“I am really pleased to complete the job here and win both World Championships. I don’t think it has really sunk in yet that we are champions again, but I’m sure it will soon. Thanks to everyone on the team for their fantastic support all year to give us a car to win the title and Le Mans. Today our objective was simply to beat Alpine and secure the title; we couldn’t afford to take any risks just to get the race win. Car #7 had the pace and deserved the victory, so well done to them. They have been tough competitors all year and it has been fiercely fought, also with Alpine who kept us honest. We worked hard for this title, and it is a credit to the whole team.”
Brendon Hartley (Driver, car #8)
“It’s amazing to win the World Championship this year. We maximised all the opportunities and doing the double of Le Mans and the title is an amazing feeling. Special credit to Ryo because he came into the team as a newcomer and he won in his first year. It is not easy to jump into a Hypercar and fight at the front against such strong competition but he has been an amazing team-mate. Car #7 is always strong and it is never easy to beat them, as they showed today. We wanted to win the race and take the title in style but, despite a competitive start, we just didn’t have enough today. We will enjoy this feeling and then look to next year which will be a really exciting one.”
Sébastien Buemi (Driver, car #8)
Sébastien held off the challenge of the #93 Peugeot, with José firmly in contention in third. Just six seconds covered the top three when the opening pit stops arrived after an hour, during which José leapfrogged the #93 for second and closed to the rear of the #8, before Sébastien edged out an advantage.
When a technical problem sidelined the #93 after two hours, a full course yellow allowed both GR010 HYBRIDs to swap drivers. Brendon took over the #8, with Mike in the #7, and they battled throughout their first stint, separated by less than a second until Mike took the lead early in the fourth hour as the sun set over Bahrain International Circuit.
Mike pushed hard to build a gap and at half distance he led by a few seconds going into the next pit stops, when Kamui took the wheel. A lap later, Brendon’s stint ended and Ryo brought the #8 back on track directly behind the #7.
Kamui gradually extended his advantage to 15 seconds by the end of the fifth hour, doubling the #7 car’s lead over the next hour before José and Sébastien returned to their respective cockpits with less than two hours remaining.
Further driver changes with 45 minutes to go left Mike to take the chequered flag, finishing 45.471secs clear of Brendon in the #8. That triggered title celebrations to bring the curtain down on an exciting Hypercar season after 58 hours of competition covering 10,620km since the first race in Sebring eight months ago.
“Today we achieved everything we wanted to, so I am very happy, and I will enjoy this moment with the team, who really deserve it. It doesn’t feel real yet, I need some time to get used to it. It has been challenging to race a Hypercar in WEC for the first time; everything was new to me. I didn’t expect to win Le Mans and the World Championship in my first year so thanks a lot to the team and my team-mates for helping me settle in and become stronger over the season. I was really patient in the race today because I knew the championship situation and it was just important that I didn’t take any risks. My target was to hand the car over in a strong position and I achieved that, so I was happy.”
Ryo Hirakawa (Driver, car #8)
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing has one remaining appointment in the 2022 season, the official WEC rookie test at Bahrain International Circuit. LMP2 driver Lilou Wadoux has been nominated by WEC to drive the GR010 HYBRID and she will therefore become the first female Hypercar driver during Sunday’s test.
1st - #7 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing 245 laps
2nd - #8 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing +45.471secs
3rd - #36 Alpine Elf Team (Negrao/Lapierre/Vaxiviere) +2 laps
4th - #94 Peugeot TotalEnergies (Duval/Menezes/Müller) +6 laps
5th - #31 WRT (Galael/Frijns/Vanthoor) +8 laps
6th - #23 United Autosports USA (Lynn/Jarvis/Pierson) +8 laps