Toyota reveals qualifying focus for Bahrain 8 Hours

Toyota has revealed its cars undertook multiple qualifying simulations in free practice for the Bahrain 8 Hours because of the importance of the point for pole in the title fight.

Toyota reveals qualifying focus for Bahrain 8 Hours

The Japanese manufacturer made the revelation after Kamui Kobayashi took pole position on Friday and moved closer to retaining the World Endurance Championship crown together with team-mates Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez in the #7 Toyota GR010 HYBRID.

The point that comes with pole means the drivers of the #7 car only need to finish the race on Saturday to win the title ahead of Brendon Hartley, who qualified second in the sister car, Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima.

Toyota Gazoo Racing Europe technical director Pascal Vasselon said: "The pole point was important and this is why the two cars have done qualy sims every single session.

"Both Kamui and Brendon have done four qualy runs: we never do that.

"Normally in our race preparation format we have one qualy sim, and that's it.

"This time there was a special effort [to prepare for qualifying]."

The two Toyota drivers went for a qualifying-style run at the start of each of the three sessions of free practice on a set of new Michelin tyres.

Hartley had topped the times in every practice session, but Kobayashi turned the tables when it mattered in qualifying on Friday evening.

#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota GR010 - Hybrid: Kamui Kobayashi

#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota GR010 - Hybrid: Kamui Kobayashi

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

Kobayashi admitted that he had been "pretty much struggling" on his qualifying simulations.

"To be honest I didn't expect this lap time, but Mike, Jose and the team helped me a lot to understand the car," he said after qualifying.

"We made a big adjustment and it worked well. I was happy with my lap and the team effort to achieve this pole position."

Kobayashi had complained of understeer after trailing Hartley by four tenths in qualifying for the first leg of the Bahrain double-header last weekend.

He improved by 1.2s from qualifying last week, whereas Hartley gained half a second.

Vasselon explained that the improvement in the qualifying times was partially due to the number of simulation runs in practice.

"I think the drivers get better and better the more qualy sims they do," explained Vasselon.

"As well, I think, Kamui underperformed [in qualifying] at the last race."

Read Also:

Vasselon also revealed that the two Toyotas are heading into Saturday's race with similar set-ups, unlike last weekend.

The drivers of #8 went for a more pointy car for the six hours, which resulted in too much oversteer and higher tyre degradation than on winning #7 car.

"Now the set-ups are not that different compared with the last race, so we don't expect such a big difference in tyre degradation," explained Vasselon.

He said that the team is also expecting less degradation this time because the majority of the race will take place after sunset, whereas the six-hour race ran only during the daytime.

Pole for the #8 Toyota would have allowed Hartley, Buemi and Nakajima to take the title if they won and the sister car finished third.

shares
comments

Related video

WEC stewards reject BoP protest from AF Corse Ferrari in Bahrain
Previous article

WEC stewards reject BoP protest from AF Corse Ferrari in Bahrain

Next article

WEC Bahrain 8 Hours: Toyota's #8 team leads at halfway point

WEC Bahrain 8 Hours: Toyota's #8 team leads at halfway point
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
The British rookies targeting a good first impression at Le Mans Plus

The British rookies targeting a good first impression at Le Mans

Three young Britons will make their first starts in the Le Mans 24 Hours this weekend in the highly-competitive 23-car GTE Am field. But how did they get here? Autosport hears their stories.

Le Mans
Jun 7, 2022