FIA WEC: Toyota 1-2 in 2019 4 Hours of Silverstone

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The LMP1 podium after the conclusion of the 2019 4 Hours of Silverstone. Image courtesy of FIA WEC.

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

Toyota cruised to victory in the 2019 4 Hours of Silverstone. Image courtesy of Toyota Motorsport.

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

Further back, the Ginettas struggled to play a role in the race.
In their debut race Team LNT suffered from a loose wheel bearing in the opening stages. Additionally, they experienced further technical issues and a spin for the No. 6, after contact with the GT Pro Ferrari of Miguel Molina, ending the race of the latter.
There’s much to improve over the season, as the gap in qualifying was also considerable at 1.2 seconds off the pace.
It remains to be seen if the new success handicaps that come into play this year can level the playing field.
By limiting, among others, fuel flow, fuel rig flow and minimum weight, the Toyota’s should be significantly slower at the next WEC race at Fuji.

2019 4 Hours of Silverstone – LMP1 Classification:

Pos. Team Drivers (Nationality) Laps Time/Retired
1 No.7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Mike Conway (GBR)

Kamui Kobayashi (JPN)

Jose Maria Lopez (ARG)

129 4:00:57.709
2 No.8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Sebastien Buemi (CHE)

Kazuki Nakajima (JPN)

Brendon Hartley (NZL)

129 +1.901
3 No.3 Rebellion Racing Nathanael Berthon (FRA)

Pipo Derani (BRA)

Loic Duval (FRA)

128 +1 Lap
4 No.5 Team LNT Charlie Robertson (GBR)

Ben Hanley (GBR)

Egor Orudzhev (RUS)

124 +5 Laps
5 No.1 Rebellion Racing Bruno Senna (BRA)

Gustavo Menezes (USA)

Norman Nato (FRA)

123 +6 Laps
6 No.6 Team LNT Oliver Jarvis (GBR)

Michael Simpson (GBR)

Guy Smith (GBR)

112 +17 Laps

 

Porsche on Top in LMGTE Pro

Porsche got their title defence off to a perfect start with a 1-2 finish at Silverstone. Image courtesy of Porsche Motorsport.
The competition in GT Pro was strong as expected.
After the AF Corse Ferraris locked out the front row on Saturday, it was the Manthey Porsches that claimed the honours on Sunday.
The updated 911’s didn’t have a clear run, especially after Gianmaria Bruni suffered a remarkable temporary loss of speed. Despite this setback, the No.91 Porsche came out on top.
Though, it seemed that the Ferrari’s had the faster package, as the No.71 of Davide Rigon and Miguel Molina led early on. then, their race conclusion suddenly after a collision with  the No.6 Ginetta.
Later on, Alessandro Pier Guidi in the No.51 closed down considerable on the leading Porsche’s with relative ease. Shortly after, the Italian passed the duo in quick succession.
Unfortunately, a drive-through penalty for overtaking during the safety car ended his and James Calado’s hope of winning the race.
Right after the Ferrari came into the pits, the penalty was overturned by the stewards, but the damage was already done.
Aston Martin No.97 car of Alex Lynn and Maxime Martin, came pretty close and was only 2.4 seconds of the second Porsche.

2019 4 Hours of Silverstone – LMGTE Pro Classification:

Pos. Team Drivers (Nationality) Time/Retired
1 No.91 Porsche GT Team Gianmaria Bruni (ITA)

Richard Leitz (AUT)

115 Laps
2 No.92 Porsche GT Team Michael Christensen (DEN)

Kevin Estre (FRA)

115 Laps
3 No.97 Aston Martin Racing Alex Lynn (GBR)

Maxime Martin (BEL)

115 Laps
4 No.51 AF Corse James Calado (GBR)

Alessandro Pier Guidi (ITA)

115 Laps
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)

Collision

Cool Racing Victorious on LMP2 Debut

The Swiss Cool Racing were immediately competitive on their LMP2 debut. Image courtesy of Cool Racing.

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.

United Autosports didn’t have a successful race, as an electrical issue that forced them to retire after two laps. Both Jota-run cars weren’t far off the podium, missing out by a mere seven seconds.

2019 4 Hours of Silverstone – LMP2 Classification:

Pos. Team Drivers (Nationality) Time/Retired
1 No.42 Cool Racing Nicolas Lapierre (FRA)

Antonin Borga (CHE)

124 Laps
2 No.36 Signatech Alpine Elf Thomas Laurent (FRA)

Andre Negrao (BRA)

Pierre Ragues (FRA)

124 Laps
3 No.29 Racing Team Nederland Geido van der Garde (NED)

Frits van Eerd (NED)

Job van Uitert (NED)

124 Laps
4 No.37 Jackie Chan DC Racing Ho-Pin Ting (CHN)

Gabriel Aubry (FRA)

Will Stevens (GBR)

124 Laps
5 No.38 Jota Sport Antonio Felix da Costa (POR)

Roberto Gonzalez (MEX)

124 Laps
6 No.47 Cetilar Racing Andrea Belicchi (ITA)

Roberto Lacorte (ITA)

Giorgio Sernagiotto (ITA)

+2 Laps
7 No.33 High Class Racing Andres Fjordbach (DEN)

Mark Patterson (USA)

Kenta Yamashita (JPN)

+2 Laps
DNF No.22 United Autosports Filipe Albuquerque (POR)

Phillip Hanson (GBR)

Paul di Resta (GBR)

Electrical Issue

GT Am

AF Corse experienced better fortune in the LMGTE Am class. Image courtesy of FIA WEC.

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:

Pos. Team Drivers (Nationality) Time/Retired
1 No.83 AF Corse Emmanuel Collard (FRA)

Nicklas Nielsen (DEN)

Francois Perrodo (FRA)

114 Laps
2 No.98 Aston Martin Racing Paul Dalla Lana (CDN)

Ross Gunn (GBR)

Darren Turner (GBR)

+1 Lap
3 No.70 MR Racing Olivier Beretta (MON)

Kei Cozzolino (JPN)

Motoaki Ishikawa (JPN)

+1 Lap
4 No.86 Gulf Racing UK Ben Barker (GBR)

Michael Wainwright (GBR)

Andrew Watson (GBR)

+1 Lap
5 No.77 Dempsey-Proton Racing Matt Campbell (AUS)

Ricciardo Pera (ITA)

Christian Ried (DEU)

+1 Lap
6 No.56 Team Project 1 Matteo Cairoli (ITA)

David Kolkmann (DEU)

Egidio Perfetti (NOR)

+1 Lap
7 No.90 TF Sport Jonathan Adam (GBR)

Charlie Eastwood (IRL)

Salih Yoluc (TUR)

+1 Lap
8 No.62 Red River Sport Bonamy Grimes (GBR)

Charles Hollings (GBR)

Johnny Mowlem (GBR)

+1 Lap
9 No.54 AF Corse Francesco Castellacci (ITA)

Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA)

Thomas Flohr (CHE)

+1 Lap
10 No.57 Team Project 1 Jeroen Bleekemolen (NED)

Felipe Fraga (BRA)

Ben Keating (USA)

+2 Laps
11 No.88 Dempsey-Proton Racing Thomas Preining (AUT)

Gianluca Giraudi (ITA)

Ricardo Sanchez (MEX)

+3 Laps

 

For the official full race highlights, take a look at the review below:

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