TOYOTA GAZOO RACING BACK IN BAHRAIN
Toyota Gazoo Racing will be looking to reassert their winning potential in the 8 Hours of Bahrain on Saturday (14 December), the fourth round of the 2019-2020 FIA World Endurance Championship.
In spite of missing out on victory in their last race, the team remain in pole position to retain their World Championship titles. Toyota Gazoo Racing have a 27 point lead in the teams’ title race, while the crew of the No8 TS050 Hybrid, Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Brendon Hartley, top the drivers’ championship standings, three points ahead of their No7 car team-mates Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López.
Victory for Rebellion Racing last time out in Shanghai reduced their advantage and illustrated the challenge to the efficiency of the Toyota TS050 Hybrid in its farewell season. Running with a maximum success handicap, the No8 car was second in China and the No7 third.
Compared to the last visit to Bahrain, in 2017, the Toyotas are permitted less hybrid power and less fuel per lap, while also weighing more, due to changes implemented under the WEC’s handicap system. As championship leader, the No8 car races with the maximum handicap of 2.72 seconds per lap, while the No7 has to yield 2.51 seconds per lap.
The team have a great record at the 3.4-mile Bahrain International Circuit, having won there three times. This year, for only the second time in the history of the WEC, the race will be contested over eight hours. It will start at 3pm local time and continue into darkness to the 11pm finish. Air temperatures around 25°C can be expected during the day, but conditions will be much cooler after sunset. The pre-race schedule is designed to give teams the opportunity to test set-ups in all conditions, with day and night practice sessions.
After the race the team will have just 11 hours before they are in action again, with the WEC rookie test beginning at 10am on Sunday. Toyota Gazoo Racing will give three new drivers the chance to try the TS050 Hybrid – Thomas Laurent, Kenta Yamashita and Nyck de Vries.
Sunday evening will feature the prize-giving ceremony for the 2018-2019 season, with Toyota Gazoo Racing and Buemi, Nakajima and Alonso collecting their championship trophies.