Toyota Gazoo Racing sealed the manufacturers’ and the drivers’ title at the 8 Hours of Bahrain following a comfortable victory for the #7 crew. Once again the GTE Pro title fight went right down to the wire after a nail-biting eight-hour battle.
The pair of works Toyotas once again proved to be the class of the Hypercar field at the Bahrain International Circuit. The Japanese squad enjoyed a relatively trouble-free race and comfortably drove home their advantage.
In the early stages it was the #8 Toyota that made the good running, chased by the #93 Peugeot and the sister #7 Toyota. However, once Mike Conway and then Kamui Kobayashi took over the #7 GR010 Hybrid, they caught and passed the sister car and managed to maintain the lead until the chequered flag.
Alpine, who went into the final race level on points in the drivers’ championship, finished a creditable third but didn’t look likely to trouble the factory Toyotas on pace. A podium finish was still a fitting end for the final outing of an LMP1 car.
Peugeot continued their upward progression, but it was another race of struggles for the French team. The #93 car stopped on track after a couple of hours with gearbox problems and would ultimately end the race in the garage after running for around six hours. The #94 car finished well in fourth position, six laps off the leaders.
GTE Pro era ends with a nail-biter
The final GTE Pro race in the World Endurance Championship reached spectactular climax as Ferrari and Porsche once again went head-to-head for title glory at the 8 Hours of Bahrain.
An early full course yellow period after one hour of the race mixed up the order completely, as some cars stopped for fuel while the track was green and others pitted under the FCY, saving time in the process.
The unfortunate timing cost Porsche dearly and handed the advantage to Ferrari. The #51 and #52 cars were running first and second at the halfway stage and looked to be in a comfortable position to secure both the drivers’ and manufacturers’ titles.
However, with two hours of the race remaining, James Calado in the #51 machine complained of gearbox issues and the loss of 4th gear. From then on the Ferrari 488 was around 8 to 10 seconds off the pace, slipping further and further back through the field.
With Calado and the Pier Guidi nursing their car home and running in fifth and their teammates in the #52 leading, Richard Lietz and Gianmaria Bruni had to finish second to win the drivers’ championship for Bruni. Despite their best efforts, third was all they could manage – and so both titles went to Maranello for the second year in succession.
Win for WRT, title for JOTA
WRT scored its third win of the season in the LMP2 class after a commanding performance by the Sean Galael, Robin Frijns and René Rast. Second was the #23 United Autosports crew of Jarvis/Lynn/Pierson.
Third position and the title went the way of British team JOTA and the #38 of Antonio Felix da Costa, Will Stevens and Roberto Gonzalez.
Project 1-2 in GTE Am
Project 1 finished 2022 in style with a one-two finish in the GTE Am category. Matteo Cairoli, Mikkel Pedersen and Nicky Leutwiler came home in first position by some 15 seconds ahead of the sister car.
Ben Barnicoat took second for the #56 Project 1 Porsche after overtaking the #85 Iron Dames Ferrari with five minutes of the race remaining. The title went to Ben Keating’s #33 TF Sport Aston Martin.
Click here for a full list of results from the 8 Hours of Bahrain.