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For the past five years, Toyota has run effectively unopposed in an FIA World Endurance Championship with no other major manufacturers in the top class of prototype racing. That changed when Ferrari, Porsche, Peugeot, and Cadillac all joined the grid full-time this year, but Toyota's record in the series did not. With a win in Saturday's WEC season finale in Bahrain, Toyota has completed yet another championship season.
With the manufacturer's title was already in hand, today's win secures the driver's championship for the No. 8 team of Brendon Hartley, Ryo Hirakawa, and Sebastien Buemi. It was a relatively straightforward 1-2 finish for Toyota's GR010s, with the No. 50 Ferrari 499P completing the overall podium and grabbing third in the driver's championship from the Le Mans-winning No. 51 Ferrari that was mathematically alive for that title entering this race.
While all five manufacturers led at times during the 24 Hours of Le Mans, most WEC rounds have looked like today's race at Bahrain: A runaway win for Toyota, with Ferraris successfully holding off Porsches a few minutes behind. Next season, those four manufacturers will face BMW M Hybrid V8s run in Europe for the first time by new factory partner Team WRT, a new factory entry from Lamborghini, and a Peugeot program set to introduce an updated 9X8 racer. Hopefully, balance-of-performance will be more equal and the Toyotas will have a little bit more competition from their seven other major manufacturer rivals on race day.
In LMP2, a 1-2 finish for Team WRT secured a championship in the team's final year racing in that class before moving to Hypercar. Corvette Racing had already long since locked up the GTE-Am championship, but the all-women team of Iron Dames secured second in the championship with a win on Saturday. Those classes will look very different next year, with LMP2 being dropped from the full-season WEC calendar entirely and GTE-Am converted into a new, GT3-based class with different entry requirements.
The 2024 FIA WEC season begins in Qatar on March 2nd. The tentpole race of the championship, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, is scheduled for its traditional date in the middle of June.