While having been Porsche’s quickest LMP1 driver in recent years, Jani managed to bring home the hardware this year, winning the Drivers’ World Championship and 24 Hours of Le Mans, arguably with co-drivers that didn’t match his level of performance. The Swiss driver claimed only two victories, following a disastrous second-half of the season, but was likely no fault of his own. His second consecutive Le Mans pole also proved Jani’s worth as one of the best sports car drivers in the world.
The Kiwi had a stronger performance than even in his World Championship-winning 2015 season, with four wins in the last six races and often splitting honors with Neel Jani as the quickest Porsche driver on weekends. While Hartley came of age in 2016, a heavy accident in the season-opener at Silverstone, while leading, may have ultimately cost he, Bernhard and Webber a repeat title.
3. Timo Bernhard
While the German driver failed to become repeat World Champion, it largely came down to the No. 1 Porsche’s retirement at Silverstone, due to Brendon Hartley’s crash, as well as mechanical issues at Le Mans. Bernhard, Hartley and Mark Webber were perhaps the strongest overall lineup in the WEC again this year, with wins in four of the last six races, but had unlucky breaks in the first three races.
4. Dane Cameron
While only visiting victory lane twice this year, Cameron proved to again be IMSA’s most consistently fast Prototype driver, and was rewarded with the overall championship alongside Action Express Racing co-driver Eric Curran. The pairing failed to finish off the podium only three times, delivering strong runs, particularly at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and Road America.
5. Gianmaria Bruni
Ferrari’s standout driver, Bruni was unable to show his strengths through much of the WEC season, due to the Balance of Performance controversy that struck the GTE-Pro class. The Italian ace, however, upped his game, especially with the arrival of James Calado as his new co-driver, who also impressed in the AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE car. While only claiming one class victory on the season, the pairing should have won many more, had it not been for BoP.