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Toyota kicks off 2021 to celebrate endurance season. In addition to winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans with car #7, the automaker founded by Kiichiro Toyoda also lifted the cup for the WEC at the start of the hypercar era. It was the Japanese automaker’s third straight title at the World Endurance Championship.
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The party began in August, when the team formed by Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose María López took the most traditional victory in a long-run race for the first time. Starting from pole position, the trio led the brawl at Le Mans from the first hours, managing the advantage placed on the brand’s second car and not giving anyone a chance to win with car #7 in the previous three years, Gallic. Race only #8.wins . saw
Conway, Kobayashi and López’s victories inaugurated the era of hypercars, a category that has replaced LMP1 from 2021 with the goal of taking long-haul racing back to the golden age.
Sebastian Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Brendan Hartley had a slightly more problematic race at Le Mans, but managed to finish second by making a one-two for Toyota. Third place in the hypercars went to Alpine, led by Nicolas Lapierre, Mathieu Vaxivire and André Negro.
Toyota’s double party at the 8 Hours of Bahrain (Photo: Toyota Gazoo Racing)
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In the overall championship, #7 was also won, with Mike, Kamui and Jose María winning the bi-championship in the resistance category. Apart from Le Mans, the trio won twice: at Monza and on their first visit to Bahrain. #8 of Sebastian Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Brendan Hartley conquered the second route at Spa-Francorchamps, Portimo and through the Bahrain area. The champions, however, managed four out of six possible poles.
And that was really a turning point. The #8 trio won the first two races of the year at Spa and Portimo, before transitioning to #7 at Monza, Le Mans and 6 Horas do Bahrain. #8 Once again 8 hours of Bahrain will get better, but it won’t be enough. After problems during the race, the five-point gap was marked by a fourth-place finish at #8 at Monza.
Third place in the championship was in an alpine car, with Brazil’s Andre Negro’s trio of Nicolas Lapierre and Mathieu Vaxivire – even without Toyota’s power, the group went on the podium at all stages.
In the LMP2 category, Robin Frijns/Ferdinand von Habsburg/Charles Millesi won the title due to victories in the last three stages – including Le Mans; In GTE Pro, James Calado/Alessandro Pier Guidi won with AF Corse Ferrari; In the GTE Am, AF Corse Ferrari too, now with Nicklas Nielsen/François Perrodo/Alessio Rovera. All champions won Le Mans, again showing their weight for the season.
Felipe Nasr and Pipo Derani vibrate with the title (Photo: IMSA)
At IMSA Sportscar, in the United States, the title dispute lasted until the very end, but the Brazilian team formed by Felipe Nasr and Pipo Derani won the title – Nasr’s second in the achievement category, but first by Derani.
During the year, Felipe and Pipo won three victories – in Race 2 at Watkins Glen, Road America and Long Beach – leading the way to win the Cup.
Confirmation of the achievement was dramatic: clinging to the championship standings, Derani/Nassar and Philippe Albuquerque/Ricky Taylor were in a keen position to bid farewell to the season at Petit Le Mans. It was simply a matter of whoever came first would be the champion.
In the final stage, with Oliver Jarvis and Harry Tinknell at the front and Mazda leading the way in a farewell farewell to the division, Taylor and Nassar struggled to finish ahead. Taylor and Nasr disputed positions in the last lap, wheel to wheel and the car left the track, but Felipe got the better of it.
In other categories, Mikel Jensen / Ben Keating (LMP2), defeated Gar Robinson [LMP3] – With Felipe Fraga in four of his five wins – Antonio Garcia / Jordan Taylor [GTLM] and Zach Robinson/Lawrence Vanthoor [GTD],
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