What the drivers said following the FIA WEC season-closer
The winning drivers and 2021 champions in each of the five categories gathered for the post race press conference after the Bapco 8 Hours of Bahrain, the sixth and final round of the 2021 FIA World Endurance Championship.
SEBASTIAN BUEMI – No. 8 TOYOTA GAZOO RACING TOYOTA GR010 HYBRID – HYPERCAR WINNER
“We did what we call copy/paste. Basically, we took over the setup from car No. 7, just to make sure that we don’t have such degradation anymore and it was obviously the right choice. In the first stint I was behind the sister car and the Alpine. I decided to save energy and with Formula E experience it’s a bit easier. We went a lap longer, it was early in the race. It was early in the race, but you never know what may happen. By having that extra lap, we opened the possibility of stopping under full course yellow. We had a good pace, we were a bit faster, but we lost over 15 seconds to the sister car in the pit stop. I’m happy with the result. They are deserving champions because they’ve done a better job this year, congratulations to car No. 7.”
MIKE CONWAY – No. 7 TOYOTA GAZOO RACING TOYOTA GR010 HYBRID – HYPERCAR CHAMPION
"It’s nice to be part of that club. [Winning the title] two times in a row is an amazing feeling. Getting Le Mans this year as well was really top of the season. I could not do it without these two guys next to me. Kamui [Kobayashi] and José [María López] have done a stunning job all year. All the guys on car No. 7 been really solid. But you we've pushed as hard as ever against the car #8. They've always been keeping us on our toes. Congrats to them today. It's always a pleasure to race these guys. Yet, I’ll be sad not to see Kaz [Nakajima] behind the wheel anymore. I wish him all the best and it's been great fun having him within the team."
ALESSANDRO PIER GUIDI – No. 51 AF CORSE FERRARI 488 GTE EVO – LMGTE PRO* Provisional champion
"It's nice to be champion again. Is was not easy. We finished the fight, it has always been fair, I think. From my point of view, I couldn't do anything. I didn't expect he [Michael Christensen] was braking so hard! He was trying to close the prototype. Then, when they told me to wait for him, that was fair enough. I was waiting. But then he pitted, so at the point that they just said: ‘okay, keep going’. At that point, what could I do? I was waiting a lot, I lost many seconds. Anyway, it was a nice battle until this moment. For sure is was not my intention to do anything. We had an intensive couple of weekends for us. We fought really hard and luckily, in the cold temperatures we had a small advantage with tyres. After the start, James [Calado] was quite close. At that point I said: ‘oh, maybe we can do it.’ Then, hours were going, and we always wouldn't been there, but we were very close."
FERDINAND HABSBURG – No. 31 TEAM WRT ORECA 07-GIBSON – LMP2
"It was incredible at the start. This morning and yesterday I was really nervous because we knew what the situation was. We had to win the race. And there were long discussions, we were quite worried that our opponents had picked up a lot of pace and anything can go wrong within eight hours. I was sweating a lot over the night. And as soon as I got my helmet on, I was very happy that I was gonna do this, because I was the earliest point that I could get my helmet on and get in the car. All the animosity and all the sweating and everything went away and I was just so excited to get the race started. I did the first two stints and had a mega time and was able to overtake a bunch of cars, which was very enjoyable. And the nice thing about getting out of the car was the amount of trust I have in these guys knowing how they were going to do a flawless race. And actually, I was very excited to get back in just because the car just felt so good and enjoyable and I’m very happy to sit at this very table again one week later."
FRANÇOIS PERRODO – No. 83 AF CORSE FERRARI 488 GTE EVO – LMGTE AM
"Now we're really thrilled. Last year, obviously, like you said, was an amazing season to clinch the title. But to be honest, we had a little bit of luck in the last race and we finished P3 in Le Mans. This season, with Nicklas [Nielsen] again, and and Alessio [Rovera], who's a fantastic driver, we won Le Mans, we won four of six races and won the title. We had the potential to really be the best and we proved it. I couldn't be prouder than today with Nicklas, Alessio, the whole team, the engineers, Amato [Ferrari], who trusted me. It's fantastic, I’m really over the moon."
FRITS VAN EERD – No. 29 RACING TEAM NEDERLAND ORECA 07-GIBSON – LMP2 PRO/AM
"It's not only me, it's a team. These guys did such a great job, unbelievable! Today it's an eight-hour race. Everybody knows it's a long race, it's a long sit and you're fighting for 20 seconds, to stay 20 seconds ahead. That's killing, really killing and you can't wait to see that it's one hour to go, and 30 minutes ago, 15 minutes, and finally it’s a finish, so it’s great. Couldn't be better. Couldn't be better. I'm over the moon.”