Toyota Gazoo Racing took a 1-2 finish in the BAPCO 8 Hours of Bahrain with the No. 7 Toyota GR010 Hybrid of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, and Jose Maria Lopez. However, it was Sebastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley and Ryo Hirakawa who won the FIA World Endurance Championship drivers' title by finishing second. This made it four straight titles for Toyota.
With Hartley and Buemi winning their third titles, the Kiwi becoming the first driver to win championships with two marques after his Porsche success, Hirakawa won his first title in the WEC. From pole position, the No. 8 crew led the No.36 Alpine A480 Gibson of Andre Negrao, Nico Lapierre, and Matthieu Vaxiviere by one point.
As the No.7 Toyota GR010 Hybrid drove by Mike Conway had the faster overall pace, Toyota switched positions. During his stints at the wheel, Kamui Kobayashi extended the gap to the No.8 and Conway won 45 seconds ahead of their stablemates.
Despite starting the race just a point behind the No.8 Toyota team, Alpine ELF Team didn't have the pace to trouble the Toyotas and finished two laps behind them. The French manufacturer was racing in the Hypercar class for the last time until 2024.
Despite showing strong pace throughout the Bahrain weekend, Peugeot TotalEnergies Peugeot 9X8s couldn't sustain a front-row challenge. Loic Duval, Gustavo Menezes, and Nico Mueller took fourth place, while Jean-Eric Vergne, Mikkel Jensen, and Paul di Resta had to retire after several track stoppages because of a suspected gearbox issue.
WRT wins LMP2 and Jota wins the championship
WRT's Sean Gelael, Robin Frijns and Rene Rast won the second consecutive WEC title, while JOTA's Antonio Felix da Costa, Roberto Gonzalez and Will Stevens won the LMP2 championship. Rast put a move on Phil Hanson's No. 22 United Autosports Oreca midway through the third hour to take the lead. Hanson's teammate Filipe Albuquerque led the race from the start, passing Ferdinand Habsburg's Realteam by WRT car on the opening lap. However, the Portuguese racer was adjudged to have abused track limits to take the lead. Rast and Frijns helped WRT consolidate the lead in the ultra-competitive field.
Alex Lynn said (23 United Autosports) “I think this race was a good one. We had a good day. Credit to my two teammates – Olly in particular was phenomenal. He deserved that result. I’ve had an amazing season with United – going onto new adventures next year but I’ve had a great time. It’s one I’ll never forget.”
The sister No. 23 United Autosports USA car of Alex Lynn, Oliver Jarvis, and Josh Pierson took second place after a stellar race. The No. 38 JOTA Oreca of Da Costa, Gonzalez, and Stevens finished on the podium, which was enough points to win LMP2. The win added to their 24 Hours of Le Mans victory in June. Francois Perrodo, Nicklas Nielsen, and Alessio Rovera won LMP2 Pro/Am in the No.83 AF Corse Ferrari. Their late race scare with a splash-and-dash fuel stop wasn't enough to derail them.
The Ferrari LMGTE Pro team of Calado and Pier Guidi wins the title
James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi won the GT FIA World Endurance Drivers' and Manufacturers' titles at Bahrain International Circuit today.
After developing a gearbox problem in the seventh hour of the eight hour race, the pair had to nurse their Ferrari 488 GTE Evo to the finish.
No. The No. 52 Ferrari 488 GTE Evo driven by Molina and Fuoco beat the No. 64 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R driven by Nick Tandy and Tommy Milner, and No. 92 Porsche Team GT Team run Porsche 911 RSR-19 of Kevin Estre and Michael Christensen finished third.
After overtaking his direct rivals at the start, Estre engaged in a fierce battle with Fuoco's No. 52 Ferrari for the LMGTE Pro lead. In the second hour, Fuoco, Estre and Bruni pitted before the first of three Full Course Yellows. In contrast, Ferrari's Calado and Corvette's Tandy pitted during the caution period. They won because of this, and Calado and Tandy ran first and second. The Ferrari team took up a 1-2 formation midway through the race with Molina passing Calado. Calado's gearbox problem in the seventh hour turned the title race upside down. Despite the issue, he and Pier Guidi made it to the chequered flag and savoured their victory.
“The car was fine when I jumped in and then I heard a funny noise in fourth gear,” said Calado after the race.
“I was like this was really bad and then it seized and then we didn't have any gears, we were stuck in fifth.
“I thought it was over. That's why you saw the emotion but we never gave up and so we're three times world champions.”
Second place for Corvette Racing was a great way to round out a great first season in the WEC for the U.S team. Kevin Estre and Michael Christensen rounded out the podium in the No.92 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR-19. Their late pit stop by Gimmi Bruni helped them finish third, good enough for second in the standings.
The title goes to TF Sport; the race goes to Team Project 1
The LMGTE am championship was won by Ben Keating and Marco Sorensen. They finished fourth, alongside teammate Henrique Chaves. They finished fourth in the LMGTE Am class today, which was enough for silverware. Their closest rivals, Paul Dalla Lana, David Pittard, and Nicki Thiim in the NorthWest Aston Martin, finished just behind them in fifth place.
Keating qualified second and ran a punishing triple stint at the start of the race, which gave the team the most flexible strategy for the remainder of the race. This proved the correct decision as the #33 trio – who lost ground thanks to a pair of unfortunately-timed Full-Course Yellow periods immediately after their first two green-flag pitstops – bounced back to finish fourth; winning by 23 points over NorthWest AMR, who came in fifth.
The No. 46 Team Project 1 Porsche driven by Matteo Cairoli, Niki Leutwiler and Mikkel Pedersen won their first race of the 2022 season with Cairoli making a move on Rahel Frey's No. 85 Iron Dames Ferrari. From pole position, Frey led for most of the race with Iron Dames teammates Michelle Gatting and Sarah Bovy.
Ben Barnicoat in the No.56 Project 1 Porsche 911 RSR-19 beat Michelle Gatting for second in the final minutes of the race, so they couldn't match their runners-up positions from Monza and Fuji. PJ Hyett and Gunnar Jeanette, Barnicoat's new teammates for the weekend, helped the Germans finish 1-2.