Won the battle but lost the battle. This is how the final race of the 2021 WEC season, the 8h of Bahrain, can be summarized from the point of view of Toyota # 8. Buemi / Nakajima / Hartley won the race, but the title went to Conway / Kobayashi / Lopez. The # 8 crew spoke openly about the secret of racing success after the race.
“We did what we call copy-paste. Basically, we took over the set-up from Auto # 7 to make sure we didn’t get that kind of wear and tear anymore [wie bei den 6h] and that was obviously the right decision, “admitted Sebastien Buemi of Toyota Crew # 8.
Toyota # 8 copies vote
Teammate Brendon Hartley confirms what Buemi has already stated: “We are as a team [beim 6h-Rennen] The vote went in the wrong direction. “The race a week ago was a clear affair for the # 7 Toyota. The # 8 sister car was more than 50 seconds away.
Buemi / Nakajima / Hartley had to contend with apparently high tire consumption as well as unsuccessful pit stops and vibrations. The # 8 was only able to keep up with the # 7 in the first third of the race. At the season finale, thanks to the new set-up, they presented themselves in a better shape. From the second hour the race was under control.
By the way, there was help from # 7 of all places. “After the 6h race I recommended to the # 8 guys in qualifying to copy our set-up and they kind of refused, so it’s a bit of a surprise. But they noticed after the race that it was better to go copy and they won the race, “laughs Kamui Kobayashi.
Kazuki Nakajima ends WEC career with victory
The move paid off and the # 8 Toyota took victory in Kazuki Nakajima’s last WEC race. The Japanese had announced that he would no longer compete in the World Endurance Championship, but that Toyota would remain in some capacity.
“I have to be very satisfied with the end of my WEC career. I am very happy to be with such nice team-mates. And we fought very hard as a team right up to the end Reason to keep under control ourselves. We managed to win the race together, “said Nakajima happily.
And the teammates are happy with the three-time Le Mans winner and WEC champion of 2018/19. “The fact that he does so well is an incredible achievement that he has achieved in the last two weeks. I am proud of him and I wish him all the best for the future,” said Hartley after his success in the 2021 WEC final.
World title for Toyota # 7 with historic dimensions
However, the success doesn’t change anything about the world title for the # 7. After qualifying it was already clear that Conway / Kobayashi / Lopez would be enough for a third place in the race for the championship. The trio made history: Mike Conway is the first Briton since Derek Bell to become world endurance champion twice in a row. And Jose Maria Lopez equalized the five world titles of compatriot and Formula 1 legend Juan Manuel Fangio.
“It’s nice to be part of this club. Winning the title two times in a row is an incredible feeling, and winning Le Mans this year was really the highlight of the season. Without the two guys next to me I would have We couldn’t do that. Kamui and Jose did a fantastic job all year, “said Conway.
“Of course it is a privilege to represent my country as well. I know that Fangio also made it in Formula 1. But you can’t compare it, and yet it is always a privilege to wave my flag all over the world Thanks to everyone who was involved, “said Lopez at the press conference after the race.
Will Conway / Kobayashi / Lopez be able to defend their title again next year? The 2022 season, which begins in March with the Sebring 1,000 miles, will tell. Then Toyota meets a new competitor in the hypercar class: Peugeot.