Toyota and Alpine squads tied for Hypercar glory entering final round
Drivers’ title tie heading into finale
It’s tight at the top in the Hypercar class heading into the Bapco 8 Hours of Bahrain season-finale to the 2022 FIA World Endurance Championship, with the Hypercar World Endurance Drivers Championship seeing two squads enter the final race equal on points.
Both the #8 Toyota Gazoo Racing GR010 – Hybrid of Sébastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley and Ryo Hirakawa and the #36 Alpine Elf Team A480 Gibson of André Negrão, Nicolas Lapierre and Matthieu Vaxivière are tied on 121 points, with the #7 Toyota also in with a long shout for Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José Maria Lopez.
The Hypercar World Endurance Manufacturer’ Championship is less open, with Toyota on 147 points from Alpine, and Toyota need only for one of their Hypercars to be classified to take the title from the sole Alpine entry.
The Alpine can look to wins in Sebring and Monza, whilst Toyota were top in Spa-Francorchamps, Le Mans and last time out in their home Fuji event.
Toyota certainly has great form in Bahrain, with a seven-win tally since the start of WEC and Buemi has taken the race win three times over this period. Alpine does have podium experience with two third places accrued in 2021 at Sakhir.
For Toyota, the Bapco 8 Hours of Bahrain brings the curtain down on the squad’s 10th season in WEC and will be the team’s 76th race since its 2012 debut. Victory on Saturday would be the team’s 39th and would secure its fifth manufacturers’ and drivers’ World Championship double.
This will be the last outing for the Alpine A480, which has scored a podium finish at Le Mans in 2021 and victories at Sebring and Monza in 2022. Alpine will not contest the Hypercar class in 2023, but plans to return with a new car in 2024.
Peugeot are hoping for a picture book finish to their part-time season heading into the finale with a rule of thirds approach as the French squad targets a top three finish in its third race of the season which will be a third longer than its previous two outings.
There’s a driver change in the #94 9X8 as Loic Duval and Gustavo Menezes are joined by Nico Müller ahead of his full-time gig next year with James Rossiter heading to team management duties elsewhere.
Toyota #8, Alpine #36 and Toyota #7 are still eligible
Toyota #8 / Buemi/Hartley/Hirakawa / 121points
It finishes ahead of 36
It takes pole position, finishes ahead of 7, and 36 fails to finish
It takes pole position, and 8, 36 and 7 all fail to finish
Alpine #36 / Lapierre/Negrao/Vaxiviere / 121 points
It finishes ahead of 8
It takes pole position, finishes ahead of 7, and 8 fails to finish
It takes pole position, and 36, 8 and 7 all fail to finish
Toyota #7 / Conway/Kobayashi/Lopez / 95 points
It wins or finishes 2nd, and both 8 and 36 fail to finish