The eighth season of the FIA World Endurance Championship kicked off with the 4 Hours of Silverstone.
Here’s a look back at each of the four categories and analysis the key talking points.
Toyota Resume LMP1 Dominance
A win for the No.7 Toyota of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José Maria Lopez was no big surprise.
The relative ease they achieved this, ahead of the sister No. 8 car, as well as the Rebellions and Ginettas, somewhat was.
At the Prologue, the non-hybrids could approach the Toyota hybrids by three to five tenths of a second. Even in qualifying for the four-hour race, the gap was still only half a second.
But, when the lights went out, the competition were no match for the Japanese manufacturer.
Toyota lost the lead due to an unlucky full course yellow in the first phase of the race, but later flew passed the leading Rebellions effortlessly.
The gap slightly shrank when the rain started to fall, but this was mostly due to the Toyota’s stopping later than the others.
In the pits, the No. 8 took over the lead from the No.7, and together, they quickly opened a considerable gap to the Rebellion No. 3.
At the next series of pit stops the lead switched back to the No. 7 again.
Brendon Hartley made his Toyota debut in the No. 8 car, and managed to close up to Kobayashi and pass him for the lead.
However, a slow last stop for Hartley gifted the lead back to Kobayashi. Subsequently, Hartley, Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima had to settle for second place.
Rebellion Drop to One-Car Entry
The No.3 Rebellion of Nathanael Berthon, Pipo Derani and Loic Duval took up the last podium spot.
After the race, Rebellion Racing confirmed that they will not enter a second car on a full-time basis.
Instead, the Swiss outfit will only enter two cars for the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps and the 24 hours of Le Mans in 2020.
Team LNT & Ginetta Off The Pace
2019 4 Hours of Silverstone – LMP1 Classification:
|1||No.7 Toyota Gazoo Racing||Mike Conway (GBR)
Kamui Kobayashi (JPN)
Jose Maria Lopez (ARG)
|2||No.8 Toyota Gazoo Racing||Sebastien Buemi (CHE)
Kazuki Nakajima (JPN)
Brendon Hartley (NZL)
|3||No.3 Rebellion Racing||Nathanael Berthon (FRA)
Pipo Derani (BRA)
Loic Duval (FRA)
|4||No.5 Team LNT||Charlie Robertson (GBR)
Ben Hanley (GBR)
Egor Orudzhev (RUS)
|5||No.1 Rebellion Racing||Bruno Senna (BRA)
Gustavo Menezes (USA)
Norman Nato (FRA)
|6||No.6 Team LNT||Oliver Jarvis (GBR)
Michael Simpson (GBR)
Guy Smith (GBR)
Porsche on Top in LMGTE Pro
2019 4 Hours of Silverstone – LMGTE Pro Classification:
|1||No.91 Porsche GT Team||Gianmaria Bruni (ITA)
Richard Leitz (AUT)
|2||No.92 Porsche GT Team||Michael Christensen (DEN)
Kevin Estre (FRA)
|3||No.97 Aston Martin Racing||Alex Lynn (GBR)
Maxime Martin (BEL)
|4||No.51 AF Corse||James Calado (GBR)
Alessandro Pier Guidi (ITA)
|5||No.95 Aston Martin Racing||Marco Sorensen (DEN)
Nicki Thiim (DEN)
|+ 1 Lap|
|DNF||No.71 AF Corse||Davide Rigon (ITA)
Miguel Molina (ESP)
Cool Racing Victorious on LMP2 Debut
Racing Team Nederland enjoyed immediate success from their switch to the Oreca chassis and managed pole position on its debut.
They also led most of the first three hours, only to lose the lead to Cool Racing’s Nico Lapierre in the last hour.
A failure in second gear also lost them second place to the #36 Signatech car on the final lap. Despite their mechanical woes, the trio of Job van Uitert, Giedo van der Garde and Frits van Eerd held onto third.
Lapierre and Antonin Borga went on to win the race on Cool Racing’s LMP2 debut.
