Bahrain 6 Hours: Who Needs What to Win

The WEC has been good to us this year. Unlike its little brother Formula 1, the World Endurance Championship has given us twists, turns, ecstatic highs, heartbreaking lows, tense cat and mouse tactics, balls-to-the-wall action and even a Japanese deluge or seven to thrill us across the year.

And in true endurance style it’s all (well, mostly) going right down to the wire. Audi and their Le Mans winning #2 team of McNish, Kristensen and Duval managed to seal all of the overall honours a few weeks ago, while Strakka’s withdrawal hands the privateer title to Rebellion. But everything else is still in play, the LMP2, GTE Pro and GTE Am Trophies will all be fought for this weekend at the 6 Hours of Bahrain, so who needs what to win?

Oak 35 LM

The cost-capped prototype class is currently headed by the two black and pink liveried Oak Racing cars, with the #35 Baguette/Plowman/Gonzalez team boasting a handy 15 point lead over their #24 sister car helmed by Brundle, Heinemeier Hansson and Pla. Also in with a (slim) chance are Pecom and G-Drive, who are 20.5pts and 22.5pts behind respectively.

A third place in Bahrain would be enough to take the championship for the #35 car, and having finished third or higher in five of the seven races in 2013 (including P2 victory at Le Mans) the smart money will be on them. The other hopefuls will be looking for an unprecedented DNF from the current leaders, which would leave the #24 Oak needing third or higher and both Pecom and G-Drive needing a class win.

GTE Pro

The Pros have been a highlight this year, and it’s fitting that a battle that’s been hard fought since Silverstone is so close as we enter the final race weekend of the season. What at first looked like a dogfight between Aston Martin and Ferrari turned into a menage-a-trois when Porsche romped home to victory at Le Mans.

Aston Spa front on

After seven races there are three cars still in the mix, one Aston, one Ferrari and one Porsche. The #97 Vantage V8 of Darren Turner and Stefan Mücke sits at the top, 8.5pts ahead of the Fisichella/Bruni AF Corse and 15.5pts from Lieb and Lietz in their factory 911 RSR.

This means that a second place will be enough to hand Aston the trophy, while the #92 Porsche duo need to finish first or second to stay in the running. The #51 458 Italia has to beat the current leaders to the line in a position that will reap nine or more points, so for a Ferrari championship the #97 has to finish at least third or lower.

GTE Am

What the Pros can do, the Ams can do better but a little bit slower. Like their all-professional older siblings the Ams go to Bahrain with a trio of cars still in contention, and bizarrely it’s another Aston leading another Ferrari and another Porsche. After a slew of good results in the latter half of the season it’s the #96 AMR of Hall, Campbell-Walter and Goethe at the top, but their lead over second placed 8 Star and third placed IMSA Performance Matmut is tantalisingly slim; just five and nine points separate the respective chasers from the current table-toppers.

96 Aston Martin pits shot

Because of the tiny points gaps this is the class that’s hardest to call; almost any combination of positions could flip the top three on its head. With five other cars in the GTE Am field it’s likely that a 1st place for any of the three could mean the title, while a DNF could see championship dreams slip through their fingers.

Jamie Snelling is a freelance motorsport journalist and 7 time Speed Chills veteran. Contact him on Twitter (@speedchillsview)