At the fifth edition of the World Endurance Championship (WEC), which took place on Sunday at the Six Hours of Fuji, Toyota won both races, beating out an Alpine and a Peugeot in the process. This was the second endurance race for Peugeot since the brand’s return to the sport. Winners of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June were the number 8 Toyota driven by Swiss Sébastien Buemi, New Zealander Brendon Hartley, and Japanese Ryo Hirakawa. They won by a margin of one minute and eight seconds over their sister car, the number 7 Toyota driven by Briton Mike Conway, Japan’s Kamui Kobayashi, and Argentina’s José-Maria Lopez.
Fourth place went to the Peugeot 9X8 of the Frenchman Jean-Éric Vergne, the Dane Mikkel Jensen, and the British Paul di Resta, who were seven laps behind the winning crew. The podium was completed by the number 36 Alpine, which was driven by the French Nicolas Lapierre and Matthieu Vaxivière and supported by the Brazilian André Negrao. They were only two laps away from winning the race. At this event, the Peugeot 9X8 Hypercar, which had previously been seen competing at Monza in early July, was taking part in the race for the second time. The third vehicle that competed, which was driven by three men from different countries—a Frenchman named Loc Duval, an American named Gustavo Menezes, and a British guy named James Rossiter—finished in 20th position, 15 laps behind the winners.
After an absence of ten years after victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1992, 1993, and 2009, Peugeot is making its comeback to the endurance racing scene this year. Along with Toyota, Peugeot, and Alpine, a number of other prominent automakers are expected to commit to the Hypercar class in the coming seasons. including but not limited to Porsche, Ferrari, Audi, BMW, Cadillac, and Lamborghini.
Classification of the Six Hours of Fuji, 5th round (out of 6) of the World Endurance Championship (WEC):
1. Sebastien Buemi-Brendon Hartley-Ryo Hirakawa (SUI-NZL-JPN/Toyota), 232 laps
2. Mike Conway-Kamui Kobayashi-José Maria Lopez (GBR-JPN-ARG/Toyota) at 1’08”382
3. André Negrao-Nicolas Lapierre-Matthieu Vaxivière (BRA-FRA-FRA/Alpine) at 2 laps
4. Jean-Eric Vergne-Mikkel Jensen-Paul di Resta (FRA-DEN-GBR / Peugeot) at 7 laps
5. Robin Frijns-Dries Vanthoor-Sean Gelael (NED-BEL-INA / Oreca-Gibson) at 7 laps (1st category LMP2)
Next race: Eight Hours of Bahrain, November 12.