The Six Hours of the Circuit of the Americas proved to be yet another turning point in the fight for honours in the inaugural FIA World Endurance Championships for GT Drivers and GT Manufacturers.
Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK drivers Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell lead the FIA World Endurance Championship for GT Drivers on 102 points, but their early-season lead – cemented by a second position at the double-points round at Le Mans – has shrunk to just six points with three rounds of the season remaining.
The two Brits are closely followed by the consistent but so far winless #91 Porsche GT Team pairing of Richard Lietz, GT drivers’ champion in 2015, and Fred Makowiecki on 96 points, who have scored four podiums so far this season. Just half a point behind is AF Corse driver Davide Rigon, who in turn is half a point ahead of his regular teammate Sam Bird – the half-point advantage being attributed to Bird missing the Nürburging round to compete in Formula E and thus missing out on Rigon’s half-point for 11th position in GTE.
Level on 95 points with Bird are fellow AF Corse drivers James Calado and Alessandro Per Guidi, who have scored the most wins – two – in GTE so far this season, as well as two second places. Calado and Per Guidi’s position in joint fifth position owes to the pair’s costly 14th place finish at Le Mans, after the #51 Ferrari 488 Italia spent a lengthy period in the pits to repair front-end damage.
The on-track battles will continue as we move onto the final three rounds of the FIA WEC in Fuji (15 October), Shanghai (5 November) and Bahrain (18 November), with each circuit playing to the various different strengths of the GTE Pro machinery. Last season saw current championship leaders Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell take the wins at both Fuji and Shanghai, and a repeat performance may see the GTE Pro drivers’ title heading to British drivers for the first time.
The battle for manufacturer honours is a little more clear-cut, with Ferrari holding a 40-point lead over Ford, which in turn holds a slender one-point advantage over the Aston Martin squad. Porsche are just 11 points further back in fourth position, and so anything is possible over the remaining three rounds. With BMW coming to the fold next season, the GTE Pro category looks to be going from strength to strength!
A full list of the current standings can be found here.
Images © WEC-Magazin