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WEC Preview: 8 Hours of Bahrain

Written by Evan Veer, Edited by Vyas Ponnuri


WEC Preview: 8 Hours of Bahrain

Written by Evan Veer, Edited by Vyas Ponnuri

The Bahrain International Circuit will be the stage of the World Endurance Championship season finale once more, with the sun literally setting on the 2023 season, as we race into darkness over the span of eight hours. The Tilke-designed track has provided both great racing and great controversy in the past, most notable of which is 2021’s championship deciding contact between Ferrari and Porsche in GTE Pro.

As has become customary the weekend format has been moved forward by a day, meaning that qualifying will take place on Friday whereas the race starts on the Saturday. Being eight hours long, the Bahrain round offers a 150% points payout across the board, with victory being rewarded with 38 points, compared to the 25 on offer for a six-hour race.

Following yet another strong season from Toyota, it looks likely for the Japanese manufacturer to again bring home both the driver’s and constructor’s championships, though in theory, the #51 Ferrari still stands a chance of snatching away the championship at the last moment. Most of the fighting will likely be happening within the Toyota camp though, with the crew of the #7 still having a realistic shot at beating the #8 to the title, a gap of 15 points separating the two crews.

On top of previously announced minor tweaks to the Balance of Power (BoP), there has also been an adjustment to the platform BoP, which in this case means that both Porsche and Cadillac will be receiving a 7kg weight reduction, in an effort to better balance the LMDh cars with their LMH counterparts. This change comes as great news to Porsche in their chase for their first Hypercar victory, after a promising showing at Fuji, as well as in their recent showings in the North-American IMSA championship, while conversely, the single Cadillac entry has been experiencing a decline in competitiveness ever since its podium finish at Le Mans.

When it comes to Peugeot, it seems most energy is already being diverted to preparing for the start of next season, as the French manufacturer is evaluating the possibility of ditching its radical wingless design, in favour of a more conventional winged concept.

Vanwall too is clouded by uncertainty about its future, though in their case, the question is whether they will be featured on the 2024 entry list at all. Several reasons have been cited for their potential rejection, including poor performance, an absence of activity on the road car side of the company, as well as their ongoing legal battle with the UK-based Vanwall 1958. Although, regardless of these factors, it is certain that a lack of space on next year’s grid will be doing them no favours.

Once again absent from the entry list is Glickenhaus, with the very sad, but not unexpected confirmation from the team that the SCG007 LMH will not be returning to the WEC or Le Mans for next season. The American underdogs will be heavily missed, though, there will certainly be yet more Hypercar teams willing to fill the gap left behind for seasons to come.


This season finale will also be the last for LMP2 as it makes space for an expanding Hypercar and GT field, though unlike the GTE’s, these cars will still be featured prominently in the IMSA and ELMS championships, as well as at Le Mans.

Team WRT looks highly likely to take home their second LMP2 championship this weekend, holding a 33-point advantage over the Le Mans winning #34 Inter Europol Competition behind. The #34’s spot in the standings is not quite as comfortable, however, as LMP2 stalwarts United Autosports are breathing down their necks, with just a single point between them.

It’s a bittersweet weekend for fans of GT racing, as the 8 Hours of Bahrain will be the last dance for the GTE’s, before going into retirement after twelve years of loyal service to the endurance racing scene.

The sweet part however is that the incoming LMGT3 class already looks set to have more manufacturer interest than it has space on the grid, meaning that we are sure to see a massively competitive and diverse field come the start of next season.

In terms of championship standings, there isn’t much to say about the GTE’s, with Corvette Racing already having wrapped up their well-deserved title at Monza, after an utterly dominant season. Regardless of the standings, GTE has proven its ability to make for incredibly close racing time and again, and hopefully its last showing will make for a spectacular goodbye, for a category that has provided the endurance racing world with so many iconic moments in the past.


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