As the action returns to the track at Silverstone, Porsche continue to maintain their lead from last season. As a damp practice, its hard to get a read of whose where.
In LMP1, Porsche continue from last season’s form as Timo Bernhard takes the #1 919 Hybrid to the top of the timing screens with a 1:42.182, just 0.061 seconds off from last year’s best FP1 time and a further 2.46 seconds off from the fastest lap last year. It seems these cars, despite being hit by a 10 MJ energy reduction, haven’t lost any time in relation to last year’s pace.
0.8 seconds behind the #1 Porsche is the #2 of Marc Lieb with a 1:42.996, showing two possibly different programs. Toyota, in the TS050 comes up in third with a 1:43.765 by Anthony Davidson. Although, slightly worryingly, the TS050 slowed greatly after that lap, prompting thoughts that it might’ve been a qualy sim. In 4th, you have the #8 2016 R18 of Oliver Jarvis with a 1:43.765, 1.58 seconds off the pace.
Further down the order you have the LMP1 privateers. The #4 CLM P1/01 – AER of Bykolles Racing Team driven by James Rossiter ahead of the #13 Rebellion R-One – AER of Dominik Kraihamer, which is also ahead of their #12 sister car piloted by Nelson Piquet Jr, who is making his FIA WEC debut. Unfortunately, even the fastest Privateer, non-hybrid car, is an astounding 6.67 seconds off pace.
However, we must keep in mind that this is Free Practice, I have a feeling things might be a bit different in Qualifying.
Now, in LMP2, the #26 G-Drive Racing Oreca 05 Nissan by Rast leads by .85 seconds over the nearest competitor, the Alpine A460 (a rebranded Oreca 05). This year, G-Drive has swapped from the Ligier JS P2 from Onroak to the Oreca 05. Further down the order we have the Manor Oreca 05 piloted by Roberto Merhi and just behind them, the BR01 of SMP racing piloted by Vitaly Petrov, who is also making his FIA WEC debut.
In the GT field, theFerrari leads in both categories with FIA WEC constant, Gianmaria Bruni in the new #51 488 leading in Pro and the #83 458 of Rui Aguas in AM.
There’s a lot to learn on a damp track, so more to come.