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No. 8 Toyota to Run with Largest Handicap in Bahrain

Toyotas handicapped by different amounts for next month’s 8 Hours of Bahrain…

Photo: Toyota

The No. 8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid has been pegged back the most in the latest round of LMP1 success handicaps for the FIA World Endurance Championship 8 Hours of Bahrain.

The championship-leading car of Sebastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Brendon Hartley will contest the fourth round of the 2019-20 season with a 2.72 second per lap handicap compared to the ‘reference car’, which in this case is the No. 6 Ginetta G60-LT-P1 AER.

Toyota’s sister No. 7 car for Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez – which trails the No. 8 by three points – will be made 2.51 seconds slower.

Both Toyotas were expected to be penalized by the same amount for Bahrain because both cars are more than 40 points clear of the No. 6 Ginetta which is last in the standings and therefore the reference vehicle.

The WEC rules published at the start of the season state that handicaps beyond 40 points’ worth cannot be made, meaning the TS050s should be penalized equally as long as they are above this threshold.

One possible explanation for them being penalized differently for Bahrain was that different coefficients were used to calculate the handicaps, however a Toyota spokesperson confirmed to Sportscar365 that this was not the case.

The coefficient is a number set by the WEC that retrieves each car’s seconds-per-lap penalty when multiplied by the points advantage over the reference car and the length of the next track on the calendar.

It now appears that the handicaps for all cars are determined in relation to a ‘virtual’ reference car that is 40 points behind the championship leader.

Sportscar365 has also reached out to the ACO for comment.

The 4 Hours of Shanghai-winning Rebellion R13 Gibson driven by Gustavo Menezes, Bruno Senna and Norman Nato will face a 1.36-second handicap for the next race after its breakthrough on-the-road triumph.

It will be a theoretical 1.12 seconds slower than the next slowest non-hybrid LMP1 car which is Team LNT’s No. 5 Ginetta.

While the Rebellion was only one kilo heavier than the Ginetta in China, it will head into the Bahrain race with a 39 kg increase in minimum weight on its fellow privateer.

This reflects a 20kg increase for the R13 Gibson from 862 to 882 kg, however the success handicap rules published in August state that non-hybrid LMP1s cannot exceed 870 kg.

The No. 5 Ginetta has seen its weight fall from 861 to 843 kg while the No. 6 Ginetta, as the reference car, will remain at 833 kg.

TF Sport Aston Heaviest in GTE-Am

The points-leading No. 90 Aston Martin Vantage GTE of TF Sport will compete with the heaviest minimum weight in Bahrain following the latest round of success ballast calculations for the class.

After successive victories at Fuji and Shanghai, the car driven by Jonny Adam, Charlie Eastwood and Salih Yoluc will race in Bahrain at 1292 kg.

This will make it two kilos heavier than the No. 83 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Evo of Nicklas Nielsen, Emmanuel Collard and Francois Perrodo which is the car with the second-largest handicap.

A further 20 kilos lighter as the third-most penalized entries are the three Ferraris entered by Red River Sport, MR Racing and AF Corse’s No. 54 crew.

The GTE-Am success handicaps are based on an accumulation of penalties for the cars finishing highest in the last two races and the top three entries in the points standings.

Additionally, a minor one-liter fuel capacity reduction has been applied to the GTE Aston Martins in both the Pro and Am categories.

Story updated to reflect success handicap explanation

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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