The 2018 6 Hours of Shanghai, Round 5 of the 8 race 2018/19 FIA World Endurance Championship, will boast its biggest ever entry, including the welcome addition of Corvette Racing, the American factory team joining the LMGTE Pro class for the first time outside of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Local interest, however, will be on the Chinese-entered LMP2 class Jackie Chan DC Racing entries, among which is Sino-Dutch driver Ho-Pin Tung.
The 5.451km (3.387mile), 16-turn track is one of the most technically challenging on the calendar, with tyre management one of the crucial factors to podium success in China.
LMP: High Speed Action and Star Names
Fifteen Le Mans Prototypes (LMP) will form the front end of the grid. The LMP1 grid is formed by eight cars, two hybrid and six non hybrids. The hybrid-powered Toyota Gazoo Racing entries still hold the upper hand but the performance gap has shrunk between their performance and that of the LMP1 Privateers.
Fernando Alonso, Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima hold a 13-point lead over their Toyota team mates in the FIA World Endurance LMP Drivers’ Championship after Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Juan Maria Lopez won last time out in Japan.
Chasing hard will be Rebellion Racing’s two Rebellion R13 Gibsons and the two SMP Racing BR Engineering BR1-AERs, all four of which feature unchanged driver line ups, with plenty of well known faces and names, including former F1 World Champion Jenson Button.
A seven car LMP2 entry will include Jackie Chan’s two car team, which has taken three victories from the four races to date. The all Malaysian line up of Jazeman Jafaar, Weiron Tan and Nabil Jeffri in the No.37 ORECA 07 Gibson is turning out to be one of the revelations of the Super Season but they may well be shaded in China, however, by Ho-Pin Tung whose family comes from Wenzhou in the Zhejiang Province – the only Chinese driver in the field this year.
LMGTE: Six Manufacturers in China!
Twenty cars form the LMGTE grid across the two classes. With the welcome return of Chevrolet to the LMGTE Pro category the factory class now has 11 cars and 6 manufacturers competing for top honours in Shanghai.
Chevrolet is no stranger to success in China having taken an LMGTE Am class win in 2012 (Larbre Competition), but no they will face the ultimate challenge from the works teams of Aston Martin, BMW, Ferrari, Ford and Porsche.
The nine car LMGTE Am grid will once again be as exciting to watch as the Pro class. The championship standings show two Porsche teams followed by two Aston Martin entries, followed by two Ferrari competitors but anything can happen in the WEC! The no98 Aston Martin Racing Vantage of Pedro Lamy, Matthias Lauda and Paul Dalla Lana has been the team to beat in Shanghai in 2016 and 2017 and they will be looking for their third win in three years.
Practice and qualifying takes place on 16/17 November, with the 6-hour race itself getting underway on Sunday 18 November at 11h00 local time (04h00 CET).