TOYOTA GAZOO RACING TAKE VICTORY IN BAHRAIN AND HOST ROOKIE TEST FOR DOUBLE FORMULA ONE CHAMPION FERNANDO ALONSO
Toyota Gazoo Racing closed their 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship campaign with an impressive fifth victory, winning the Bapco 6 Hours of Bahrain on Saturday.
Its work in the Gulf did not finish with the chequered flag, however, as the team hosted a rookie test session the following day with the two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso. Rising endurance star Thomas Laurent also had a try-out in the Toyota TS050 hybrid.
The season finale saw the No8 Toyota of Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima winning by more than a lap in what was Porsche’s final appearance in the championship’s top LMP1 class. Their success marked the first time since 1990 that a car crew had achieved the feat of five wins during a single season of the top international sportscar championship.
Unlucky contact with a GT car at around half-distance in the race hampered the efforts of the No7 Toyota of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López to seal a one-two results for the team. They eventually finished the day/night race in fourth place.
Celebrating the win, Davidson said: “It was a great race. All three drivers, plus the engineers and pit crew, deserve credit for this. Everyone did a perfect job this weekend; we hit the ground running and got the tyre choice just right, so a big thanks to the team. Thanks also to Porsche who have helped us to raise our level to new heights; it was a pleasure to race against them.”
The test session at the Bahrain International Circuit gave Fernando Alonso, who is interested by Le Mans and endurance racing in general, the chance to drive a state-of-the-art LMP1 race car. After completing 113 laps in the No8 Toyota he said: “It was a great day. Testing an LMP1 car is always a nice thing for any racing driver because these cars are amazing to drive. They are very consistent throughout a stint which is a positive thing. I have wanted to test a car like this for a long time now and today I could achieve that so I am happy.”
Thomas Laurent, 19, was given the chance to test with the team as a reward for his impressive performances in the WEC’s LMP2 category this year, including a second place finish at Le Mans. He completed 31 laps in the No7 Toyota.
6 Hours of Bahrain results:
1st #8 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing 199 laps
2nd #2 Porsche (Bernhard/Bamber/Hartley) +1 laps
3rd #1 Porsche (Jani/Lotterer/Tandy) +1 lap
4th #7 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing +3 laps
5th #31 Rebellion (Canal/Prost/Senna) +13 laps
6th #38 Jackie Chan (Tung/Jarvis/Laurent) +13 laps