What the drivers said after the 6 Hours of Fuji

Thoughts and consideration from the drivers and management after the 6 Hours of Fuji


Toyota Gazoo Racing

Kamui Kobayashi - Team Principal and driver, car #7 
“The 6 Hours of Fuji is a very important race and this is the best possible result for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing. Everybody in the team worked so hard for this and did a great job, with no mistakes; I am very proud of everyone. The competition is intense in Hypercar but our race went really smoothly and we had a strong performance, which is a result of the efforts from the team, as well as support from the Toyota family and all our partners. Thank you to the fans who supported us; it has been a fantastic experience to race here at Fuji Speedway again, especially in such brilliant weather. This part of our job is done but now we focus on Bahrain, when we are pushing to win both World Championships. This is important for us so we will keep pour focus and do our best.”

Mike Conway - #7 Toyota GR010 - Hybrid
"The team did a good job today to get a one-two in our home race, which is what we wanted to achieve. After Le Mans, Fuji is the most important race for us, so we have met our target and delivered a perfect team result. We couldn’t do much more on our car today; car #8 was just a bit quicker so we couldn’t challenge them but we had a clean race and made no mistakes. Well done to car #8 for the victory, congratulations to TOYOTA GAZOO Racing and all our partners for this great result and thanks to the fans for their support all week."

José María López - #7 Toyota GR010 - Hybrid
This is a great result for the whole team. This race is really important for us and we worked so hard for it. The lap times today don’t reflect how hard the competition has been with the other Hypercars. The team executed a perfect race and I am very happy for everyone. Congratulations to car #8 for the win. Obviously on our car we are not super happy because we didn’t win, but that’s normal and I think we did some good stints. It’s been a tough year on our side of the garage so we go to Bahrain determined to finish 2022 on a high note and to help the team win both World Championships.

Sébastien Buemi - #8 Toyota GR010 - Hybrid
"I am really happy with this result, especially winning TOYOTA GAZOO Racing’s home race after three years away from Japan. We had a clean race and it was perfectly executed; there were no mistakes, our pit stops were great and everything went to plan. We couldn’t do any more so thanks a lot to the team for this, particularly Ryo who has been amazing this week. It has gone very well for us and to be in the joint lead of the World Championship going into Bahrain gives us a big chance. We will do everything we can to end the season with the same result."

Brendon Hartley #8 - Toyota GR010 - Hybrid
"We had an amazing car today and the race was incredibly smooth; it doesn’t often happen like that. On our car we saw the track temperatures were likely to be high so we went a different direction on set-up and it worked, we were a bit quicker than the sister car. Séb did a strong first stint then I was able to build a gap and Ryo drove well at the end. It was one of those races where everything just worked perfectly. Big thanks to the engineering team and the mechanics; as a crew were very strong. Now the World Championship fight comes down to Bahrain, which is pretty cool."

Ryo Hirakawa #8 - Toyota GR010 - Hybrid
"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. 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. 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. We will enjoy this result tonight and then focus on winning the World Championship in Bahrain."

Alpine Elf Team 

Nicolas Lapierre - #36 Alpine A480 - Gibson
"We had a clean and solid race with a fairly simple strategy as there was no on-track incidents. We had a good battle with the Peugeot. It was nice to fight with a car with a similar range and pace. We are a bit disappointed with the final result, but we are equal on points in the championship, so we will fight as long as there is hope!"

André Negrão - #36 Alpine A480 - Gibson
"I had a good start and tried to stay in contact with the Toyotas, but it became difficult as soon as we got into traffic. It also allowed a Peugeot to overtake us, but we counter-attacked perfectly with an undercut. We had a good race, the mechanics and engineers were on top form, and it is now all to play for in Bahrain. It's up to us to make the most of our opportunities!"

Matthieu Vaxiviere - #36 Alpine A480 - Gibson
"We had a terrific race, solid and clean as usual. We lacked a bit of pace to fight with the leaders or go for the win, but the car was well-balanced with tyre degradation under control. I'm not completely satisfied with the weekend, as I like to win, but we still lead the championship going into Bahrain, where we have everything to gain!"

