Live Blog – 6 Hours of Bahrain
Toyota Europe

Both TS030 HYBRID in Bahrain

We’re live from the Bahrain International Circuit for the curtain closing FIA WEC 6 Hours of Bahrain (and the last competitive outing of our TOYOTA Racing TS030 HYBRID). For the 2013 season finale, we arrived in Bahrain with our full complement of drivers and both #7 and #8 cars. Click through to follow the race weekend.

Preview
Free Practice 1
Free Practice 2
Free Practice 3
Qualifying
Race
Race Review


Preview

Updated: 28/11/13 13:30 AST (UTC+2)

Sébastien running in for driver change practice

TOYOTA Racing brings the curtain down on its first full FIA World Endurance Championship season this weekend with the eighth and final round, the Six Hours of Bahrain.

Kazuki Nakajima returns to the #7 TS030 HYBRID alongside Alex Wurz and Nicolas Lapierre. The #8 will be driven by Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi and Stéphane Sarrazin.

Having started at Silverstone back in April, the WEC season has taken in eight countries on four continents with over 60 hours of racing.

The Bahrain race brings that season to a close and also marks the final competitive appearance for the TS030 HYBRID, which has won four races and achieved 10 podium finishes since its debut at Le Mans 2012.

The latest podium came at the last race, when the #7 finished second in Shanghai, although that result proved disappointing after the team led for long periods until misfortune struck.

TOYOTA Racing is looking to fulfil the promise shown in Shanghai at the 5.412km Bahrain International Circuit, south of the capital Manama.

Last year’s race was held earlier in the year and, in extremely hot conditions, the #7 was a strong contender for victory until its retirement.

With seven hybrid recovery zones in Bahrain, three more than at the previous three races, the team expects to make full use of the 300hp acceleration boost delivered by the TOYOTA HYBRID System – Racing.

Here’s what our drivers had to say ahead of the race weekend.

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Free Practice 1

Updated: 28/11/13 20:30 AST (UTC+2)

Racing in the desert

Free Practice 1 kicked off at 15:15 local time which saw both TS030 HYBRIDs head out on track with Nicolas behind the wheel of #7 and Anthony in the #8. The session started with air temperature at 25°C and track temperature at a toasty 30°C. Throughout the session, both air and track temperatures continued to drop as the sun began to set while humidity levels shot up from 70% to 82%.

Early on in the session, the #8 car encountered some issues with the alternator meaning we had to return to the pits. Anthony went back out on track after 37min and immediately started work evaluating different set-ups.

Dusk at Bahrain International Circuit

Alex took over in the #7 on lap 13 setting competitive times about one hour into the session, with a 1:43.822 to go fastest by 1.2sec before shaving another 0.6sec off that time to set the fastest lap time of the session with a 1:43.192 on lap 28. Kazuki took over from Alex for the final stint of the session in the #7, completing 40 laps between the three drivers.

Anthony handed the #8 over to Stéphane who set the car’s fastest time of the session with a 1:45.151 on lap 23 before Sébastien took over for the final two laps to take the chequered flag in P4 after 26 laps.

 

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Free Practice 2

Updated: 28/11/13 23:15 AST (UTC+2)

It was dark around the track when the second Free Practice session started at 19:30 local time. Cars exited the pits illuminated by the new light fixtures installed around the Bahrain International Circuit, although still running at half capacity. Temperatures were noticeably cooler than the afternoon session while humidity remained over 90% during the session.

We’ve got @kazuki_info in no. 7 heading to pit exit, while @Sebastien_buemi takes the no. 8 #FIAWEC #6hBAH #Toyota pic.twitter.com/Cu3qEPvyo4

— TOYOTA Racing (@Toyota_Hybrid) November 28, 2013

Both cars went out with Kazuki in #7 and Sébastien in #8. Two quick laps by Sébastien right at the start put the #8 car in P1, the quickest time of 1:44.516 proved unassailable through the remainder of the session. Kazuki’s 1:44.793 at the start of the long 20+ laps run put the #7 in P3 for the remainder of the session.

Driver change for car no. 8, @Sebastien_buemi steps out and hands over to @antdavidson #FIAWEC #6hBAH #Toyota pic.twitter.com/Ser9OQxYKt — TOYOTA Racing (@Toyota_Hybrid) November 28, 2013

Nicolas and Anthony took over in the #7 and #8 cars respectively with just over 30min left of the final session of the day. Unfortunately, an off at the final corner, Turn 15, sent Nicolas into the barriers sustaining some rear right damage and brought out the red flag. During the short stoppage, the #7 crews very quickly repaired the bodywork and sent Nicolas back on his way. As the session drew to a close, Alex and Stéphane took over in their respective cars #7 and #8 to take the chequered flag.

Night time running under new track-wide spotlights

Here’s what Kazuki had to say after today’s sessions straight from the BIC paddock:

Full Thursday report also available here: Toyota News – STRONG START FOR TOYOTA RACING IN BAHRAIN

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Free Practice 3

Updated: 29/11/13 14:40 AST (UTC+2)

After a perilous departure from the circuit last night when visibility fell below 8%, we arrived this morning “bright and early” to discover that the dense fog has not yet lifted. Free Practice 3 starts at 10:25 local time so keep your fingers crossed we can get the session going.

Good morning from @BAH_Int_Circuit, at least it should be morning, hard to tell with the fog #FIAWEC #6hBAH pic.twitter.com/aWEvYx9tIx

— TOYOTA Racing (@Toyota_Hybrid) November 29, 2013

Thankfully, the fog lifted when we started the final Free Practice session of the 2013 season with temperatures hovering around 22°C in the air and on the track. Both cars went out at the green flag with Nicolas and Sébastien in the #7 and #8 cars respectively.

We had a brief red flag period about 10min into the session when a dislodged bollard had to be removed from the track.

Green flag. Driver change for car no. 8, @Sebastien_buemi out, @Steph_Sarrazin in #FIAWEC #6hBAH #Toyota pic.twitter.com/HaLc2IA6pA

— TOYOTA Racing (@Toyota_Hybrid) November 29, 2013

When the chequered flag fell for the final Free Practice session, we were in P4 with the #7 car (best time 1:43.907 by Alex) and P2 with the #8 car (best time 1:43.871 by Stéphane) to continue a solid performance so far this week.

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Qualifying

Updated: 29/11/13 19:45 AST (UTC+2)

Qualifying for LMP1 and LMP2 categories started at 16:20 local time with air temperature holding around 21°C and track temperature falling through the session around mid-20s while humidity levels increasing to 89%.

It was Alex and Stéphane who took their respective #7 and #8 TS030 HYBRIDs out first to qualify for tomorrow’s season finale.

Car no. 7 @alex_wurz takes his chariot out for Qualifying #FIAWEC #6hBAH #Toyota pic.twitter.com/sL27oT1kpU

— TOYOTA Racing (@Toyota_Hybrid) November 29, 2013

Qualifying requires two drivers from each car needing to set a minimum of two times each. The total four fastest laps are then averaged to determine the final grid positions for the endurance race.

Alex was out on track immediately, leading the pack away from the pits. He set a 1:42.170 and 1:42:267 in succession and returned to hand the #7 car to Kazuki. With a clear track ahead, Kazuki puts down a 1:42.633 and 1:42.727 to post an average of 1:42.449 on provisional pole position for the race!

In the #8 car, Stéphane set 1:42.424 and 1:42.658 before handing over to Anthony who, in turn, put in a 1:42.914 and 1:43.131. Early on in the session, the #8 car’s average times puts them in P3 or P4. But after a cool down lap and waiting for some clear track ahead, Anthony’s 1min42s lap shot the #8 car into P2.

Here it is, provisional Qualifying results with a #TOYOTA Racing 1-2 grid for tomorrow’s race! #FIAWEC #6hBAH pic.twitter.com/ZbfGSwilk9

— TOYOTA Racing (@Toyota_Hybrid) November 29, 2013

This is the third pole for TOYOTA Racing this season and the second 1-2 front row lock out.

