Bahrain International Circuit (BIC), “The Home of Motorsport in the Middle East”, hosted a historic FIA WEC 8 Hours of Bahrain last weekend, marking the final round of the 2019/2020 World Endurance Championship (WEC) season.
Toyota Gazoo Racing powered to an impressive one-two overall victory in a thriller. The crew of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez steered their no. 7 TS050 Hybrid to the win, 1min 04.594secs ahead of teammates Sebastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakijima and Brendon Hartley in the no. 8 TS050. Both cars completed 263 laps.
The result earned Conway, Kobayashi and Lopez enough points to clinch the season’s coveted FIA World Endurance LMP Drivers’ Championship. Their drivers’ crown added to Toyota Gazoo Racing’s FIA World Endurance LMP1 Championship, one of three titles already secured heading into the season-finale in Sakhir.
It was a fitting ending to an extraordinary season for the Japanese manufacturers, who won six of the eight rounds this campaign. It also capped Toyota’s successful run since 2012 in the WEC’s top-tier LMP1 class, which made its final competitive appearance in Bahrain before being replaced by the all-new Le Mans Hypercars class from 2021 onwards.
Joining the two Toyota crews on the 8 Hours of Bahrain’s overall podium were the Jackie Chan DC Racing crew of Ho-Pin Tung, Gabriel Aubry and Will Stevens, who shared the duties in their no. 37 Oreca 07-Gibson. They were also the winners in the race’s LMP2 class.
Meanwhile, clinching first place in the LMGTE Pro category was the Porsche GT Team duo of Michael Christensen and Kevin Estre driving the no. 92 Porsche 911 RSR-19, while winning the LMGTE Am class were the Team Project 1 trio of Egidio Perfetti, Larry Ten Voorde and Matteo Cairoli, who were at the wheel of their no. 56 Porsche 911 RSR.
BIC Chief Executive Shaikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa commented: “Congratulations to Toyota Gazoo Racing on their overall race victory, as well as to Jackie Chan DC Racing, Porsche GT Team and Team Project 1 for winning their respective categories.
“It was a thrilling event with plenty of excitement throughout. We are truly honoured to have hosted such a historic occasion for the WEC, and a job well done to the newly crowned champions!
“We look forward to the 2021 WEC season and to welcoming back the world’s top endurance racers to Bahrain and BIC.”
A total of 24 cars in the four competition categories battled in this year’s race, which started in daylight conditions before ending at night under BIC’s bright floodlights.
Four other titles were sealed at BIC at the end of eight drama-filled hours of action.
Felipe Albuquerque and Philip Hanson won the FIA Endurance Trophy for LMP2 Drivers after finishing fourth in class along with teammate Paul Di Resta in their no. 22 United Autosports Oreca 07-Gibson. Their title added to the team’s FIA Endurance Trophy for LMP2 Teams, which they had already secured prior to the Bahrain finale.
The Aston Martin Racing pair of Marco Sorensen and Nicki Thiim captured the GT FIA World Endurance Drivers’ Championship despite finishing fifth in the LMGTE Pro category driving their no. 95 Vantage AMR. That secured a title double for Aston Martin, having also won this season’s GT Manufacturers FIA World Endurance Championship heading into the last round.
The AF Corse crew of Francois Perrodo, Emmanuel Collard and Nicklas Nielsen were second in class amongst the LMGTE Am runners in their no. 83 Ferrari 488 GTE EVO. That was enough for them to clinch both this season’s FIA Endurance Trophy for GTE Am Drivers and the FIA Endurance Trophy for GTE Am Teams trophy.
The FIA WEC 8 Hours of Bahrain took place with all precautionary guidelines in place issued by the Ministry of Youth and Sports Affairs and the Ministry of Health.
The WEC returns to BIC next year for the sixth and final round of the 2021 season, provisionally scheduled for the weekend of November 18 to 20.
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