WEC Bahrain: #8 Toyota wins title; Ferrari hangs on to take GTE Pro crown

Toyota clinched the World Endurance Championship title for a fourth season in succession after Alpine struggled for pace in the year-closing Bahrain 8 Hours.

Brendon Hartley, Sebastien Buemi and Ryo Hirakawa were crowned the 2022 Hypercar champions in the #8 Toyota GR010 HYBRID after the trio finished second behind the race-winning #7 car of Jose Maria Lopez, Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi in the finale.

The #8 Toyota crew sat only one point clear of Alpine trio Nicolas Lapierre, Matthieu Vaxiviere and Andre Negrao going into the race, but the #36 A480-Gibson turned out to be the slowest car in the Hypercar field and could only finish third, giving the Japanese manufacturer a relatively easy run to the title.

Buemi, Hartley and Hirakawa, however, didn’t seal the crown with a third win of the season, having been ordered by Toyota to let the #7 car through into the lead during the third hour of the race.

The #8 GR010 HYBRID had initially been the quicker of the two cars from Toyota's stable but Conway was able to rapidly close in on polesitter Hartley after assuming driving duties from Lopez, prompting the Japanese manufacturer to order a swap.

Hartley, Buemi and Hirakawa lacked the speed to close back in on the #7 Toyota in the remainder of the race and eventually crossed the finish line more than 45 seconds adrift, but second place was enough to add the Hypercar title to the victory they scored at Le Mans 24 Hours in June.

Peugeot's challenge faded as Toyota ended the year with a 1-2 and the title

Peugeot's challenge faded as Toyota ended the year with a 1-2 and the title

Photo by: Toyota Racing

Alpine had qualified last in the five-car Hypercar field, and after some early-race heroics from Lapierre, the French manufacturer was unable to challenge either Toyota or Peugeot.

It was only reliability issues for the two Peugeot 9X8s that promoted Lapierre, Negrao and Vaxiviere to the final spot of the podium, but even then the trio finished two down in third in what was the last race for Alpine's ORECA-built LMP1 car.

The #94 Peugeot of Gustavo Menezes, Loic Duval and new recruit Nico Muller was the only car from the Stellantis brand that could see the chequered flag, as the #93 entry that had qualified on the front row retired during the penultimate hour.

Even the #94 Peugeot didn’t have an easy run and after a second stoppage just prior to the mid-race point of the race it spent several minutes in the garage, eventually finishing the race six laps down in the winning #7 Toyota.

Jota wins LMP2 title, WRT takes race win

Jota clinched the 2022 LMP2 title in Bahrain after Antonio Felix da Costa, Will Stevens and Roberto Gonzalez secured the requisite points with a third-place finish, as WRT ended the season with another fine victory.

With a 28-point lead in the standings thanks to a class victory at Le Mans, the #38 Jota crew only needed to finish inside the top seven in order to be guaranteed of a first LMP2 title in the WEC’s history.

Although da Costa, Stevens and Gonzalez weren’t able to trouble the frontrunners for victory, a podium was more than sufficient to see off the #23 United Autosports crew of Oliver Jarvis, Alex Lynn and Josh Pierson.

Gonzalez, da Costa and Stevens secured the LMP2 title for Jota by finishing third in class

Gonzalez, da Costa and Stevens secured the LMP2 title for Jota by finishing third in class

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

The #31 WRT of Robin Frijns, Rene Rast and Sean Gelael had qualified eighth in the LMP2 field, but a rapid first stint from Rast in the third hour propelled the squad into a lead that it wouldn’t relinquish for the remainder of the event.

It marked third victory of the season for the #31 WRT crew and the fourth of the year for the two-car Belgian squad, with the team’s sister Realteam-branded entry of Ferdinand Habsburg, Norman Nato and Rui Andrade having won at Monza.

Jarvis, Lynn and Pierson finished second in the race ahead of title winners da Costa, Stevens and Gonzalez, while Louis Deletraz, Robert Kubica and Lorenzo Colombo finished fourth for Prema after pitting under one of the full-course yellow periods.

The Pro/Am honours went to the AF Corse team after Nicklas Nielsen, Francois Perrodo and Alessio Rovera finished 10th among all LMP2 entrants. Its rival Algarve Pro team earned a late drivethrough penalty that left it 12th at the finish.

Ferrari clinches GTE Pro title despite late drama

Ferrari duo James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi clinched the last-ever GTE Pro title, despite the late drama that struck the #51 488 GTE car in the penultimate hour of the race.

Calado was running comfortably in second position, ahead of the sole Corvette C8.R and the two Porsches, when his car developed a serious gearbox problem that prevented him from engaging fourth gear.

Despite late gearbox dramas, Pier Guidi and Calado still secured the GTE Pro title in fifth as Porsche rivals Estre and Christensen endured a tough day

Despite late gearbox dramas, Pier Guidi and Calado still secured the GTE Pro title in fifth as Porsche rivals Estre and Christensen endured a tough day

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

Losing between five to eight seconds a lap, the #51 crew plummeted to last place in class and had to desperately try to nurse the car to the finish in order to bag the points for fifth place in the overall GTE standings.

Despite dropping four laps off the lead, Pier Guidi was able to bring the hobbled car home after taking over from team-mate Calado and, with the #92 Porsche of Kevin Estre and Michael Christensen failing to finish higher than third, Ferrari was able to defend its GTE Pro title.

The Italian manufacturer also clinched the race win courtesy of the #52 car driven by Antonio Fuoco and Miguel Molina, as Nick Tandy and Tommy Milner finished second for Corvette.

Going into the race, the #92 Porsche 911 RSR-19 of Michael Christensen and Kevin Estre was the Weissach manufacturer’s best bet for the title, three points clear of Bruni in the #91 car.

However, Christensen and Estre were twice unlucky with the timing of full-course yellows, with the first intervention at the beginning of hour two handing the lead to the #51 Ferrari and the third FCY after the midway point dropping them nearly a lap down of the leader.

They moved up to the final spot on the podium after Porsche brought in the #91 car shared by Bruni and Richard Lietz for a splash-and-dash on the race's final lap.

Aston clinches GTE Am title

The Project 1 Porsche team claimed a 1-2 finish in GTE Am, the #46 entry shared by Matteo Cairoli, Mikkel Pedersen and Nicolas Leutwiler winning from Ben Barnicoat, PJ Hyett and Gunnar Jeannette in the #56 car.

Keating and Sorensen secured the GTE Am title with fourth in their TF Sport Aston

Keating and Sorensen secured the GTE Am title with fourth in their TF Sport Aston

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

Both Proton machines were able to pass the #85 Iron Dames Ferrari of Michael Gatting, Rahel Frey and Sarah Bovy that led much of the race in the final two hours, demoting the all-female team to third.

The title went to the TF Sport Aston Martin team after Ben Keating, Henrique Chaves and Marco Sorensen finished fourth, ahead of the only car that could beat it to the title - the similar Vantage GT3 of Nicki Thiim, Paul Dalla Lana and David Pittard entered by Northwest AMR.

