World Endurance Championship (WEC) has arrived in the United Kingdom, the races held at the Silverstone race track in Northamptonshire. The three day event which hosts the different categories of the series, LMP1, LMP2, LMGTE Pro and LMGTE Am. Last year the season title was taken by Audi Sport Team’s No 1 Audi R18 e-tron Quattro Hybrid. This year there is much hype around who will win. Will it be the Audi or the Toyota, this certainly adds excitement to the series as viewers see the season unfold.
The Championship has introduced the new FIA Endurance trophies for LMP2 and LMGTE drivers. 2013 is a year of celebration for ACO which sees it’s 90th anniversary of the first 24 hour of Le Mans back in 1923. The winners of the 6 hours of Silverstone will receive the Royal Automobile Club Tourist trophy. Aston Martin are also celebrating 100 years and have announced the release of one hundred copies of a limited series called “centenary Edition” across its models: V8 vantage, DB9, Rapide and Vanquish.
The full grid comprises of thirty-five cars including Audi, Toyota, Lola, Ferrari and Aston Martin. The qualifying for LMGTE Pro and LMGTE AM has changed and it now has a new system in place where the average of the two fastest laps of the two fastest drivers is used. There have been changes to the way the other classes qualify for the six hour races. Instead of a driver achieving the fastest lap and gaining Pole position, teams will now nominate two drivers per car who have to complete two flying laps each on the same set of tyres. An average time based on these four laps will be used to calculate the grid positions.
Silverstone this weekend has seen the debut of the new Porsche 911 RSR. The 911 RSR has 460hp and based on the seventh generation of the 911. The new look of the porsche 911 RSR is dominated by the flared mudguards and the deep cooling air at the front. The vehicle styling honors “50 years of the 911”.
In vast contract to yesterdays qualifying the weather was much better and helped to maintain a good race for most teams. There were short bursts of rain but nothing like when Toyota qualified on Pole position
Toyota started off in Pole position but Audi soon got in front within the first fifteen minutes of the race. From that point it was only a matter of which Audi would win, No 1 or No 2. The Audi team kept us in suspense right up-to the last five minutes. Mcnish took the last stint in the Audi and stalked his prey. It was obvious as he set the fastest lap of the race that he wanted his home win and to take home the prestigious Royal Automobile Club Tourist trophy. It was clear that there were no team orders within the team and it was great to see the two race together.
The finish of the race had a 1-2 finish for No 2 and No 1 Audi respectively, with Toyota No 8 in third and No 7 fourth. Winners of LMP2 were no 25 Delta Oreca 03, No 24 Oak Racing Morgan second and No 41 Greaves Motorsport Zytek in third.
LM GTE Pro quite fittingly went to Aston Martin Racing No 97, Aston were celebrating their 100 years and it was a perfect end to their weekend. No 71 AF Corse Ferrari was second in the class and No 99 Aston Martin Racing finished off the podium. LM GTE Am was also won by Aston Martin No 95, No 81 Larbre Competition Chevrolet second and No 22 8 Star Ferrari F458 Italia.