race for Ford to realistically be in for a shot at taking the Teams GT Championship.

The 6 Hours of Bahrain looks to be shaping up for another thrilling Championship finale, just as it was last year with the tight battle between Porsche #1 (then #17) and Audi #7. Last year’s endurance around the Bahrain International circuit saw a power shortage delay qualifying as the circuit was plunged into darkness when the track lights all turned off and an exciting but tense battle between Audi and Porsche. Last year Porsche only needed to continue its form and win to take the Championship but a disaster in the first hour saw them battling for the minimum points needed to take the 2015 title. Will the situation be the same this year? Or will Porsche’s second World Endurance Driver’s Title be an easy one to secure? Tune into the race at 11:00 GMT on Saturday 19th November for a race that promises to have you on the edge of your seat.