WEC Bahrain 8 Hours - Race Results

Cla   # Drivers Car Class Laps Gap
1   7 United Kingdom Mike Conway
Japan Kamui Kobayashi
Argentina Jose Maria Lopez
Toyota GR010 - Hybrid HYPERCAR 245  
2   8 Switzerland Sébastien Buemi
New Zealand Brendon Hartley
Japan Ryo Hirakawa
Toyota GR010 - Hybrid HYPERCAR 245 45.471
3   36 Brazil Andre Negrao
France Nicolas Lapierre
France Matthieu Vaxiviere
Alpine A480 HYPERCAR 243  
4   94 France Loic Duval
United States Gustavo Menezes
Switzerland Nico Müller
Peugeot 9X8 HYPERCAR 239  
5   31 Indonesia Sean Gelael
Netherlands Robin Frijns
Germany René Rast
Oreca 07 LMP2 237  
6   23 United Kingdom Alex Lynn
United Kingdom Oliver Jarvis
United States Josh Pierson
Oreca 07 LMP2 237  
7   38 Mexico Roberto Gonzalez
Portugal Antonio Felix da Costa
United Kingdom Will Stevens
Oreca 07 LMP2 236  
8   9 Poland Robert Kubica
Switzerland Louis Deletraz
Italy Lorenzo Colombo
Oreca 07 LMP2 236  
9   41 Portugal Rui Andrade
Austria Ferdinand Habsburg
France Norman Nato
Oreca 07 LMP2 236  
10   22 United Kingdom Philip Hanson
Portugal Filipe Albuquerque
United States Will Owen
Oreca 07 LMP2 236  
11   28 Denmark Oliver Rasmussen
United Arab Emirates Ed Jones
South Africa Jonathan Aberdein
Oreca 07 LMP2 236  
12   1 France Lilou Wadoux
France Paul-Loup Chatin
France Charles Milesi
Oreca 07 LMP2 235  
13   10 Netherlands Renger van der Zande
Ireland Ryan Cullen
France Sébastien Bourdais
Oreca 07 LMP2 235  
14   83 France François Perrodo
Denmark Nicklas Nielsen
Italy Alessio Rovera
Oreca 07 LMP2 235  
15   35 France Jean Baptiste Lahaye
France Matthieu Lahaye
France François Heriau
Oreca 07 LMP2 235  
16   45 United States Thomas Steven
Australia James Allen
Austria Rene Binder
Oreca 07 LMP2 235  
17   52 Spain Miguel Molina
Italy Antonio Fuoco
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE PRO 231  
18   64 United States Tommy Milner
United Kingdom Nick Tandy
Chevrolet Corvette C8.R LMGTE PRO 230  
19   92 Denmark Michael Christensen
France Kevin Estre
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE PRO 230 15 Laps
20   91 Italy Gianmaria Bruni
Austria Richard Lietz
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE PRO 230 15 Laps
21   51 Italy Alessandro Pier Guidi
United Kingdom James Calado
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE PRO 227  
22   44 Slovakia Miro Konopka
Switzerland Mathias Beche
United Kingdom Richard Bradley
Oreca 07 LMP2 227 18 Laps
23   46 Italy Matteo Cairoli
Denmark Mikkel Pedersen
Switzerland Nicolas Leutwiler
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE AM 226  
24   56 PJ Hyett
United States Gunnar Jeannette
United Kingdom Ben Barnicoat
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE AM 226 19 Laps
25   85 Switzerland Rahel Frey
Denmark Michelle Gatting
Belgium Sarah Bovy
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 226 19 Laps
26   33 United States Ben Keating
Portugal Henrique Chaves Jr.
Denmark Marco Sorensen
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE AM 226 19 Laps
27   98 Canada Paul Dalla Lana
United Kingdom David Pittard
Denmark Nicki Thiim
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE AM 226 19 Laps
28   86 United Kingdom Michael Wainwright
Italy Riccardo Pera
United Kingdom Benjamin Barker
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE AM 226 19 Laps
29   54 Switzerland Thomas Flohr
Italy Francesco Castellacci
New Zealand Nick Cassidy
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 226 19 Laps
30   77 Germany Christian Ried
United Kingdom Sebastian Priaulx
United Kingdom Harry Tincknell
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE AM 226 19 Laps
31   60 Italy Claudio Schiavoni
Italy Matteo Cressoni
Italy Giancarlo Fisichella
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 225  
32   777 Japan Satoshi Hoshino
Japan Tomonobu Fujii
United Kingdom Charlie Fagg
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE AM 225 20 Laps
33   21 France Simon Mann
Switzerland Christoph Ulrich
Finland Toni Vilander
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 225 20 Laps
34   88 United States Fred Poordad
United States Patrick Lindsey
Belgium Jan Heylen
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE AM 224  
35   71 France Franck Dezoteux
France Pierre Ragues
France Gabriel Aubry
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 224 21 Laps
36   34 Poland Jakub Smiechowski
United Kingdom Alex Brundle
Mexico Esteban Gutierrez
Oreca 07 LMP2 231  
37   93 United Kingdom Paul di Resta
Denmark Mikkel Jensen
France Jean-Eric Vergne
Peugeot 9X8 HYPERCAR 171  
shares
comments
WEC Bahrain: Toyota in command at halfway mark, Ferrari leads GTE Pro
Previous article

