TOYOTA GAZOO Racing secures driver and team double in Bahrain

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing, partnered by Acronis, added the drivers’ championship title to the team title it had already secured as Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López won the 2019-2020 FIA WEC title with victory in the 8 Hours of Bahrain.

The #7 TS050 HYBRID crew had been trailing on points to the sister car of Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Brendon Hartley. But they made up for yet another Le Mans 24 Hours disappointment by taking a dominant victory from the #8 team, who finished 64.594secs behind.

It was a fitting way in which to say goodbye to Toyota’s LMP1 era in endurance racing, in which the marque has participated since 2012. In its 64 races, the team has won 29 races, earned 26 pole positions and set 24 fastest laps, winning both the teams’ and drivers’ World Championship in three of its eight seasons.

Importantly, in this world of greater sustainability, the TS050 HYBRID has cut fuel consumption by 35% while lap times at Le Mans improved by around 10 seconds per lap, as well as recording the fastest-ever lap around the legendary Circuit de la Sarthe.

“Congratulations to Mike, Kamui and José on becoming World Champions,” commented Hisatake Murata, Team President. “Endurance racing is a team sport and the whole team deserves my congratulations for their performances this season; I am proud of their team spirit and determination. Thank you also to the championship and race organisers for their strong efforts which enabled us to complete the season despite the global circumstances, and to the fans for their continuing support of endurance racing.

“It is an emotional moment to see the final race of the LMP1 era and the last for our TS050 HYBRID. We have so many memories of the last eight seasons; we remember exciting races, great competitors and fantastic cars. We are proud to have been part of this period of endurance racing and we look forward to entertaining the fans in the new Hypercar era.”

WHAT THE DRIVERS SAID

Mike Conway (TS050 HYBRID #7):

“It’s a great feeling to be standing here as a World Champion at the end of a tough but fantastic season. I want to say a big thanks to the team for giving José, Kamui and me the chance to achieve this. The #7 crew and my team-mates did a perfect job throughout the season so this feels really good. I am a bit sad that this was the last race for the TS050 HYBRID but it finished perfectly for us.”

Kamui Kobayashi (TS050 HYBRID #7):

“Thank you very much for all the support from Japan and Cologne, especially looking back to the very hard work done on the TS050 since 2016. It has not been easy but now we have great memories with this car. The team won Le Mans three times and now we are the World Champions with the #7 car. We cannot ask for more than this result. But it’s not only achieved by the drivers. To the mechanics, engineers and everyone who worked on the project, thank you all so much.”

José María López (TS050 HYBRID #7):

“It’s a very special feeling to become a World Champion with a win today. I want to thank everyone back in Cologne and at Higashi-Fuji; everyone who worked on this fanatstic car for so many years. It has been an amazing season. We worked very hard for this and it’s a dream to become World Champion with Kamui and Mike; they have become like brothers to me. It’s really an amazing feeling.”

Sébastien Buemi (TS050 HYBRID #8):

“Congratulations to car #7 and congratulations to the team who did a race without mistakes. In our car, we did the best we could. The success handicap was quite strong but I am happy with the race we did; we did a perfect job but had no chance to win. That’s life. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Now that’s it for the TS050 HYBRID; I thought about this in my last laps of the race and enjoyed it.”

Kazuki Nakajima (TS050 HYBRID #8):

“Congratulations to the car #7 crew. They had a good season and deserve the title. We also had a good season with our Le Mans win, but due to the success handicap Bahrain was difficult for us. At one point we managed to make the race exciting which is a good achievement. Also thanks to our mechanics and engineers who did a great job throughout the season. Now I look forward to drive the Hypercar for the first time.”

Brendon Hartley (TS050 HYBRID #8):

“I think we did a really nice race on car #8. We knew that we were more than half a second down, so we really threw everything at it. On the average lap times we were good, but it was not enough today with the success handicap. Congratulations to car #7 who did not make any mistakes. They did the job and deserve the drivers’ World Championship.”

Fraser Masefield

Fraser Masefield

Sports news and features writer, web editor and author.