Join us at 15:00 local time (UTC+3) for tomorrow’s exciting end to the 2013 FIA WEC season as we also bid farewell to the TS030 HYBRID in it’s final competitive outing.

Thumbs up all around! Are you ready for tomorrow’s #FIAWEC season finale? #6hBAH #Toyota pic.twitter.com/dy2cmrgcWf

— TOYOTA Racing (@Toyota_Hybrid) November 29, 2013

We join Alex in the team engineers’ office where he shared his thoughts on today’s excellent Qualifying result and looks forward to tomorrow’s race:

Toyota News – TOYOTA RACING SWEEPS FRONT ROW IN BAHRAIN

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Race

Updated: 01/12/13 00:30 AST (UTC+2)

Welcome to a toasty and clear sunny day at the Bahrain International Circuit. Temperature at the track is edging 30°C as we continue through the afternoon with various driver activities before the race kicks off in earnest at 15:00 local time (UTC+3).

Our drivers were out in force for the autograph session in the pit lane, as well as the fans who arrived to meet the full complement of our chaps starting today from pole and second place.

Come and see our no. 7 crew on pole today @alex_wurz @Nico_Lapierre @kazuki_info #FIAWEC #6hBAH #Toyota pic.twitter.com/vOAlRohB1P

— TOYOTA Racing (@Toyota_Hybrid) November 30, 2013

No. 8 crew on front row signing autographs @antdavidson @Sebastien_buemi @Steph_Sarrazin #FIAWEC #6hBAH #Toyota pic.twitter.com/dFMo7Qg0CE

— TOYOTA Racing (@Toyota_Hybrid) November 30, 2013

Special message from our drivers to TOYOTA Racing’s amazing fans ahead of the race:

The all important season ending race started at 15:00 with a rolling start. Both our cars headed through in the lead reflecting their respective grid positions under sunny and warm afternoon conditions with air temp of 26°C and track temperature at 31°C. It was Nicolas and Sébastien who took the helm at the start in their cars.

Off we go! Clean start for our cars and holds on to the lead! #FIAWEC #6hBAH #Toyota pic.twitter.com/q9m5nzSfU2

— TOYOTA Racing (@Toyota_Hybrid) November 30, 2013

Three quarters of an hour into the race, both cars came for their scheduled stops for petrol and tyres. Just past the first hour, our cars swapped positions as #7 ran wide letting Sébastien in the #8 through into the lead.

After the first hour and half, our drivers came in for driver change and full scheduled pit stop with Alex and Stéphane taking over. Just before the second hour of the race, as the sun set, it was reported that Alex in the #7 stopped out on track. It was confirmed later that he had suffered an engine issue meaning forcing the car to retire.

Sun has set over @BAH_Int_Circuit #FIAWEC #6hBAH #Toyota pic.twitter.com/Q6NgEJYrUj

— TOYOTA Racing (@Toyota_Hybrid) November 30, 2013

For the second half of the race, the #8 continued strongly leading the race through to the chequered flag. Anthony took over from Stéphane before giving the helms back to Sébastien to complete a thrilling win for the team.

Car no. 8 crossed finish line first! #FIAWEC #6hBAH #Toyota pic.twitter.com/DS7Snaa6tX

— TOYOTA Racing (@Toyota_Hybrid) November 30, 2013

Everybody say #TOYOTA! #FIAWEC #6hBAH pic.twitter.com/HTN0GX10Jo

— TOYOTA Racing (@Toyota_Hybrid) November 30, 2013

Click here for our detailed race report:

Toyota News – VICTORY FOR TOYOTA RACING IN BAHRAIN

Our final Driver Diary instalment and it’s a big three parter featuring all three of our winning drivers!

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Race Review

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Comments

  1. Petros Miliopoulos : What a fantastic way to end the season!!!
    Congratulations to all the team, such a dominant victory, shame though the No.7 car could not finish as another 1-2 was within reach.
    I am very much looking forward to next season.

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