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FIA WEC – 6 Hours of Silverstone


 

Silverstone, 16 April, 2017

The first round of the FIA World Endurance Championship, the 6 Hours of Silverstone, was the conclusion of a busy weekend of racing at the Northants circuit, and was held on a cool Sunday afternoon, with a blustery wind, and some light rain showers around mid distance thrown in for good measure. In fact the weather was better than had been forecast, and it didn’t deter over 50,000 endurance race fans from attending to see Porsche and Toyota go head to head now that Audi had departed the endurance race scene. All credit is due to the organisers, as they really do make it a fan and family friendly event, with plenty of off track entertainment for all ages in the fun zone, much of it free to use and enjoy, and not all of it motor sport related, especially the things geared to the younger generation.

The two 20 minutes long qualifying sessions at lunchtime on Saturday, one for LMP1 & LMP2 cars, preceded by the combined GT class session, saw the pair of Toyota TS050-Hybrids lock out the overall front row of the grid, with the # 7 example of Conway / Kobayashi / Lopez taking the pole position honours, just 0.289sec quicker than the # 8 car of Buemi / Davidson / Nakajima. Surprisingly the pair of Porsche 919 Hybrids were over a second adrift of the Toyotas, with the # 1 example driven by Jani / Lotterer / Tandy a fraction under half a second quicker than the sister car of Bernhard / Bamber / Hartley. The times in all the classes are an average of the fastest laps completed by two of the nominated drivers during the session. In the LMP2 category the class pole position went to the # 26 G-Drive Racing entered Oreca 07-Gibson of Rusinov / Thiriet / Lynn, by a scant 0.046sec from the # 36 Signatech Alpine Matmut entered Alpine A470-Gibson of Lapierre / Menezes / Rao. 

In the GT categories the LMGTE Pro qualifying honours went to the # 67 Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK entered Ford GT of Priaulx / Tincknell / Derani, ahead of the # 71 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE of Bird / Rigon. In the LMGTE Am class it was the # 98 Aston Martin Racing entered Aston Martin V8 Vantage of Dalla Lana / Lamy / Lauda that claimed pole position from the # 54 Spirit of Race entered Ferrari 488 GTE of Flohr / Castellacci / Molina. 

When the lights went out the pole sitting # 7 Toyota made a perfect start to lead the field into the first corner, and over the next few laps extended its lead over the pursuing pack headed by the sister # 8 example, with the Porsches seemingly unable to attack in the early stages, running their low downforce aero package against Toyotas high downforce configuration. In the LMP2 class the pole sitting G- Drive Oreca led in the early stages until it was baulked by one of the Porsches which appeared to have a boost problem, which allowed the # 36 Signatech Alpine and the # 31 Vaillante Rebellion Oreca to slip past. The car then had a problem with a door not latching properly and had to make an unscheduled stop, dropping it off the class lead lap, to finish an eventual 5th in class. 

Things were looking good for Toyota until one of the rain showers caught out the # 7 car whilst being driven by Jose Maria Lopez at around two thirds distance, and he skated into the tyre wall at Copse Corner. This created a full course yellow whilst the car was extricated and the tyre wall repaired. He managed to limp back to the pits minus the front bodywork and with the steering askew, and amazingly the team effected repairs, and managed to get the car back out on track, although well down the order. 

The Porsches seemed stronger in the latter stages, and the # 2 Porsche driven by Bernhard / Bamber / Hartley was leading with 30 minutes remaining, but was being hunted down by the healthy # 8 Toyota of Buemi / Davidson / Nakajima which was on fresher rubber, and just as in the ELMS race on Saturday afternoon the leader saw his advantage being eroded at a rapid rate, and could do nothing as the Toyota swept past and on to the race win. The # 1 Porsche of Jani / Lotterer / Tandy took the final podium spot. In the LMP2 class the Jota-Sport run Jackie Chan DC Racing entered # 38 Oreca of Tung / Jarvis / Laurent that made the best of the safety car periods to emerge victorious, the first WEC win for a Chinese entry. Apart from the lone Alpine, which had dropped away as the race progressed to finish an eventual 4th, all the other LMP2 runners were Oreca 07-Gibsons, with the # 31 example of Canal / Prost / Senna claiming 2nd and the # 28 example of Perrodo / Vaxiviere / Collard finished 3rd