Philippe Sinault, Alpine Elf Endurance Team Principal
"Despite the frustration due to the lack of on-track action, this race was what we expected. We knew it would be difficult to challenge the Toyotas on their home track. With no safety car periods, it was hard to make a difference strategically, but the team was once again excellent on the operational side. It was particularly obvious in our battle to regain third place from Peugeot. We finished on the podium and achieved our goal of remaining in contention for the title in Bahrain. It's a situation we didn't dare imagine at the beginning of the season. Now we have to stay enthusiastic to fight to the end!"

Peugeot TotalEnergies

James Rossiter - #94 Peugeot 9X8
"It was nice to be in the car for the start of the race. The balance of my 9X8 was perfect and I had an enjoyable stint. Thanks to Jean-Eric in the other car for letting me through because I was really in a position where I could push. Apart from a moment when I strayed off the track to avoid a GT runner, I have to say that my time behind the wheel was very positive. A big thank you to everyone in the team because the car has really evolved since Monza!" 

Olivier Jansonnie , Technical director, Peugeot Sport, 
"The 6 Hours of Fuji revealed the considerable progress the team, mechanics and engineers have made since Monza. We have resolved all the reliability-related issues we experienced at our first race, and the two days of practice at Fuji, along with the first two hours of the race itself passed off without incident. If we continue progressing at this rate ahead of Bahrain, it will be extremely positive. During the first two stints of Sunday’s race, we showed good pace and the intention now is to focus on taking performance forward. We had what appears to be a similar issue with both cars, and we will also need to address the behaviour and use of our tyres. Every circuit we visit is an opportunity to keep learning."


AF Corse 

James Calado- #51 Ferrari 488 GTE EVO
“We enjoyed a great race with both cars, achieving a significant result for the drivers’ and constructors’ standings. At the start, I took first position by overtaking Estre. Then we ran a good race, always sporting, and managed the tyres as best as possible. Now our minds turn to the season finale at Bahrain, where, as always, it won’t be easy, but we will certainly give one hundred per cent as a team to secure our third world title”.

Alessandro Pier Guidi - #51 Ferrari 488 GTE EVO 
“After three years, coming back to Japan and racing in front of so many fans was really exciting. Achieving first and second place for Ferrari is enormously important for the championship, where we have now also moved into top spot in the constructors’ standings. The key to success? I think the choice of tyres enabled us to be consistent throughout the stints”.

Miguel Molina - - #52 Ferrari 488 GTE EVO
“We achieved the best possible result for the team. Our car’s second place earned us vital points. Bahrain? We aim to run our best race and fight for the constructors’ title”.

Antonello Coletta, Head of Ferrari Corse Clienti 
“We are delighted with the one-two here at Fuji. It is strategic for the championship and comes at an important time. This result means we arrive on the eve of the final ever race in the LMGTE Pro facing a battle with Porsche, the other manufacturer which, like us, has participated in this world championship class since the first race. I want to emphasise the great team spirit, which again saw the number 52 488 GTE crew willing to help achieve the best possible team result. It is one of the most important attributes and one we will also focus on at the next race in Bahrain, where we will give everything to try to win the titles at stake."

Porsche GT Team

Michael Christensen - #92 Porsche 911 RSR
“We tried everything but we couldn’t do more today. We lacked quite a lot of speed. After starting from pole position, we managed to fend off the Ferraris for a while, but eventually, we couldn’t hold them off anymore. They then gradually pulled away from us. The only possible chance would have been to make a smart strategic decision during a safety car phase, but this scenario didn’t eventuate in the race.”

Kévin Estre - #92 Porsche 911 RSR 
“Ferrari was too strong, we couldn’t match the pace. On the long straight, they were quite a bit faster than us. We could never make up for that in the corners – no chance. Although we put in an immaculate drive, we were more than 30 seconds behind at the end. That says it all.”

Gianmaria Bruni - #91 Porsche 911 RSR  
“We had a really good car and squeezed everything we could out of it. But it wasn’t enough to seriously challenge the competition today. Compared to our rivals, we lacked top speed and acceleration. That was obvious. Unfortunately, Porsche only managed to finish third and fourth. We have to turn this around in Bahrain.”

