Skip to main content

Porsche sweeps World Endurance Championship as Audi bows out

Porsche 919 Hybrid
Image used with permission by copyright holder
As rival and fellow Volkswagen Group property Audi bows out, Porsche is celebrating winning both the manufacturers’ and drivers’ titles in the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). This is the second year in a row that Porsche has won both titles.

At the season finale in Bahrain, the drivers of the number 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid — Romain Dumas, Marc Lieb, and Neel Jani (because of the long races, each car gets multiple drivers) — were named drivers’ champions. Their car actually finished sixth, but the competing Toyota drivers failed to finish high enough to secure the championship. Porsche secured the manufacturers’ title at the previous race, in Shanghai.

It was a dramatic end to a dramatic WEC season. The Bahrain race marked the end of Audi’s 18 years in endurance racing, which gave it a tally of 24 Hours of Le Mans wins second only to Porsche. While it failed to win either title this year, Audi did win the final race, with teammates Lucas Di Grassi, Loïc Duval, and Oliver Jarvis finishing second in the drivers’ championship. Audi itself also finished second in the manufacturers’ standings, ahead of Toyota.

Audi announced last month that it will pull out of the WEC and focus on Formula E, a race series for electric cars, instead. The emphasis on electric cars over the diesel hybrids Audi currently races in the WEC makes sense in the context of the ongoing Volkswagen diesel scandal (which Audi is implicated in), and the less impressive performance of the Audi WEC team in recent years. Formula E will likely be used to promote the electric SUV Audi plans to launch in 2018.

The WEC finale wasn’t all good news for Porsche. In addition to losing the last race to Audi, Porsche lost star driver Mark Webber, who is officially retiring from racing. The ex-Formula One driver has been instrumental in Porsche’s recent WEC success. Along with teammates Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley, Webber finished third in Bahrain, and fourth in the drivers’ standings.

The 2016 season was a heartbreaker for Toyota, the third manufacturer competing in the top tier of the WEC. It nearly won Le Mans, only to have victory snatched away by a mechanical failure in the final minutes of the 24-hour race. With Audi gone, the Japanese automaker will only have Porsche to compete with next year, perhaps improving its chances of a championship win.

Editors' Recommendations

Stephen Edelstein
Stephen is a freelance automotive journalist covering all things cars. He likes anything with four wheels, from classic cars…
The Tesla Model Y is far from my favorite EV, but I’m pretty close to buying one
Tesla Model Y One Millionth Car

I may finally be on my way toward buying my first EV. Sure, I've tested dozens of electric car models over the years, but despite that (or perhaps because of it), I have yet to buy one. But my family is growing, and my wife and I aren't so sure about carting our future kids around in an aging car that lacks the safety features of modern vehicles.

Because of the fact that we're expecting our kid in January, we have a bit of a deadline. So what are we leaning toward? Well, despite the fact that it's far from my favorite EV, we may actually end up just getting a Model Y.
Timing makes a difference
If the baby was coming along in a year's time, things might be completely different. There are a few reasons for that.

Read more
Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally kicks up some dirt
Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally driving on a dirt road.

The Ford Mustang Mach-E electric SUV pushed the hallowed Mustang nameplate in a different direction, and it's doing that again with a new performance variant. Debuting in 2024, the Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally is designed for fun on both pavement and dirt.

Rallying is a form of motorsport where drivers compete to set the quickest time over a course — usually a closed road or trail — rather than a dedicated racetrack that includes a variety of surfaces like dirt, gravel, or even snow. Rallying has inspired some epic performance road cars over the years, including the Subaru WRX, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, and Ford's own Focus RS, but it's never really been associated with the Mustang.

Read more
BMW scraps its unpopular approach to heated seats
Driver's seat and dashboard of the 2023 BMW iX M60.

BMW caused much consternation last year when it launched a subscription-only option for heated car seats.

The idea of having to pay a monthly fee of $18 to keep your posterior warm during the winter months still seems as absurd as ever, but the good news is that the German automaker has now decided to scrap the fee. What particularly irked customers was that they felt they were being forced to cough up extra for functions that would previously have been expected as standard. The fiasco even prompted a community of hackers to offer their services to unlock the feature for those unwilling to pay extra for it.

Read more