Endurance Racing

Three out of three for the #8 – Victory for Alonso, Nakajima and Buemi at Silverstone

Photo: Toyota Gazoo Racing

It’s another 1-2 finish for Toyota as the #8 car wins the FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Silverstone. Jackie Chan DC Racing took 1st and 2nd in LMP2, AF Corse won GTE Pro and Dempsey Proton Competition extend their championship lead with a win in GTE Am.

Toyota can add another 1-2 finish to their tally following a win for Fernando Alonso, Kazuki Nakajima and Sebastien Buemi at the 6 Hours of Silverstone. As much as we’d like to hope otherwise, there was never any doubt that it was going to be one of the Toyotas winning this race and after 197 laps, full-course yellows, a safety car, several bodywork changes and some on-track overtaking, it was the #8 car which came out on top.

As for the non-hybrid LMP1 teams, Rebellion continued to show that they are the team to beat as the two R13s finished second and third, the #3 crew of Mathias Beche, Thomas Laurent and Gustavo Menezes ahead of Andre Lotterer and Neel Jani in the #1. A messy race for one of the SMP Racing BR1s saw the #17 finish fifth, while the #11 didn’t even make the end of the first hour – the AER engine appeared to give up on Mikhail Aleshin, leading the Russian to park the car at Maggotts and Becketts.

There was also a 1-2 finish in LMP2 – the two Jackie Chan DC Racing Orecas took the top two steps on the podium, Ho-Pin Tung in the Mighty 38 finishing just less than two seconds ahead of Jazeman Jaafar in the Fortune Cat 37. Neither of the teams in third and fourth seemed to want the bottom step of the podium judging by the penalties being handed out! But it was a second penalty for the #31 Dragonspeed which really put the nail in the coffin of their podium efforts – third eventually went to the #36 Signatech Alpine crew. TDS Racing looked strong during the first half, but a combination of gremlins and a front left puncture destroyed the French team’s podium hopes. British LMP2 debutant Anthony Davidson came in fourth alongside Dragonspeed teammates Roberto Gonzalez and Pastor Maldonado.

After a disastrous start, it looked like it was going to be a great day for Ford Chip Ganassi. However, some unfortunately timed FCY and Safety Car periods meant the two Fords lost a lot of time, particularly the #66 which required a new driver side door. Harry Tincknell and Andy Priaulx in the #67 managed to claw back plenty of positions and ended up third. Reaping the benefits of Ford’s poor fortunes was AF Corse – James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi ran a fantastic race, and kept a rapid Porsche and charging Ford at bay to take the win. For the first time this season, Gianmaria Bruni and Richard Lietz finished ahead of the sister car – the #91 took second, while the #92 finished fourth.

Aston Martin appear to have made strides in performance with the #97 finishing in fifth ahead of the #81 BMW. The final four cars in GTE Pro all had problems during the race, the #71 Ferrari came into contact with the #17 SMP Racing BR1, gained a puncture and proceded to shed bodywork and rubber all over the circuit bringing out the safety car. The #95 Aston Martin Vantage suffered gearbox problems, and Antonio Felix da Costa in the #82 BMW came to a smokey halt at the side of the track.

It’s been a great outing for Porsche in GTE Am. At the start of the race, the crew at Team Project 1 were capitalising on their maiden pole position and started putting together a fantastic performance at the head of the field, but by the end of the race (and after a few penalties) the #77 Dempsey-Proton Competition had an iron grip on the lead and took the win. Behind Matt Campbell, Julien Andlauer and Christian Reid’s dappled blue and black Porsche came TF Sport who seem to have benefited greatly from the addition of Jonny Adam to their driver line-up. Third in GTE Am went down to the wire, but ultimately, Pedro Lamy in the #98 Aston Martin couldn’t keep a charging Jorg Bergmeister behind him, giving the final step of the podium to Team Project 1.

Full results available here.

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