Hirakawa leads home historic home 1-2 for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing at Fuji

The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WEC team, partnered by Acronis, achieved a historic fifth consecutive victory at its home circuit of Fuji as the #8 GR010 HYBRID Hypercar of Sébastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley and Ryo Hirakawa took the chequered flag ahead of teammates and World Champions Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López.

After a two-year absence from Fuji following the COVID-19 pandemic, the #8 crew fought from second on the grid to pass the sister Toyota and earn their second victory of the season following their Le Mans 24 Hours triumph.

With the #7 team coming home 1min 8.382secs behind the victors, it also meant that it was TOYOTA GAZOO Racing’s eighth win in nine races and its 37th from 75 hybrid-powered WEC races since 2012.

“Our home WEC race was held for the first time in three years and our GR010 HYBRID was able to drive at Fuji Speedway for the first time,” commented team founder Akio Toyoda after another momentous win. “Thank you to everyone who made such a strong effort to hold this event.

Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) Koji Sato (JPN) President Gazoo Racing Company TOYOTA GAZOO Racing. World Endurance Championship. 6 Hours of Fuji Fuji Speedway, Japan 8th to 11th September 2022

“At Fuji Speedway, the fans were cheering us on, saying “Welcome back!” We are really glad that we were able to respond to that great support with a one-two finish, to say “We’re home”. I would like to thank all the team members, including the Team Principal Kamui. Thank you all!”

Although it was the #7 car that started from pole position and led the race with Kobayashi maintaining a narrow lead over Buemi, it was the Swiss driver who made the decisive move on lap 64. From then on, the #8 crew began to extend their lead, Hartley handing over to Hirakawa for the Japanese to fittingly take the chequered flag at his home race.

“Fuji is my home track and the place where I grew up as a racing driver, so it is emotional to win here in a World Championship race,” said Hirakawa after one of the most memorable victories of his career. “After winning Le Mans, I came here and really wanted to win my home race so I felt a bit of pressure. But the whole team did a great job. I enjoyed my two stints and it was a great feeling to take the chequered flag.

Importantly and perhaps decisively, victory for Hirakawa’s #8 team now means that TOYOTA GAZOO Racing extends its lead over Alpine to 26 points in the manufacturers’ standings while the #8 crew are now level on points with Alpine going into the final race in Bahrain on 12 November.

“Now we are joint leaders of the World Championship and I think we are in good shape going into the last race of the season,” added Hirakawa. “We will enjoy this result tonight and then focus on winning the World Championship in Bahrain.”



Acronis are proud to be the official Artificial Intelligence Partner of the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing team, helping the team perform to the best of their capabilities through machine learning. To find out more, please click here.


Fraser Masefield

Sports news and features writer, web editor and author.