8H Bahrain: #8 Toyota wins final race, controversy follows tension in GTE-Pro

The #8 Toyota won the 8 Hours of Bahrain as the #7 crew won their second consecutive WEC championship amongst other title winners.

Season 9 officially concluded a thrilling Bahrain double-header finale as several teams and drivers ended their respective championship title fights as victors.

Hypercar, LMP2 and GTE-Am won their Drivers’ and Teams’ titles in dominant triumph whilst it was tension in GTE-Pro with it going down to the wire – ending a gripping fight in controversy.

Upon entry into the penultimate hour, GTE-Am continued to deliver with all-out duels as the #47 of Antonio Fuoco fought intensely with Jaxon Evans in the #77. Evans was victorious between their duel.

An hour and a half before the end marked the final professional motorsport outing for Anthony Davidson.

At a similar time, the #8 was taken over by Kazuki Nakajima who would take the car to his final WEC victory for Toyota GAZOO Racing and in his professional motorsport career.

GTE-Pro carried the fight for the Drivers’ and Manufacturers’ titles right from the start to the end after a plethora of tension between the #92 and #51.

Into the final hour, the #92 of Tom Christensen (not directly in for the Drivers’ title as he is a third driver in the car) and the #51 of Pier Guidi fought door-to-door and nose to tail right until to the end.

The gap was under a second with 35 minutes to go, and it only narrowed from thereon to the closing stages.

At 12 minutes remaining, the two battled intensely until Pier Guidi seemingly nudged the back of the Porsche at the final corner, as the #22 of Filipe Albuquerque was passing (safely and uninvolved) the two.

The order to give back the position was given upon the #51, which then followed with a splash-and-dash fuel stop by the #92. AF Corse’s #51 did the same on the next lap.

Ferrari secured FIA WEC GT Manufacturers’ Championship title as the #51 duo of Calado and Pier Guidi landed their second World Drivers’ Championship.

In GTE-Am, the #83 AF Corse of François Perrodo, Nicklas Nielsen and Alessio Rovera (with his first) won a consecutive championship title (Drivers’ and Teams’) in Bahrain after last year. This crew will return next year in a LMP2 Oreca 07 efforted by AF Corse.

Team WRT won their first WEC LMP2 championship title in their maiden full season, a debuting effort for all their drivers: Charles Milesi, Ferdinand Habsburg and Robin Frijns.

And the first ever LMP2 Pro/Am Drivers’ and Teams’ titles went to the #29 Racing Team Nederland crew of Guido Van Der Garde, Frits Van Eerd and Job Van Uitert.

At the end, Alpine finished third overall behind the two Toyotas since their gearbox troubles at the first hour.

The #7 crew of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez secured their second WEC championship to add to their Le Mans victory.

Nakajima drove the #8 GR010 Hybrid to his final victory of his professional motorsport career.

Editor’s note: The assessment of the GTE-Pro winners is an ongoing and as yet unconfirmed situation. So far, a protest from Porsche was rejected by the stewards (Document 56 – Decision 34).

07/11/21 – Porsche have now appealed against their protest rejection which will likely bring the case to the FIA International Court of Appeal.

10/11/21 – Porsche has withdrawn their legal fight.

OVERALL POSITION TEAM (PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION)
1 #8 Toyota GAZOO Racing [HYPERCAR]
2 #7 Toyota GAZOO Racing [HYPERCAR]
3 #36 Alpine Elf Matmut [HYPERCAR]
4 #31 Team WRT [LMP2]
5 #38 JOTA [LMP2]
6 #28 JOTA [LMP2]
7 #22 United Autosports [LMP2]
8 #34 Inter Europol Competition (Pro/Am) [LMP2]
9 #29 Racing Team Nederland (Pro/Am) [LMP2]
10 #70 Realteam Racing (Pro/Am) [LMP2]
11 #20 High Class Racing (Pro/Am) [LMP2]
12 #1 Richard Mille Racing [LMP2]
13 #21 DragonSpeed USA (Pro/Am) [LMP2]
14 #44 ARC Bratislava (Pro/Am) [LMP2]
15 #51 AF Corse [GTE-PRO]*
16 #92 Porsche GT Team [GTE-PRO]*
17 #52 AF Corse [GTE-PRO]
18 #91 Porsche GT Team [GTE-PRO]
19 #83 AF Corse [GTE-AM]
20 #77 Dempsey-Proton Racing [GTE-AM]
21 #56 Team Project 1 [GTE-AM]
22 #47 Cetilar Racing [GTE-AM]
23 #57 Kessel Racing [GTE-AM]
24 #60 Iron Lynx [GTE-AM]
25 #54 AF Corse [GTE-AM]
26 #777 D’station Racing [GTE-AM]
27 #85 Iron Lynx [GTE-AM]
28 #86 GR Racing [GTE-AM]
29 #98 Aston Martin Racing [GTE-AM]
30 #33 TF Sport [GTE-AM] *DNF
31 #88 Dempsey-Proton Racing [GTE-AM] *DNF