After creating Halls of Fame for its Formula 1 and Rally World Championships, the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) has now added an endurance ...
Toyota Gazoo Racing dominated the last FIA WEC race of the year to collect first and second places in Bahrain with the N°7 (Conway/Kobayashi/Lopez) and N°8 (Buemi/Nakajima/Hartley) Michelin-equipped Toyota TS050 Hybrids. The French tyre firm topped the order in the other three classes, too, with the N°22 United Autosports Oreca-Gibson (LMP2), N°95 Aston Martin (LMGTE Pro) and N°57 Porsche (LMGTE Am).
The outcome of the last world-class endurance race of the year was pretty much settled by a tangle involving the two prototypes that had qualified on the front row for the 8 Hours of Bahrain – namely the N°1 Rebellion/Michelin and N°5 Ginetta/Michelin. The N°8 Toyota/Michelin also lost time due to the incident, which gave the N°7 sister prototype of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose-Maria Lopez sufficient breathing space to take a comfortable win after completing 257 laps (1,390km).
The result was also Michelin’s 62
The N°8 Toyota/Michelin was second past the chequered flag, ahead of the N°1 Rebellion/Michelin (Senna/Menezes/Nato) which recovered from its misfortune at the start but had to spend three laps in the pits to repair a mechanical problem.
The N°5 and N°6 Ginetta/Michelins both disappeared at around the halfway mark, leaving fourth overall and victory in LMP2 to the N°22 Oreca07-Gibson/Michelin of Hanson/Di Resta/Albuquerque. While the United Autosports prototype led its class from start to finish, there was an interesting scrap in its wake for the other podium places between the Jota and Jackie Chan DC Racing cars and the N°26 Aurus/Michelin which was racing on Michelin rubber for the very first time.
The closest fight of the day opposed the N°92 Porsche/Michelin, N°95 Aston Martin/Michelin and N°51 Ferrari/Michelin for the top prize in LMGTE Pro. Aided by an offset pitstop strategy and a faultless run, victory ended up in the hands of Aston Martin’s Marco Sorensen and Nicki Thiim. The N°92 and N°91 Porsche 911 RSR/Michelins were slowed by technical trouble halfway into the race, which allowed the N°71 Ferrari (Rigon/Molina) and N°97 Aston Martin (Lynn/Martin) to clinch second and third places.
The LMGTE Am victory went to the N°57 Project 1 Porsche/Michelin of Keating/Ten Woorde/Bleekemolen who deserved their success after qualifying on pole and completing a triple stint early on with its ‘amateur’ driver Ben Keating behind the wheel. The N°98 Aston Martin and N°86 Gulf Racing Porsche made it another all-Michelin top-three in the class.
After the end-of-year festivities, FIA WEC action will resume with the Lone Star Le Mans on February 22 at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, USA, which has replaced the initially-planned 6 Hours of Sao Paulo.
8 Hours of Bahrain – final positions:
1. Conway/Kobayashi/Lopez (Toyota TS050 Hybrid N°7), 257 laps
2. Buemi/Nakajima/Hartley (Toyota TS050 Hybrid N°8), +1 lap
3. Senna/Menezes/Nato (Rebellion-Gibson R13 N°1), +3 laps
4. Hanson/Albuquerque/Di Rasta (Oreca07-Gibson N°22), +8 laps
5. Gonzalez/Da Costa/Davidson (Oreca07-Gibson N°38), +8 laps
6. Tung/Aubry/Stevens (Oreca07-Gibson N°37), +9 laps
7. Rusinov/Van Uitert/Vergne (Aurus-Gibson N°26), +9 laps
8. Laurent/Negrao/Ragues (Alpine A470 N°36), +9 laps
9. Van Eerd/Van der Garde/ De Vries (Oreca07-Gibson N°29), +10 laps
10. Lapierre/Borga/Coigny (Oreca07-Gibson N°42), +12 laps