Mike Conway on Bahrain: “There’s a few tricks to going round there”
Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Mike Conway goes to the FIA WEC’s double-header in Bahrain next month with a seven point lead over his sister team-mates in the No. 8 Toyota GR010 Hybrid Hypercar.
With 63 points up for grabs over both races, however, it’s set to be a fierce battle over who can clinch the first-ever Hypercar drivers’ title.
In the run-up to the race, we spoke to Conway (who is partnered by Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez) to find out what he thinks of the location for the WEC’s first-ever double header.
1. Tell us about your first experience of the Bahrain International Circuit?
“First experience for me at Bahrain was in GP2 in 2007. It was the start of the GP2 season and I finished fifth in the sprint race. I really enjoyed the circuit from the first moment. I didn’t find it so easy to learn as there’s a few tricks to going quick round there but I really enjoyed it.”
2. What’s your favourite memory there?
“It has to be last year when we clinched the World Endurance Championship title. It was very tense moments and a great end to a very difficult year for everyone with the Covid situation! But I also remember 2013 in LMP2; we won the race but also finished 2nd overall as the LMP1 cars ran into some trouble. Apart from driving the track I always feel welcomed when entering the country. Also having the paddock BBQ on the race weekend is a great time to enjoy some good food and down time with the team and teammates.”
3. Do you have any preferred sections of the circuit – if so, where and why?
“A lot of the corners require a lot of rolling speed with some technical braking areas so it all flows together for me. But if I had to pick a favourite I’d say turns 11 to 13 is my favourite section at Bahrain.”
4. What’s key to a fast lap at the Bahrain International Circuit?
“Being quick … you have to put everything together and you feel really rewarded when it happens.”
5. What do you think will be the biggest challenges between the daytime 6 hour race this year followed by the day/night 8 hour race for the WEC double-header?
“The championship is all to play for so being constant over the two weekends is the big task for us. Whether we run at day or at night doesn’t change too much for me. The circuit has some of the best lighting of any circuit I have driven so far, so it never really feels like night-time.”
Round five of the WEC – the 6 Hours of Bahrain – will take place on Saturday 30 October and the WEC season-finale - the 8 Hours of Bahrain - will be staged the following weekend (Saturday 6 November).