Season 8 of the FIA World Endurance Championship will conclude in Bahrain next month (14 November) for the 8 Hours of Bahrain where no fewer than five championship titles are set to be determined.
Bahrain will also mark the last official round of the premier LMP1 category before an exciting new era begins with the arrival of the eagerly-anticipated Hypercar for WEC Season 9.
Toyota Gazoo Racing may have already won the LMP1 FIA World Endurance Championship crown but the battle rages on for the LMP FIA World Endurance Drivers’ Championship title. Just seven points separate the No. 8 and No. 7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 crews going into the season-closer.
Furthermore, with a total of 39 points on the table for this round (including a bonus point for pole position), everything is still to play for. Whatever the result between the two cars, Toyota will bow out of this era in dominant style.
Bahrain will also see a fraught three-way title fight for the LMGTE FIA World Endurance Drivers’ Championship between the two Aston Martin Racing No. 95 and No. 97 crews, as well as the No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Evo entry.
Following three wins already this season, Marco Sørensen and Nicki Thiim currently top the leaderboard – 15 points ahead of recent Le Mans winners Alex Lynn and Maxime Martin in the sister Aston Martin Vantage AMR. However, there is still a mathematical chance for 2017 Champions James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi to steal the drivers’ trophy should either of the AMR entries falter – the duo are currently 26 points adrift of the lead.
Elsewhere, it is still possible for the No. 92 Porsche GT Team entry to finish runner-up in the GTE Drivers’ Championship should either the No. 97 Aston Martin crew or the No. 51 Ferrari encounter difficulties during the 8-hour race. Michael Christensen and Kevin Estre in the Porsche 911 RSR currently have a total of 109 points, 18 points behind AF Corse Ferrari in third.
LMP2 will see a total of seven cars (and 21 drivers) in Bahrain including United Autosports who recently scooped the FIA Endurance Trophy for LMP2 Teams. The fight for second and third positions, however, is wide open with a total of five teams still eligible for podium places.
JOTA is the front-runner with an 18 point lead over nearest rivals Racing Team Nederland but Cool Racing, Jackie Chan DC Racing and Signatech Alpine Elf are all still within reach. High Class Racing sits out this final round of the year.
Finally, LMGTE Am sees a healthy field of ten entries for the WEC season-closer.All eyes will be on this category next month as both the FIA Endurance Trophies for GTE Am Teams and Drivers’ titles are still up for grabs.
TF Sport (No. 90 Aston Martin Vantage AMR) and AF Corse (No. 83 Ferrari 488 GTE Evo) will go head-to-head with just eight points between them. Further down the running order, only two points separate Dempsey-Proton Racing and Aston Martin Racing who hold third and fourth respectively.
The scene is set for a thrilling finale in this all-important, and increasingly competitive, pro-am category.
Meanwhile Charlie Eastwood, Jonny Adam and Salih Yoluc now lead the race for the Drivers’ trophy on the strength of their Le Mans win. They face stiff competition, however, from 2016 Champions Emmanuel Collard and François Perrodo, together with Nicklas Nielsen, who are just eight points behind.