In the GT classes there were numerous fraught battles throughout the six hours, with the # 67 Ford of Priaulx / Tincknell / Derani coming through to take the LMGTE Pro class win after early setbacks including a puncture and a problem closing the door. The win came courtesy of a “free” pit stop during the safety car period to recover the Toyota, which put it ahead of the Calado / Pier Guidi Ferrari, which finished 2nd in class. The final podium spot went to the # 91 Porsche of Lietz / Makowiecki, after the sister car # 92 retired with a fire out on the circuit. In the LMGTE Am class it was Clearwater Racing’s # 61 Ferrari 488 GTE driven by Mok / Sawa / Griffin that took a debut victory, having led the class in the closing stages, but then needing to make a “splash and dash” stop for fuel, handing the class lead to the # 98 Aston Martin V8 Vantage of Dalla Lana / Lamy / Lauda, with the # 54 Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 GTE driven by Flohr/Castellacci/Molina also getting by. On the last lap the # 98 Aston Martin and # 54 Ferrari collided, allowing the # 61 Ferrari to sweep past and to retake the class lead and victory, with the Aston Martin recovering to take 2nd place. The # 77 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche took the final podium place in the hands of Ried / Cairoli / Dienst.  

Race Results

Overall & LMP1 Class

1st         # 8, Toyota TS050-Hybrid, Toyota Gazoo Racing, S. Buemi / A. Davidson / K. Nakajima
2nd        # 2, Porsche 919 Hybrid, Porsche LMP Team, T. Bernhard / E. Bamber / B. Hartley
3rd        # 1, Porsche 919 Hybrid, Porsche LMP Team, N. Jani / A. Lotterer / N. Tandy

LMP2 Class

1st         # 38, Oreca 07-Gibson, Jackie Chan DC Racing, H. Tung / O. Jarvis / T. Laurent
2nd        # 31, Oreca 07-Gibson, Vaillante Rebellion, J. Canal / N. Prost / B. Senna
3rd        # 28, Oreca 07-Gibson, TDS Racing,F. Perrodo / M. Vaxiviere / E. Collard

LMGTE Pro Class

1st         # 67, Ford GT, Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK, A. Priaulx / H. Tincknell / L. Derani
2nd        # 51, Ferrari 488 GTE, AF Corse, J. Calado / A. Pier Guidi
3rd        # 91, Porsche 911 RSR, Porsche GT Team, R. Lietz / F. Makowiecki

LMGTE Am Class

1st         # 61, Ferrari 488 GTE, Cleawater Racing, W. Mok / K. Sawa / M. Griffin
2nd        # 98, Aston Martin V8 Vantage, Aston Martin Racing, P. Dalla Lana / P. Lamy / M. Lauda
3rd        # 77, Porsche 911 RSR (991), Dempsey-Proton Racing, C. Ried / M. Cairoli / M. Dienst

 

 

 

Race #

Mode

Chassis #

Team

Colour

Drivers

Position

 

 

 

 

 

 

O/A

Cl.

Class LMGTE Pro

 

 

51

Ferrari 488 GTE

3816

AF Corse

Red-Multi

J. Calado /
A. Pier Guidi

14th

2nd

71

Ferrari 488 GTE

3818

AF Corse

Red-Multi

S. Bird/
D. Rigone

17th

5th

Class LMGTE Am

 

 

61

Ferrari 488 GTE

3806

Clearwater Racing

Grey-Orange-Yellow

W. Sun Mok /
K. Sawa /
M. Griffin

20th

1st

54

Ferrari 488 GTE

3814

Spirit of Race

Silver-Red Stripe

T. Flohr /
M.Molina /
F. Castellacci

DNF

DNF

 

 

Keith Bluemel         
04/2017