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WEC Bahrain

Conway: #7 Toyota crew faces "no pressure" in Bahrain WEC finale

Mike Conway isn’t "feeling any pressure” as he and his team-mates attempt to overturn a 15-point deficit to the sister Toyota in this weekend’s Bahrain World Endurance Championship finale.

#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota GR010 - Hybrid: Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez

The Briton insisted that there is no weight on the shoulders of the #7 Toyota car crew completed by Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez because the outcome of the championship is not in their hands. 

Sebastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley and Ryo Hirakawa in the #8 Toyota GR010 HYBRID Le Mans Hypercar will take the 2023 WEC drivers’ title if they finish second to their team-mates in the Bahrain 8 Hours on Saturday. 

“I don’t feel any pressure, because we don’t have control of our destiny,” Conway told Autosport. “I don’t feel that anything is on the line. 

“We are just focussed on winning the race, and whatever happens with #8 happens."

Conway and his team-mates fell 41 points behind the drivers of the sister Toyota after their retirement from the double-points Le Mans 24 Hours in June. 

He believed that they were out of the title race ahead of the final, three-race leg of the championship starting at Monza in July.  

“I felt going into Monza we were going to have to look after #8, but we’ve had a good run [with victories in Italy and then Fuji in September] and clawed our way back,” said Conway.

“We’ve just got to go out there and give it our all. 

Podium: #7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota GR010 - Hybrid: Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

Podium: #7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota GR010 - Hybrid: Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez

“If we can win another race, even if we don’t win the championship, we will have won five of seven, and it doesn’t get much better than that.”

A victory for the #7 Toyota with the #8 finishing third on Saturday would be good enough to give Conway, Kobayashi and Lopez the title.

So long as the #8 car doesn’t take the point for pole position, the two Toyotas crews would be tied on points and #7 drivers would take the title by virtue of having more victories, five to one. 

Buemi suggested that he and his team-mates were not going into the Bahrain weekend aiming to finish just behind their team-mates in order to secure the title. 

“We are approaching the race to try to win it,” he told Autosport. “We don’t want to think careful, careful and only focus on the championship. 

“Finishing second is not a given because the field is so close now, so you can’t go into the race thinking you can take a margin. 

“We want to go for the win: let’s just go and do our race.”

#51 Ferrari AF Corse Ferrari 499P: Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado, Antonio Giovinazzi

Photo by: Eric Le Galliot

#51 Ferrari AF Corse Ferrari 499P: Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado, Antonio Giovinazzi

The Le Mans-winning Ferrari 499P LMH crew of Antonio Giovinazzi, James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi retain a mathematical chance of taking the title in Bahrain. 

They sit 31 points behind the drivers of the #8 Toyota with only 39 up for grabs in the points-and-a-half event.

Toyota sealed the Hypercar manufacturers' title at Fuji with a 1-2 result.

Free practice for the Bahrain 8 Hours began on Thursday with the #7 Toyota setting the fastest time.

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