Local ace Kamui Kobayashi brought the #7 Toyota GR010 Hybrid to its fourth victory of the season in the 6 Hours of Fuji to secure fifth consecutive FIA World Endurance Championship manufacturers’ title for the Japanese automaker
Toyota celebrated a hard-fought 1-2 home success as the #7 entry of Kamui Kobayashi, José María López and Mike Conway finished ahead of its sister #8 machine shared by Brendon Hartley, Sébastien Buemi and Ryō Hirakawa.
Porsche Penske Motorsport equalled its best result of the season as the #6 entry of André Lotterer, Kevin Estre and Laurens Vanthoor enjoyed a stellar race, taking the lead on the opening lap and remaining in control for well over half of the race, but eventually having to settle for the final step of the podium.
Ferrari AF Corse took fourth and fifth with the #50 499P of Antonio Fuoco, Nicklas Nielsen and Miguel Molina finishing ahead of the #51 machine shared by Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado and Antonio Giovinazzi.
Hertz Team Jota claimed sixth position but lost early momentum after a penalty for a collision with its sister LMP2 entry in the opening stages of the race.
Peugeot TotalEnergies’ cars were seventh and eighth with #94 9X8 of Gustavo Menezes, Stoffel Vandoorne and Loïc Duval finishing ahead of the #93 9X8 which experienced a lengthy last-hour pit stop for Jean-Éric Vergne after a hydraulic issue.
Proton Competition Porsche took its first FIA WEC points for ninth place despite being compromised and slipping out of contention for the top spots following a safety belt issue that occurred midway through the race.
Cadillac Racing rounded out the top ten, having recorded a disappointing result after the #2 V.Series R lost its left front wheel in the penultimate hour, having to spend several laps in the garage for repairs.
TEAM WRT WINS AND CLOSES ON LMP2 TITLE
#41 WRT Oreca-Gibson of Robert Kubica, Louis Delétraz and Rui Andrade won after overhauling the early-leading #22 United Autosports car. The trio extended their title advantage after their second win of the season.
The #31 WRT entry of Robin Frijns, Ferdinand Habsburg and Sean Gelael looked to have sealed 1-2 for WRT after Frijns vaulted United Autosports’ Filipe Albuquerque with 10 minutes to go but the Portuguese re-took the position in a thrilling fight, and along with teammates Phil Hanson and Frederik Lubin sealed second place.
Title-contending Inter Europol Competition arrived in Japan 10 points off the championship-leading Team WRT entry but experienced a difficult race weekend and took the checkered flag ninth in class.
AF CORSE TAKES FIRST LMGTE AM VICTORY OF THE SEASON
Davide Rigon, Thomas Flohr and Francesco Castellacci took the #54 AF Corse Ferrari to its first LMGTE Am win of 2023.
The #57 Kessel Racing Ferrari 488 GTE Evo of Riotmo Miyata, Takeshi Kimura and Scott Huffaker finished second to make it 1-2 for the “Prancing Horse”, however, was later handed a 10s penalty for not reducing the speed sufficiently during a Full Course Yellow period.
Title-winning #33 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C8.R experienced a hectic race that included two penalties to finish third on the road, but was promoted to second place following the penalty for the #57 car.
The #85 Iron Dames entry shared by Sarah Bovy, Michelle Gatting and Rahel Frey rounded out the top three, taking its second podium finish of the season.