A fourth endurance world title for Toyota and Michelin
Toyota’s one-two finish at last weekend’s 6 Hours of Bahrain allowed the Japanese carmaker to make sure of the 2021 FIA World Endurance Championship crown wi...
While Toyota wrapped up the first-ever world title of the new Hypercar era in association with Michelin at Sakhir International Circuit at the end of October, the result of this weekend’s 8 Hours of Bahrain (Round 8 of the 2021 FIA World Endurance Championship) at the same venue saw MICHELIN Pilot Sport-equipped Ferrari 488 Evos clinch the LM GTE Pro and GTE Am crowns.
The second of the season’s back-to-back races at Bahrain’s Sakhir International Circuit settled the remaining title Manufacturers’, Team’s and Drivers’ title battles.
With the Hypercar already Toyota’s property following the 6 Hours of Bahrain on October 30, the Drivers’ standings were ultimately topped by August’s Le Mans victors Mike Conway/Kamui Kobayashi/Jose-Maria Lopez, even though victory in the season-closing 8 Hours of Bahrain went to their team-mates Buemi/Nakajima/Hartley in the N°8 Toyota GR010 Hybrid/Michelin.
“The introduction of the new Hypercar class at the beginning of this year’s FIA WEC prompted the development of a new generation of MICHELIN Pilot Sport tires for these exciting new prototypes,” says Pierre Alves, the manager of Michelin Motorsport’s endurance racing program. “The range’s development will continue over the winter in order to prepare for 2022 when the series will welcome a number of new teams.”
The Manufacturers’ and Drivers’ LM GTE titles ended up in the hands of Ferrari and its successful duo Alessandro Pier-Guidi/James Calado after a dramatic season that spawned the Italian make’s fifth FIA WEC crown.
In the Bahrain finale, the MICHELIN Pilot Sport-equipped AF Corse Ferrari 488 Evos and Porsche 911 RSRs kept spectators entertained until a collision between the N°51 Ferrari and N°92 Porsche put the title chase beyond doubt. The N°92 Porsche crew Kevin Estre/Neel Jani came second in the Drivers’ classification thanks to a score of three victories.
There was further success for Ferrari and Michelin in LM GTE Am which saw the Teams’ and Drivers’ Trophies go to AF Corse and François Perrodo/Alessio Rovera/Niklas Nielsen, winners of the last round. TF Sport (Aston Martin) and Dempsey-Proton Racing (Porsche) made it three different makes in the year’s medals.
Michelin’s staff are staying on at Sakhir for the year-ending Rookie Test, the line-up for which includes Sébastien Ogier who has scored more FIA World Rally Championship titles and victories on Michelin rubber than any other driver. The Frenchman will get to lap the Toyota GR010 Hybrid ahead of a possible career-switch to endurance racing.
Last but not least, Michelin would like to wish every success to Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima – winners of 10 and 16 FIA WEC rounds with the French tire firm respectively – who have announced their retirement from the sport.
The FIA World Endurance Championship’s 10