The 8 Hours of Bahrain – final round of the 2022 FIA World Endurance Campionsip – saw Toyota and Ferrari top the Hypercar and LMGTE Pro orders to clinch the year’s titles in their respective classes in association with Michelin. The Drivers’ world crowns went to Buemi/Hartley/Hirakawa and Pier-Guidi/Calado.
The last clash the season was dominated by the two Michelin-equipped Toyota GR010 Hybrids which secured a one-two result for the Japanese make at Sakhir International Circuit, ahead of the N°36 Alpine/Michelin. The winning car was the N°7 prototype of Conway/Kobayashi/Lopez, but second place in the N°8 sister car sufficed for Buemi/Hartley/Hirakawa to secure the Drivers’ title in addition to their victory at Le Mans.
Alpine/Michelin’s Negrao/Lapierre/Vaxivière came third in Bahrain to collect the year’s runners-up honors, just five points adrift. These three Hypercars won three races apiece with Michelin in 2022.
After performing strongly in free practice and in qualifying which saw the N°93 car earn a front-row start, the Michelin-tired Peugeot 9X8s were delayed by early issues. The N°94 car of Duval/Menezes/Muller ended up fourth, while Jean-Eric Vergne promisingly posted the fastest race lap in the N°93 prototype.
The anticipated fight between Porsche and Ferrari in the FIA WEC’s last LMGTE Pro race lived up every bit to its promise, with the Italian make sewing up the Manufacturers’ championship thanks to the N°52 488 GTE/Michelin’s first victory of the campaign (Molina/Fuoco). Pier-Guidi/Calado (N°51 Ferrari) secured the class’s Drivers’ title despite spending an hour-and-a-half blocked in fifth gear!
A perfect race strategy helped Corvette/Michelin to conclude its first FIA WEC program in second place, ahead of the N°92 and N°91 factory Porsche/Michelins which failed to win any titles after dominating the early part of the race.
Michelin clocked up its 73rd win in LMGTE Pro, a class that has always permitted free competition between tire firms but which has seen the entire field compete on the French brand’s products for the past four seasons.
The top two places in LMGTE Am were monopolized by Project 1’s Michelin-equipped Porsches, with the N°46 car of Cairoli/Pedersen/Leutwiller crossing the line clear of the N°56 machine (Hyett/Jeannette/Barnicoat). The all-lady crew of the Iron Dames Ferrari 488/Michelin spent much of the race in front, however.
“Congratulations to Toyota and Ferrari on winning’s this season’s titles,” said Pierre Alves, the manager of Michelin Motorsport’s endurance racing program. “This circuit is notoriously hard on tires but the MICHELIN Pilot Sport’s performance and longevity were a match for the challenge. For us, 2022 really ends after Sunday’s post-race test session here at Sakhir, and we are already focused on preparing for 2023 which isn’t very far away.”
Next season’s FIA WEC effectively kicks off at Sebring, Florida, USA, on March 17, with Toyota, Peugeot, Porsche, Ferrari, Cadillac and Glickenhaus all looking forward to contesting the championship’s Hypercar class with Michelin in 2023.