The 2019 24 Hours of Le Mans is not only one of the highlights of the motor racing season, it also marks the “Super Finale” of the 2018/2019 FIA World Endurance Championship. Six of the eight championships are on the line, some of which on a knife-edge.
With no works competition this season, Toyota’s route to the World Endurance Manufacturers’ title has been relatively simple. The Japanese constructor secured the championship at the penultimate round of the season in Spa-Francorchamps.
The World Endurance Drivers’ Championship, on the other hand, is still up for grabs at the Circuit de la Sarthe: Fernando Alonso, Kazuki Nakajima and Sébastien Buemi hold a commanding lead in the championship, however any problems for the #8 crew could leave the door open for teammates Kamui Kobayashi, José-María López and Mike Conway in the sister car. Alonso, Nakajima and Buemi must finish 7th overall, or 8th if they secure pole, to win the championship.
All-Porsche battle in GTE Pro
The GT World Endurance Manufacturers’ Championship is also a done deal, with Porsche having accumulated enough points to take the title with three wins over the course of the season, including a one-two finish here at Le Mans last year.
The GTE World Drivers’ Championship is an all-Porsche affair too: Michael Christensen and Kévin Estre have one hand on the trophy, and would have to have a disastrous 24 heures if they are to miss out. The only outcome that would hand the title to teammates Richard Lietz and Gianmaria Bruni would be if the #91 retires or finishes 11th or lower and the #92 wins the race.
Drama ahead in LMP2 championship
The closest title battle comes in LMP2. Nicolas Lapierre, André Negrão and Pierre Thiriet hold the advantage for Signatech Alpine going into the final round of the season. However, the French-Brazilian trio are only four points ahead of Gabriel Aubry, Stéphane Richelmi and Ho Ping Tung in the Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca. Roberto Gonzalez and Pastor Maldonado have an outside chance of title glory, but only if major issues befall the two leading cars.
In the LMP2 teams’ championship, the situation is more or less the same – with the added bonus of the second Jackie Chan DC Racing car. The drivers who began the Super Season were replaced at the start of the year for contractual reasons, but the car is still well-positioned in the teams’ championship, just nine points behind the leading Signatech Alpine.
Project 1 close to GTE Am title
In the GTE Am Drivers’ Championship, the Project 1 crew of Jörg Bergmeister, Patrick Lindsey and Egidio Perfetti need to finish 5th to win the championship in their maiden FIA WEC season. Second-placed Spirit of Race will need to record their first win of the season in Le Mans to be in with a chance of the championship.
Hot favourites for GTE Am class victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans are Christian Ried, Matt Campbell and Julien Andlauer in the #77 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR. The trio won here last year, but had points gathered in the first four races of the season annulled after the team had used a manipulated software part in their car. After three wins on the bounce, the #77 car could theoretically still take the title if the #86 Project 1 Porsche and other teams suffer problems.
For a full run-down of the championship standings going into the final race of the season, check out our Standings page