WEC Bahrain: Toyota in command at halfway mark, Ferrari leads GTE Pro

Next article

Pier Guidi completed WEC finale using just fifth gear to secure GTE title

Pier Guidi completed WEC finale using just fifth gear to secure GTE title
The long road to convergence for sportscar racing's new golden age Plus

The long road to convergence for sportscar racing's new golden age

The organisers of the World Endurance Championship and IMSA SportsCar Championship worked together to devise the popular new LMDh rule set. But to turn it from an idea into reality, some serious compromises were involved - both from the prospective LMDh entrants and those with existing Le Mans Hypercar projects...

IMSA
Nov 25, 2022
How Porsche's Le Mans legend changed the game Plus

How Porsche's Le Mans legend changed the game

The 956 set the bar at the dawn of Group C 40 years ago, and that mark only rose higher through the 1980s, both in the world championship and in the US. It and its successor, the longer-wheelbase 962, were voted as Autosport's greatest sportscar in 2020 - here's why

WEC
Aug 25, 2022
Why BMW shouldn't be overlooked on its return to prototypes Plus

Why BMW shouldn't be overlooked on its return to prototypes

OPINION: While the focus has been on the exciting prospect of Ferrari vs Porsche at the Le Mans 24 Hours next year, BMW’s factory return to endurance racing should not be ignored. It won't be at the French classic next year as it focuses efforts on the IMSA SportsCar Championship, but could be a dark horse in 2024 when it returns to La Sarthe with the crack WRT squad

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2022
The problem sausage kerbs continue to cause Plus

The problem sausage kerbs continue to cause

Track limits are the problem that motorsport doesn't seem to be able to rid itself of. But the use of so-called 'sausage kerbs' as a deterrent has in several instances only served to worsen the problem, and a growing number of voices want to see action taken

Formula 1
Jul 18, 2022
The history lessons Peugeot should have learned on its return Plus

The history lessons Peugeot should have learned on its return

The Peugeot 9X8 will make its World Endurance Championship debut at Monza this weekend. The French manufacturer has gone radical and will be hoping it doesn’t need to overhaul its contender, as it did with its first Le Mans challenger…

WEC
Jul 8, 2022
Why Peugeot's sportscar return will capture the imagination Plus

Why Peugeot's sportscar return will capture the imagination

OPINION: Peugeot will make its World Endurance Championship debut at Monza this weekend with the 9X8 Le Mans Hypercar that has ignored design conventions by eschewing a rear wing. Its distinctive look will help sportscar racing appeal to fresh audiences as a new golden era is ushered in

WEC
Jul 7, 2022
How Formula E's double-duty drivers influenced their Le Mans teams' fortunes Plus

How Formula E's double-duty drivers influenced their Le Mans teams' fortunes

Eight Formula E drivers made the 7,000-mile sprint from the streets of Jakarta to the fabled Circuit de la Sarthe and every one had a story to share at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours. Despite a range of triumphs and disappointments, each driver doubling up on the day job played a key role in their teams' fortunes

Le Mans
Jun 14, 2022
How an Italian junior formula giant is readying for its Le Mans future Plus

How an Italian junior formula giant is readying for its Le Mans future

Prema remains a colossus in single-seaters, but the serial Formula 2 and Formula 3 title-winning squad has joined forces with top GT squad Iron Lynx for an attack on sportscars in the World Endurance Championship and European Le Mans Series. Ahead of its debut at the Le Mans 24 Hours, its sights are firmly fixed on LMP2 glory – and a future in Hypercars next year...

Le Mans
Jun 8, 2022