Toyota win Bahrain, Audi win 2013 title

The 2013 World Endurance championship closed its season this weekend with the 6 hours of Bahrain with a victory for Toyota Racing. The #8 entered Toyota’s first World Endurance Championship victory and the fifth overall victory since the Toyota TS030 made its competition debut at the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2012.

With Toyota locking out the front row from Audi for Friday’s qualifying session and having a pace advantage over the Audi’s in the opening hours, It was expected that Toyota could potentially have a 1-2 finish.

The race was one of attrition in the LMP1 ranks with the sole privateer entry of Rebellion racing dropping out of the race with an engine fire on Lap 42, Toyota’s #7 car retiring on lap 64 with mechanical issues.

Audi’s championship elect #2 entry also had problems retiring on lap 93. With the points in the championship awarded per driver, even though the three drivers share the car, the championship could have being confused somewhat.

Due to the race having not reached 75% distance, the car retired unclassified preventing any issues and allowing all three drivers to complete the season equal on points in first overall.

The team has being the strongest of the LMP1 prototypes this season and was out of mathematical reach by the opposition after the Shanghai round of the FIA WEC. The retirements left just the #7 Toyota and #1 Audi completing the full race distance of 199 laps of the LMP1 entrants.

In LMP2 it was once again the G Drive Racing entry of Mike Conway, Roman Rusinov and John Martin winning the class and celebrating on the overall race podium due to the LMP1 attrition level.

Oak Racing’s Olivier Pla, Alex Brundle and David Heinemeier Hansson came 2nd in class, 4th overall with Greaves motorsport rounding out the LMP2 top three.

In the GT ranks, Gianmaria Bruni and Toni Vilander won GTE Pro in the #51 Ferrari 458 AF Corse entry. In GTE Am, The Aston Martin V8 Vantage #95 entry of Nicki Thimm, Christoffer Nygaard and Kristian Poulsen celebrated the class win.

Overall a strong race in Bahrain for the World Endurance Championship to round off its season, The lighting around the track making the event look spectacular as the day moved into night, Not the greatest race ever but enjoyable all the same.

The LMP1 2013 season belonged to Audi Sport Team Joest overall. Toyota’s pace last year against the Audi’s was very impressive out the box however Audi came back stronger and more determined than ever with a brilliant performance this season. The current generation Audi R18 and Toyota TS030 will now be retired due to the upcoming 2014 regulation changes. Audi has been testing the replacement car, which presumably will retain the R18 name.

With Porsche’s much publicised LMP1 return next year and Rebellion becoming a constructor in its self with the Rebellion R-One build in cooperation with Oreca, 2014 promises a lot. I just hope for some additional privateer LMP1 entrants.
LMP2 presented fantastic entry numbers and quality in 2013 and I’m certainly looking forward to seeing how the class develops in 2014.

GTE in 2013 was fantastic. Porsche, Ferrari (AF Corse) and Aston Martin performed brilliant commitment, amazing competition and compassion between the teams and drivers when it was needed. Lest we forget Allan Simonsen

Championship results

World Endurance Manufacturers Championship – Audi – 207 points.

World Endurance Driver’s Championship – Tom Kristensen – Allan Mcnish – Loic Duval.

FIA Endurance Trophy for Private LMP1 Teams – Rebellion Racing 173.5 points

FIA Endurance Trophy for LMP2 Teams – #35 Oak Racing – 141.5 points

FIA Endurance Trophy for LMP2 Drivers – Bertrand Baguette – Martin Plowman ,- Ricardo Gonzalez – 141.5 points

World Endurance Cup for GT manufacturers – Ferrari – 255 points

World Endurance Cup for GT drivers – Gianmaria Bruni – 145 points

FIA Endurance Trophy for LMGTE PRO teams– AF Corse – 145 points

FIA Endurance Trophy for LMGTE teams – 8 Star Motorsports – 136 points

FIA Endurance Trophy for LMGTE AM drivers – Jamie Campbell-Walter / Stuart Hall – 129 points

The series resumes with the 6 hours of Silverstone on the 28th-29th march 2014.

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