Richard Lietz - #91 Porsche 911 RSR #91 
“We were clearly too slow. In such circumstances, it’s not much fun if you’re trailing behind. But we couldn’t do more today. The car handled very well and our team did a great job.”

Corvette Racing

Tommy Milner - #64 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R 
Today was not our best day on many fronts, for sure. It was a frustrating day I think for Nick, frustrating for our engineers and frustrating for me all in our own ways. We’ll give ourselves some time after the race to decompress and think about those lessons and take them with us to Bahrain. In general, we had some struggles through practice and we improved the car for Nick through FP3 and qualifying. We were still behind the eight-ball a little bit, and in the race we saw some residuals from that. I was pretty slow the first couple of laps of my stint just because I was realistically driving a new car from what I had from the practice sessions. The second stint was a bit better but for me not as good as it needed to be. In the grand scheme of things, no thing that one person did or one group did had an ultimate effect on today; it was a collection of many things. We’ll isolate the mistakes and at the same time highlight the positives and find the things we did well. We’ll take our lumps from today and focus on Bahrain to be more prepared, be faster and make less mistakes. Hopefully that’s enough and we can have a good race there.

"The story of the race wasn’t so great. Really since Friday morning, it’s been a struggle. I think the characteristics of this track and the track surface just don’t suit our car. You’re never going to have the fastest car at every track you go to; that’s not how racing works. So what we have done is learned a lot. If we could start the race again tomorrow, there are things we absolutely would change but you only learn things from experience. This is something we can take forward. We’re not going to win every race. What we need to do is capitalize on days where the car is competitive. We had some issues but this was the one take because this was our least competitive showing from a pace perspective. This shows again the things we need to focus on in practice and in simulation when we are coming to a new track. And it shows that racing is difficult. It shows that the day we had Monza is just as big as we thought it was at the time. This weekend shows just what a good job we did there and how tough it can be if the stars don’t align."



Antonio Felix da Costa - #38 Jota Sport, Oreca 07 - Gibson
"It was a very positive weekend. The car was quick in all conditions, both qualifying and race trim. As always, the team executed a great strategy throughout the whole race. Unfortunately, today we didn’t have the pace of the #31 car, but also, we already had the championship on our minds. We’ve beaten all the cars we had to beat; and we’ve increased our championship lead going into Bahrain. We’re going to try to do the same again there. Obviously, our eyes are on the championship now."


Robin Frijns - #31 WRT Oreca 07 - Gibson
“I’m very happy with the result, it was very close with the Jota cars the whole weekend, they had faster qualifying pace, but in the race, we were very strong. Sean did a great job at the start and Dries as well in order to manage tyres. Today we proved that when there are no technical issues, we are always in a position to fight for the win.” 

Sean Gelael- #31 WRT Oreca 07 - Gibson 
“This win feels like redemption after the last couple of races! It was a very clean race in general, with no safety-car or full yellow course periods, it’s what we wanted, and everything was perfect and went well. We are very happy for the entire team and for our engineers.”

Dries Vanthoor - #31 WRT Oreca 07 - Gibson
“I am very happy to have come here and been able to take a win together with Sean and Robin. It’s a great achievement for the entire team. Things ran smoothly and we did no mistakes. In my double stint, the rivals were catching hard but they used their tyres in excess. We decided to keep our pace and it was the right thing to do.”

Rui Andrade - #41 REALTEAM BY WRT Oreca 07 - Gibson
“I am disappointed for our result but very happy for the team’s win. We were a little bit unlucky at the start, as I was pushed wide and lost some time because of vibrations. Today, we didn’t have the pace we wanted, but now let’s focus on Bahrain and see if we can make it for the title.”

Ferdinand Habsburg - #41 REALTEAM BY WRT Oreca 07 - Gibson 
“There are a lot of mixed feelings. On one hand, this P4 keeps us in the race for the title, which is good, but on the other hand, we could have had a better result, it’s emotionally draining and annoying for the whole team, but the best thing we can do is look forward to Bahrain and go for it there.”

