Published on December 16th, 2019 | by Subhash Nair0
Toyota GAZOO Racing Earns Double Podium in Bahrain
The Toyota GAZOO Racing team took home a double podium at the 8 Hours of Bahrain this week. It’s their third WEC win of the season.
Here’s the full race report with more.
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing earned its third win of the 2019-2020 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) season with a hard-fought one-two victory in the 8 Hours of Bahrain.
For this race, the World Champions faced a severe success handicap, which reduces hybrid and fuel use per lap, but overcame a strong challenge thanks to strong strategy, fast pit stops and consistent performance, as well as impressive reliability over the 1,390km race.
Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López, in the #7 TS050 HYBRID, won for the second time this season to retake the lead in the drivers’ World Championship.
The #8 TS050 HYBRID of Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Brendon Hartley, battling a success handicap 0.21secs per lap more than its sister car, finished a lap behind in second to complete a perfect result for the team; a third one-two from four races this season.
A dramatic start saw the #5 Ginetta hit the pole position #1 Rebellion, pushing both cars into a spin which caught up Sébastien in the #8, damaging his front left bodywork. While Sébastien, who had started third, dropped to 10th as a result, Mike avoided the debris from fourth on the grid and took the lead.
Following a safety car, Sébastien got the #8 up to third by the 10th lap, while Mike extended the #7 car’s lead as the first fuel stops approached. Mike emerged with a lead of over 30 seconds from the #6 Ginetta but Sébastien, whose #8 required a front bodywork change, came out fourth.
Over the next half an hour, Sébastien pushed to catch the top three and his efforts paid off; after a close fight with the #6 Ginetta, he took third on lap 43. Soon after the 90-minute mark, Mike handed the leading #7 to Kamui while Brendon took over the #8, with both cars on new tyres.
With two-and-a-half hours gone, the race took a twist when the #1 Rebellion, which had been pushing hard to close the gap to Kamui in the #7, lost five minutes in the pits due to a technical problem. That lifted Brendon up to second in the #8 car, although more than a minute adrift of Kamui.
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing was in control of the race, with its nearest challenger, the #5 Ginetta, two laps behind following a troubled first part of its race. With three-and-a-half hours remaining, that car’s difficulties continued and it stopped at the side of the track, promoting the #1 Rebellion to third, three laps behind.
Long after darkness fell on the Bahrain International Circuit, and with that comfortable cushion, neither TS050 HYBRID took any risks over the remainder of the race, which finished with only three LMP1 cars running following the retirement of both Ginettas.
José was at the wheel of the #7 when it took the chequered flag to win after 257 laps, establishing an eight-point lead in the drivers’ World Championship ahead of the #8 crew, for whom Kazuki brought the car home in second. TOYOTA GAZOO Racing holds a 41-point advantage over Rebellion in the teams’ standings.
The World Championship battle will resume in the new year, returning to Austin, Texas following a two-year absence for the 6 Hours of Circuit of the Americas on 23 February, the first of a double-header in the United States with the 1000 Miles of Sebring following on 20 March.