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GAZOO Racing wins 2019-2020 FIA World Endurance Championship
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 26 - 11 - 2020

GAZOO Racing (GR) claimed the 2019-2020 FIA World Endurance Championship title with a stunning one-two victory in the 8 Hours of Bahrain recently. Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López took first place in the No. 7 TS050 Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) during the eighth and final race of the season, which also marked the last WEC championship appearance for Toyota's three-time Le Mans-winning vehicle.
The No. 7 TS050 HEV crew overturned a points deficit going into the season finale to win from pole position, earning a well-deserved major title. Meanwhile, the outgoing World Champions Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima delivered a perfect result for the GR team alongside Brendon Hartley in the No. 8 TS050 HEV to earn second place, 64.594 seconds behind.
The race brought the curtain down on the LMP1 era in endurance racing, in which GR has participated since 2012. During its 64 races, the team has won 29, earned 26 pole positions and set 24 fastest laps, winning both the teams' and drivers' World Championship in three of its eight seasons.
GR has managed to reduce fuel consumption by 35% since 2012, while maintaining the outstanding performance of its vehicles. Since its 2016 debut, the TS050 HEV has been raced by 11 different drivers in 34 races, winning Le Mans three times as part of 19 WEC victories, earning 16 pole positions and setting 15 fastest laps in the process — including at the legendary Circuit de la Sarthe.
The final WEC race of the season was a straight fight between the two TS050 HEVs for victory and the world title, with No. 7 TS050 HEV holding a theoretical 0.54-second success handicap advantage over the No. 8 TS050 HEV as a result of the standings going into this event. Conway started from pole position and established a lead that Kobayashi and López extended consistently throughout the next eight hours.
The success handicap proved challenging for the No. 8 TS050 HEV crew, and, despite a valiant effort, the gap expanded to 75 seconds soon after the half-distance mark. Going into the final quarter of the race, the lead was reduced to around 30 seconds, leaving no margin for error. But the No. 7 TS050 HEV crew rose to the challenge and established a one-minute lead during the final hour, with Kobayashi crossing the line to win after 263 laps, taking the World Championship title in the process.
Over the years, Toyota has been participating in many different forms of motorsports, including Formula One, the World Endurance Championship (WEC), and the Nürburgring 24 Hours endurance race. Toyota's participation in these events was overseen by separate entities within the company until April 2015, when Toyota established GR, to consolidate all of its motorsports activities under one in-house brand.
Representing Toyota's belief that ‘the roads build the people, and the people build the cars,' GR highlights the role of motorsports as a fundamental pillar of Toyota's commitment to making ‘ever-better' cars. Harnessing years of experience gained under the extreme conditions of various motorsports events, GR aims to forge new technologies and solutions that bring the freedom, adventure, and joy of driving to everyone.
While the desert dust is settling on the 2019-2020 season, preparations for the six-race 2021 campaign are already under way with endurance tests for the GR team's new Hypercar planned in the coming months, prior to its race debut in the 1,000 Miles of Sebring on 19 March. — SG


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