Toyota sovereign, Ferrari and the trembling world champion

Toyota sovereign, Ferrari and the trembling world champion

( – Topic decisions across the board: The 8 Hours of Bahrain ended the 2022 World Endurance Championship (WEC) with confident and not-so-confident decisions. In the hypercar class, the Balance of Performance (BoP) decided in favor of Toyota. In GTE Pro, on the other hand, there was the Ferrari name and the drama. (Results 8h Bahrain 2022)

Brendon Hartley, Ryo Hirakawa and Sebastien Buemi gave Toyota their fourth consecutive world title.


The race was a showcase for the Toyota GR010 Hybrids, which claimed a one-two. Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez took the win. Toyota exchanged positions after more than three hours because car number 7 was faster.

Sebastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley and Ryo Hirakawa took second place and are now world champions. After two world championships for #7, #8 is now back. For Buemi it is the third world title after 2014 and 2019, for Hartley after 2015 and 2017 (both with Porsche) also number three, but the first with Toyota, for Hirakawa it is the first FIA world championship.

Photo: WEC 2022: Bahrain 8 Hours, race

The only significant competition came from Peugeot. But the 9X8 still showed teething problems, it had to spin several times in the race and ended up in the garage several times.

Of the Peugeots, only the #94 (Duval/Menezes/Müller) finished, but all 9X8s had several problems. #93 (di Resta/Jensen/Vergne) retired due to gearbox damage.

This paved the way for Alpine #36 (Negrao/Lapierre/Vaxiviere) to at least finish third. That was already more than I could do on my own. The Alpine A480 was so poor at BoP that a Toyota attack was out of the question.

8 Hours Bahrain 2022: Race Highlights

Highlights from the Bahrain 8 Hours, the 2022 World Endurance Championship (WEC) season finale

In the end, Toyota Gazoo Racing missed more than two laps. The fact that Alpine hid the BoP issue from its communications all weekend shows that they had already accepted early on that they were not allowed to win the world title with the “super car” of LMP1. Signatech-Alpine will return to the top division in 2024 with LMDh.

Jota is struggling

The LMP2 title can only lead through Antonio Felix da Costa, Roberto Gonzales and Will Stevens. But the Jota-Oreca #38 wasn’t the strongest car all weekend. However, the trio overcame all obstacles and took the title in third place. P6 would be enough.

Despite a momentary clash when grabbing the #31 WRT-Oreca, Sean Gelael, Robin Frijns and Rene Rast took the win. He never seemed to be threatened in the future, except for the collision. But the collision penalty was taken by Inter-Europol-Oreca #34 (Smiechowski/Brundle/Gutierrez).

In the end, the lead was nearly 50 seconds over the United Autosports Oreca #23 (Lynn/Jarvis/Pierson). Jota was already lap down because they crossed the line behind the winning Toyota.

Just behind them, Prema-Oreca #9 (Kubica/Deletraz/Colombo) and WRT-Oreca #41 (Andrade/Habsburg/Nato) missed out on the podium by a few seconds due to a late descent and descent.

In LMP2 Pro-Am, Francois Perrodo, Nicklas Nielsen and Alessio Rovera took the AF Corse title. After two titles in GTE Am, this is the third championship that Perrodo and Nielsen have won. Rovera has been involved in two titles.

Interesting decision by GTE Pro

In fact, the race seemed already decided: Full Course Yellow (FCY) after 65 minutes washed the Ferrari #51 of James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi in front of the field because the Porsches and #52 (Molina/Fuoco) were ready. there it was standing.

Number 51 was therefore definitely on the way to victory. The #64 Corvette (Milner/Tandy) also benefited and moved up to second place. #92 Porsche (Christensen/Estre), on the other hand, grabbed the toilet twice and stopped twice in front of FCY.

Everything seemed already decided. But then, at the beginning of the last hour, the fourth gear on Ferrari # 51 suddenly gave up. Within half an hour, the car dropped back to fifth place. At first you skipped fourth gear when shifting gears, but soon the car was just spinning on the course in fifth gear.

Now the cards were completely changed. No. 52 led to victory, Bruni could increase his championship chances by defeating the Corvette. This looked out of place at the start of the race, but woke up at dawn and benefited from the track position due to the first FCY.

Bruni couldn’t pass the Corvette. But that no longer mattered because Ferrari finished ahead of the GTE-Am cars, which meant the world title. The #51 lost between five and eight seconds per lap to the GTE-Am leader. But when problems arose, they were already four laps behind.

Ferrari survived the ordeal despite using fourth gear everywhere in the gear oil and finished the lap ahead of the GTE-Am field. James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi thus managed to defend their title after the title they won controversially the previous year. These are the last champions of the GTE Pro class, which will be discontinued in 2023.

The first WEC title for TF Sport

GTE Am was the most exciting of all the classes in the fight for the race win. For a long time everything looked like the “Iron Dames” Rahel Frey, Sarah Bovy and Michelle Gatting would come through. But in the last hour they returned to third place. Instead, Project 1 won twice with two Porsche 911 RSR-19s.

Matteo Cairoli, Mikkel Pedersen and Nicolas Leutwiler led the #46 to their first win of the season. Ten minutes from time, Ben Barnicoat passed Michelle Gatting to give Phillip “PJ” Hyett and Gunnar Jeanette second place in their single heat.

The title was celebrated off stage. Ben Keating finally nailed it; he secured the championship with fourth place in the #33 TF Sport Aston-Martin with Henrique Chaves and Marco Sörensen because the rival Prodrive-Aston-Martin #98 (Dalla Lana/Pittard/Thiim) did not finish fifth. Like TF Sport, it is the first name in the WEC for the car wholesaler from Texas.

As already mentioned, the GTE Pro category will no longer be used in 2023. It was also the last race for an LMP1 car in the WEC. A new era will begin in 2023, when many new cars based on the LMH and LMDh formula will debut.