The Hypercar battle between Ferrari and Toyota resumes this weekend in Japan as the World Endurance Championship launches back into action with the 6 Hours of Fuji.
Toyota has claimed five of this season’s six races to date, however, Ferrari’s 24 Hours of Le Mans victory has kept them in the title fight ahead of the final two rounds.
The Japanese producer can wrap up the Manufacturer’s Championship this weekend if they outscore their Italian rivals by 13 points, however, the fight is on in the Drivers Championship, which sees all four teams still in contention.
The team of #8 Toyota, consisting of New Zealander Brendon Hartley, Sebastien Buemi and Ryo Hirakawa, hold the advantage with a 23-point lead over their teammates, Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez, and Le Mans winners Alessandro Pier Guidi, Antonio Giovinazzi and James Calado, who are tied on points.
The second Ferrari, of Antonio Fuoco, Miguel Molina and Nicklas Nielsen, is a further seven points behind in fourth.
“It’s great to go to Fuji Speedway for our home race at the top of both World Championships, and we are focused on tightening our grip with a strong result this weekend,” said Hartley.
“We saw in Monza how close the competition is and how a small mistake here or there can have a big impact on the result, so we need to be on top of our game.
“I’m sure it will be another great battle, particularly with Ferrari, who have looked very quick all year, but that’s what we all want, and we’re ready for the challenge.”
A total of 12 Hypercars will compete this weekend, with the title contenders joined on track by the Chip Ganassi Racing Team Cadillac, which features New Zealander Earl Bamber. The team sit fifth in the driver’s standings.
Also competing are two Peugeot TotalEnergies 9X8s, two Porsche Penske Motorsport factory 963s, Hertz Team JOTA and Proton Competition Porsche 963s and the Floyd Vanwall Racing Team Vanwall Vandervell 680.
Glickenhaus Racing has elected to skip this round, resulting in one less Hypercar than previous events.
Three practice sessions on Saturday will be followed by qualifying, with the race beginning at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday. The entire six hours will be broadcast on Sky Sport 5.
Header Image: Toyota Gazoo Racing