New surface at Silverstone guarantees gripping action
This weekend’s opening FIA WEC Season 8 round at Silverstone will see the competitors getting to grips with a brand-new surface on the 5.891km circuit.
The fresh surface was laid down in June and was completed by the renowned world-class track designer Jarno Zafelli and his company Studio Dromo.
“We are now looking forward to being able to analyse the performance of our latest tyres at Silverstone which is a high-speed venue that was recently resurfaced,” said the manager of Michelin’s endurance racing programmes, Pierre Alves.
“Our partners have registered their compound preferences and our team advisors will be on hand to help them benefit fully from the potential of each one.”
For the drivers a new surface will be embraced fully as they explore the limits in the two free practice sessions today.
“It’s going to be difficult at the start of the weekend because of how smooth the surface is,” said United Autosports’ Paul di Resta.
“It tends take a bit to rubber in but when it does, it will be massively quick. You know you are going to see lap records set and I think they will stand and not get broken after this year, purely because of how fresh that tarmac is.”
The unknown factor is one that was on the minds of engineers and drivers alike during yesterday’s official track walk which allows teams to inspect the entire track at their leisure.
“There are some unknowns with the surface and on the track walk there was a lot of discussions about it and the grip levels that we expect,” explained Rebellion Racing’s Pipo Derani. “It will be very interesting to see the levels that are out there and with the weather forecast looking good I am sure there will be some big lap times coming in in every class.”
Mike McGregor, Goodyear’s Manager of Race Sales, Testing & Track Support added: “Testing has shown that recent resurfacing has created a very high grip circuit that puts heavy loads through the tyres. We’ve also noticed the surface takes longer to ‘rubber in’ after rainfall which is one of the reasons we’ve chosen softer compounds to give drivers the confidence to push hard on new tyres after a pit-stop."
The first free practice session will commence at 11h40 this morning, followed by FP2 at 16h30.