World Champions Signatech with their new driver line-up Andre Negrão, Pierre Ragues and Thomas Laurent took second.
The race was close as expected, with ten seconds seperated second and fifth places at the finish.
2019 4 Hours of Silverstone – LMP2 Classification:
|1||No.42 Cool Racing||Nicolas Lapierre (FRA)
Antonin Borga (CHE)
|2||No.36 Signatech Alpine Elf||Thomas Laurent (FRA)
Andre Negrao (BRA)
Pierre Ragues (FRA)
|3||No.29 Racing Team Nederland||Geido van der Garde (NED)
Frits van Eerd (NED)
Job van Uitert (NED)
|4||No.37 Jackie Chan DC Racing||Ho-Pin Ting (CHN)
Gabriel Aubry (FRA)
Will Stevens (GBR)
|5||No.38 Jota Sport||Antonio Felix da Costa (POR)
Roberto Gonzalez (MEX)
|6||No.47 Cetilar Racing||Andrea Belicchi (ITA)
Roberto Lacorte (ITA)
Giorgio Sernagiotto (ITA)
|7||No.33 High Class Racing||Andres Fjordbach (DEN)
Mark Patterson (USA)
Kenta Yamashita (JPN)
|DNF||No.22 United Autosports||Filipe Albuquerque (POR)
Phillip Hanson (GBR)
Paul di Resta (GBR)
In contrast with the LMGTE Pro podium, there were no Porsches at the forefront of the LMGTE Am battle.
Ferrari and Aston Martin were represented on the podium, with AF Corse winning with their new No.83 car.
Francois Perrodo, Emmanuel Collard and Nicklas Nielsen claimed top honours, ahead of Aston Martin’s Paul Dalla Lana, Darren Turner and Ross Gunn in the No.98 car.
The MR Racing Ferrari picked up the last podium spot, with Gulf Racing UK the best Porsche could manage in fourth place.
Both last year’s World Champions and runner-ups had a difficult race.
Project 1 finished sixth (No.56) and tenth (No.57) respectively, while the first Dempsey-Proton Porsche (#77) finished fifth.
Many cars led the class during the race, underlining the competitiveness of the category. If you’re looking for the closest fights, keep an eye on the LMGTE Am class.
2019 4 Hours of Silverstone – LMGTE Am Classification:
|1||No.83 AF Corse||Emmanuel Collard (FRA)
Nicklas Nielsen (DEN)
Francois Perrodo (FRA)
|2||No.98 Aston Martin Racing||Paul Dalla Lana (CDN)
Ross Gunn (GBR)
Darren Turner (GBR)
|3||No.70 MR Racing||Olivier Beretta (MON)
Kei Cozzolino (JPN)
Motoaki Ishikawa (JPN)
|4||No.86 Gulf Racing UK||Ben Barker (GBR)
Michael Wainwright (GBR)
Andrew Watson (GBR)
|5||No.77 Dempsey-Proton Racing||Matt Campbell (AUS)
Ricciardo Pera (ITA)
Christian Ried (DEU)
|6||No.56 Team Project 1||Matteo Cairoli (ITA)
David Kolkmann (DEU)
Egidio Perfetti (NOR)
|7||No.90 TF Sport||Jonathan Adam (GBR)
Charlie Eastwood (IRL)
Salih Yoluc (TUR)
|8||No.62 Red River Sport||Bonamy Grimes (GBR)
Charles Hollings (GBR)
Johnny Mowlem (GBR)
|9||No.54 AF Corse||Francesco Castellacci (ITA)
Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA)
Thomas Flohr (CHE)
|10||No.57 Team Project 1||Jeroen Bleekemolen (NED)
Felipe Fraga (BRA)
Ben Keating (USA)
|11||No.88 Dempsey-Proton Racing||Thomas Preining (AUT)
Gianluca Giraudi (ITA)
Ricardo Sanchez (MEX)
For the official full race highlights, take a look at the review below: