MEDIABALAP.com – A look at some interesting info in the countdown to the season finale
With just two weeks to go before the season finale to the 2022 FIA World Endurance Championship, Bapco 8 Hours of Bahrain, it’s time for a stats apéritif to whet the WEC appetite.
The Drivers’ titles in the four major classes will be sealed at the final round, for only the 4th season in WEC history, after 2015 (Porsche LMP1 Team, G-Drive Racing, Porsche Team Manthey, SMP Racing), 2018/19 (Toyota, Signatech Alpine, Porsche GT Team, Project1) and 2021 (Toyota, WRT, AF Corse, AF Corse).
Francois Perrodo goes into Bahrain leading the LMP2 Pro-Am standings. The only three-time #WEC champion won all of his GTE Am titles in Bahrain, on the podium, at the season finale. Perrodo finished the final race 3rd in 2016, 2nd in 2020, and 1st in 2021.
Toyota’s victory at #8hBahrain 2021 was their 35th in the #WEC – one more than Audi and Porsche’s total number of victories combined.
Estre’s 5th pole position of 2021 at #8hBahrain secured Porsche’s 5th GTE Pro pole in Bahrain, becoming the first team/marque to reach five poles at a single circuit in the class.
#8hBahrain 2021 was only the 11th WEC race in which no car won from pole, and the first time since #8hPortimao earlier in the season.
The 2022 GTE Am Drivers’ title for an Aston Martin crew means the marque equals Ferrari’s four titles in the class, with Aston drivers having previously secured the championship in 2013, 2014 and 2017.
Eight different teams have finished on the overall podium in Bahrain, the joint-most at any WEC circuit. Five of these have been non-Hybrid privateer teams (Strakka, G-Drive Racing, Rebellion Racing, Jackie Chan DC, United Autosports), which is the joint most at a circuit, alongside Le Mans.
GTE Am at #8hBahrain 2021 finished with a Ferrari win, from two Porsches to complete the podium. This was the first time in the 72 #WEC races that GTE Am had concluded this way.
The closest-ever GTE Pro pole position came at #8hBahrain, in 2020. Porsche #92 pipped Aston Martin #95 to the extra-point by just 0.016 seconds.
14 drivers won their first #WEC race in Bahrain. Six of them are competing in the 2022 race: Sebastien Buemi, Nicki Thiim, Phil Hanson, Paul di Resta, Ben Keating and Rene Rast, whilst a seventh will be in the commentary box, Ant Davidson.
Nico Müller becomes the 10th driver to make their top-class debut in the Hypercar era, and the 3rd with Peugeot, alongside Mikken Jensen, Paul di Resta and Jean-Eric Vergne.
At #8hBahrain 2021, Porsche became the first marque in WEC GTE history to record nine consecutive pole positions in the class. It was the marque’s 19th in Pro, overtaking Ferrari’s 18.
At #8hBahrain 2021, Ferrari achieved its 5th GTE Pro win in the Kingdom, becoming the first marque to score five Pro wins at a single circuit.
GTE Pro ends with some similarities to how it began, at Sebring 2012. Five cars feature in the class, Italy is the most represented nation and three marques are competing.
Five cars can still mathematically win the LMP2 title going into the 8 Hours of Bahrain. Only twice before in WEC have five or more crews in a single class still been eligible when going into the final race – GTE Pro in 2016 (five crews) and GTE Am in 2018/19 (six crews). In both instances, the leaders going into the race held on to win the title.
32 drivers who have won in Bahrain previously are competing in the 2022 race.
#8hBahrain marks the 12th and final race for the Alpine A480, after its 16 races as the Rebellion R13. From Alpine’s 11 top class races so far, the French outfit has missed the podium only once.
The 4th running of #8hBahrain features the joint most entries in the top class at this particular event with five, alongside the 2019 race. Toyota, Alpine and Peugeot face off in the desert, with this marking the first time since 2017 that two Hybrid marques compete in Bahrain, which featured 2023-returnees Porsche.
GTE Am championship-leaders TF Sport have suffered mixed fortunes in Bahrain. The British team were not classified at the first 8 Hours of Bahrain in 2019, before finishing P8 at the season finale. In 2021, they won the 6 Hours of Bahrain, before again retiring from the 8-hour race.
Project1’s Phillip Hyett will become the 75th American driver to compete in the WEC. The USA becomes only the 3rd nation to reach this milestone, after France and the UK.
With thanks to ‘Magic Alex’ WECData