Toyota Racing definitely made its mark on the 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship as Bahrain 6 Hours came to TS040 HYBRID #7 of Alex Wurz, Stephane Sarrazin and Mike Conway. At the wheel of the #8, Sebastien Buemi and Anthony Davidson secured the drivers title with one event remaining.
In Sakhir’s circuit sunset, Toyota was alone to counter Porsche’s power for this seventh round of the season. Front-line starters, behind pole-sitters Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb, Davidson and Buemi even managed much better than that, taking the lead in the first laps.
Both Japanese cars were leading when the #8 was caught by a serious alternator issue, which required the piece to be replaced, depriving it from a chance to win or to end on a podium, only to finish 11th. Whatever, Swiss Buemi and British Davidson were the new champions. The #8 went on to take the win more than 50 seconds ahead of two Porsches.
1994 – The year of the previous drivers title won by Toyota as an official entrant. It was in World rallies with Frenchman Didier Auriol. Twenty years later, the Japanese marque is back to top.
“To win a championship when you are competing against Porsche and Audi is a fantastic achievement.” Buemi relished his first big title. In Interlagos on 30 November, he has all chances now to also clinch the Constructors’ title as Toyota heads to Brazil 40 points clear to Audi.
On Saturday, Toyota qualified on the front row of the grid for the tenth time in a row, demonstrating team performance and consistency. The win of #7 was the fifth for a Toyota within the seven races of the season, the third in a row, a record for the team.
Sao Paulo Six Hours (Interlagos, Brazil, 30 November)