Toyota Racing Series graduates win world title
Sébastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima won the Shanghai 6 Hours, the penultimate round of the World Endurance Sportscar Championship last night in their Toyota TS050 Hybrid.
However, second place was enough to give Kiwis Brendon Hartley and Earl Bamber victory in the World Endurance Driver’s Championship with team-mate Timo Bernhard.
Both Hartley and Bamber are graduates of New Zealand’s Toyota Racing Series. Palmerston North’s Hartley finished third in 2005, the first year the competition was held.
Wanganui’s Bamber was runner-up in 2008 and won the New Zealand Grand Prix in 2010 when that event was part of the local championship.
The Toyota team had been on course for a one-two finish at Shanghai, until the second car of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López, collided with a back marker with less than an hour remaining. They eventually finished fourth.
“To win our fourth race of the season is a really special feeling,” said Hisatake, Murata, the President of Toyota Gazoo Racing. “We were fastest in every practice session, we earned pole position and now we have won the race. I think we deserved the one-two and it was a pity to lose time right at the end of the race due to contact with a lapped car.”
“Congratulations to Porsche on winning the drivers’ and manufacturers’ World Championship. We will keep fighting at the final race, when we want to finish the season with another win.”
The result means Toyota goes to the final race of 2017, in Bahrain in a fortnight level on four wins each with Porsche. However, both title battles are over, as the first and fourth places by the two TS050 Hybrids did not gain enough points in the manufacturer’s series to take it to the final race.
6 Hours of Shanghai
1, S Buemi, A Davidson, K Nakajima (Toyota TS050 Hybrid) 195 laps;
2, T Bernhard, E Bamber, B Hartley (Porsche 919 Hybrid) +1 lap;
3, N Jani, A Lotterer, N Tandy (Porsche 919 Hybrid) +1 lap;
4, M Conway, K Kobayashi, J-M Lopez (Toyota TS050 Hybrid) +7 laps.
World Endurance Driver’s Championship
1, Bamber, Hartley, Bernhard, 190; 2, Nakajima, Buemi, 158; 3, Davidson, 143.
World Endurance Manufacturer’s Championship
1, Porsche, 303; 2, Toyota, 249.5