Toyota Gazoo Racing and Michelin won Great Britain’s 6 Hours of Silverstone for the second time after their maiden victory there together in 2014. First past the flag was the N°8 TS050 Hybrid of Buemi/Davidson/Nakajima, which finished clear of the N°2 (Bernhard/Bamber/Hartley) and N°1 (Jani/Lotterer/Tandy) Porsches. Michelin won all three of the classes in which it was represented.
The sixth FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) kicked off on Easter Sunday with a field of 27 cars for the 2017 6 Hours of Silverstone.
The new Michelin-equipped Toyota TS050 Hybrids dominated qualifying to monopolise the grid’s front row, with the N°7 car (Conway/Kobayashi/Lopez) earning the Japanese firm’s first WEC pole position since the 2014 Fuji race.
The two Toyotas got away to a strong start, chased by the two Porsche 919 Hybrids, but the N°7 prototype was soon delayed by a rear antiroll bar problem. At the halfway point, the N°8 Toyota led as rain swept over the Northamptonshire track.
On Lap 116, Pechito Lopez crashed badly in the N°7 car following a repeat antiroll bar issue. The ensuing safety car period bunched up the gaps at the sharp end and Buemi/Davidson/Nakajima’s 40-second advantage was wiped out.
With 47 minutes remaining, the N°8 Toyota made its final refuelling stop, imitated 20 minutes later by the N°2 Porsche which only needed a ‘splash ‘n dash’ and was consequently able to re-join in front.
The Japanese machine’s aerodynamic package was better suited to Silverstone, however, and Buemi lost no time catching the German car before reclaiming top spot with 12 minutes to go. The Swiss driver ended up crossing the line with a winning margin of 6.173s after 1,162 kilometres.
The LM GTE Pro victory went to the class’s pole-winning N°67 Ford GT/Michelin (Priaulx/Tincknell/Derani) which took the spoils ahead of the N°51 Ferrari/Michelin (Pier Giudi/Calado) and N°91 Porsche/Michelin (Lietz/Makowiecki). The N°66 Ford and the N°71 Ferrari made it an all-Michelin top five.
In LM GTE Am, the Clearwater Racing-run N°61 Ferrari/Michelin (Mok/Sawa/Griffin) took the top prize, ahead of the N°98 Aston Martin, despite a collision between the cars a few corners before the finish. The LM P2 victor was China’s Jackie Chan DC Racing outfit (N°38 Oreca07-Gibson), ahead of the N°31 Vaillante-Rebellion and N°28 TDS Racing prototypes.
Next round: Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium (May 6).