Norman Nato - #41 REALTEAM BY WRT Oreca 07 - Gibson
“It’s not the result we would have expected, but that’s racing. There was the little incident at the start and later a slow puncture. After that, it was tough, we knew we had to be cautious with tyre degradation, and coming back was not easy, with so much traffic. At the end, we missed the podium for very little, I tried my best but did not want to take stupid risks and jeopardize our chances in the championship.”

Richard Mille Racing

Lilou Wadoux - #1 Oreca 07 - Gibson
"There was a bit of trepidation and a bit more pressure at the start as you can easily find yourself in a bad situation, but everything went well, and I avoided lap one incident. My two stints were quite calm, as this race leaves little room for strategy, and we managed to stay in contact with the other LMP2 cars. So, we have a lot of positive aspects to remember, starting with our solid pace. I'm convinced that we can do better in Bahrain!"

Charles Miles - #1 Oreca 07 - Gibson
"It was nice to return to Japan and discover the Fuji circuit in an LMP2 car. We were all hoping for a more eventful race, but all the teams had a similar pace, and the gaps weren't big enough to try anything on track or in the pits. Maybe we were a little too aggressive with the setup before qualifying, but the car is still improving. So, this result doesn't reflect our level, but we have taken another step forward on things that should be important in Bahrain, like tyre degradation!"

Paul-Loup Chatin - #1 Oreca 07 - Gibson 
" It's a bit frustrating because the team did an incredible job, and the result doesn't reflect that. The first two-thirds of the race was very good, with a great performance from Lilou and Charles, but we would have liked to go all the way after this positive start. It's up to us to put the work done by the team since Le Mans to good use at the 8 Hours of Bahrain!”

Philippe Sinault - Richard Mille Racing Team Principal 
"The team and the drivers put in a fantastic race, which was poorly rewarded. For her first start, Lilou did the job she was asked to do by not making any mistakes, staying in the pack and even gaining a position in a field where the pace is very high, and the gaps are so close that everything is decided by not very much. Overtaking is difficult on this circuit, even more so in this category, as Charles and Paul-Loup were able to see behind the United Autosport. We lost a second and a half when we were blocked by the JOTA exiting the pits when we tried to undercut the United car. That saw us fall away from the lead pack. We think we broke the front left tyre in our last stint as the car suddenly changed dramatically. It is very frustrating as everything went even better in every aspect than at Monza. But we must remember the positives and be proud of the new steps forward taken by the drivers and the technical team. There is no reason why it shouldn't work in Bahrain!"


Iron Dames

Rahel Frey - #85 Iron Dames Ferrari 488 GTE EVO
"I am very happy for the team, once again we have achieved a very strong result. They prepared for us a great car and it was a pleasure to drive.  We were not only fast on pace, but very competitive and strong in the fights with our competitors and I had a lot of fun. No mistakes happened, from either the drivers or the mechanics, and I am proud of the entire crew. Getting a podium in Japan sends a really strong message, and I am confident we can keep the momentum going for the final round which will be in Bahrain in November and we will definitely aim for another very strong result."

Michelle Gatting- #85 Iron Dames Ferrari 488 GTE EVO 
"Our second podium in FIA WEC makes me very happy. What we have achieved as Iron Dames is something we are very delighted with and obviously we are getting hungrier for that last step on the podium for a victory, but we are getting closer. Sarah, Rahel, and the whole team did amazing today and with a race that was green for the whole six hours it showed that we weren’t on the podium due to luck but we fought for our place and we deserve it. Now, I can’t wait for the final round in Bahrain as well as the GT World Challenge in Barcelona where we are still fighting.”

Sarah Bovy- #85 Iron Dames Ferrari 488 GTE EVO
"We finished P2 in the 6 Hours of Fuji and this is a great feeling. This race, we had been in a strong pace from the first lap to the last one. Michelle and Rahel have been super-fast – they were flying!! It was a clean race with no interruptions at all, no safety cars, no Full Course Yellows, so it was a physically-tough race. But we can be proud of what we have achieved, especially finishing as the first Ferrari in our class at least half-a-minute ahead of the second one. Thanks a lot to the team for the amazing work on the car and on the strategy. They have been spot on and I know we can all be very proud of ourselves today.”