All but the most hardened Audi fans were pleased to see a first race win of the season for Toyota in Bahrain this weekend. In an attritional race that saw only 2 LMP1 cars reach the finish line, the No. 8 TS030 Toyota claimed the win with Ant Davidson, Stephane Sarrazin & Sebastien Buemi bringing their car home ahead of the Audi No. 1 car with Andre Lotterer, Benoit Treluyer and Marcel Fassler completing the class field. Engine failures and drive train issues saw early ends for the other Toyota and Audi cars as well as the usually reliable Rebellion Racing team. Despite the No. 2 Audi being retired before the halfway point in this race, they were still crowned World Endurance Champions for 2013 and will claim the No 1 car for 2014.
FIA WEC 6 Hours of Bahrain 5
In LMP2 the Bahrain race win went to G-Drive Racing’s No. 26 Oreca Nissan. This was their fourth win of an impressive season. However, a second place finish in Bahrain for the No. 24 Oak Racing Morgan Nissan of Pla, Brundle and Heinemeier-Hansson was enough to give the well prepared French team the LMP2 teams title. The No. 35 Oak Racing car drove a conservative race on this occasion, but they knew fourth place here would be enough to claim the LMP2 world driver’s title for Plowman, Baguette and Gonzalez to add to their success at Le Mans.
FIA WEC 6 Hours of Bahrain 2
There was further late drama in the GTE Pro class in Bahrain. A final hour retirement for the unfortunate No. 99 Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage enabled the No. 51 AF Corse F458 Italia Ferrari to retain the LMGTE Pro manufacturers and drivers titles for 2014. The 2014 season has seen wins for Porsche & Aston Martin at various times throughout the year (including Porsche’s win at Le Mans) but the consistency of the AF Corse team & Gianmaria Bruni eventually enabled them to retain their titles.
FIA WEC 6 Hours of Bahrain 3
There was a Bahrain race win for Aston Martin in the GTE AM class. A first win of the year in fact for the No. 95 car of Nygaard, Poulsen and Thiim that had previously retired from the lead on 3 different occasions. The 2014 season driver’s title also went to an Aston Martin crew, this time for Stuart Hall and Jamie Campbell-Walter who have had a memorable year. Second in GTE AM at Bahrain was the bright orange Ferrari of 8Star Motorsport. This result was enough to give the LMGTE Am team’s title to the American team after claiming an impressive 5 podiums and a 100% finishing record in the FIA WEC this year.
FIA WEC 6 Hours of Bahrain 1
So with the FIA World Endurance Championship for 2013 concluded, thoughts and plans for teams, drivers and race fans turn to the 2014 season, where rules and regulations changes mean new cars for Audi and Toyota and new challenges in the form of Porsche returning to the LMP1 class.
FIA WEC 6 Hours of Bahrain 4
Report: Richard Webb