FIA WEC / FocusPackMedia - Marcel Wulf


#8 Toyota takes win and title in Bahrain

Toyota waltz to a 1-2 finish gifting the #8 Toyota of Sebastian Buemi, Brendan Hartley, and Rio Hirakawa the championship.

As the drivers rumbled off the line to start the final race of this year, the #2 Cadillac smoke screened the field as it massively locked up clipping the back of the #7 Toyota at turn one,  spinning Conway 180 degrees.

The carnage from this allowed the pair of Ferraris to sneak through, putting them up to second and third in class.

Earl Bamber was rewarded a one-minute stop-and-go penalty 20 minutes after the incident happened, which put Cadillac out of contention early on.

Meanwhile, the LMGTE AM class in their final race was being led by Matteo Cressoni in the Iron Lynx Porsche, with only 11 minutes gone when Sarah Bovy moved over to allow her teammate through at the final corner.

Mike Conway was a man possessed in the #7 Toyota after falling down the field to 36th, he was already back up to third position in class by the end of hour one, keeping #7’s championship hopes alive.

Vector Sport looked in control of the final WEC LMP2 race, but that went south quickly when they were handed a 90-second stop-and-go penalty, which dropped them through the field.

Kobayashi continued the #7’s charge through the Hypercar field when in hour three, the Japanese driver darted to the inside and slotted his way past at the apex of turn 1 to move ahead of the #51 Ferrari moving them up to second.

With just over three hours to go in the race, the United Autosport #23 was leading LMP2, but a 90-second stop-and-go penalty was handed out to them for a tyre pressure breach, dropping them out of the lead fight.

In the fight for the best of the rest in Hypercar it was between the two Ferrari’s and the number #38 Jota Porsche in the middle of the sandwich.

At one stage the Jota Porsche moved it’s way up to third position as it got a better exit out of turn four, with the run being so good the #38 was able to move in front of the #50 Ferrari stopping the red car applying pressure in turn five.

The #38  again was put back into this fight after it was handed a drive through for an unsafe rejoin from Antonio Felix Da Costa at turn two, in a frustrating mistake.

They kept fighting until a period of pit stops where both the #38 and #51 were under pressure from the #50 Ferrari of Fuoco, who had warmer tyres.

Fuoco past the #38 Jota on the exit of turn four mirroring earlier, but it was harder getting past his teammate of Peir Guidi with them both colliding with one another through turns eight to ten, with Peir Guidi just holding on after some sketchy racing.

Meanwhile, back in GTE AM the leading Iron Lynx Porsche had to retire after Claudio Schiavoni was too unwell to take part in the race which meant they wouldn’t of met the minimum driver time, therefore would’ve been disqualified anyway.

In the end the #8 Toyota lead the whole way and as a result glided home to the win and the 2023 Drivers’ World Championship for the second year in a row with Brendan Hartley, Sebastian Buemi, and Ryo Hirakawa in the driving seat.

An impressive come back drive from the #7 Toyota ultimately wasn’t enough for the title in second, and the final podium spot of the year went to the #50 Ferrari.

It was a similar story in LMP2 with the race winner being, the #41 Team WRT car, which also claimed the LMP2 drivers championship, with Rui Andrade, Louis Deletraz, and Robert Kubica.

It also copied the Toyota in terms of getting a 1-2 in class the #31 Team WRT Oreca came second, with the #28 JOTA rounding out the final LMP2 WEC podium.

Finally, but certainly not least, The Iron Dames #85 won their first race of the year and the final GTE AM race, handing Porsche the final win in the class thanks to driving from Michelle Gatting, Sarah Bovy, and Rahel Frey.

It was an Aston Martin lock out on the rest of the podium with the #777 D’station Racing car leading the #98 Northwest AMR across the line.





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *