Toyota wins season-opening 4 Hours of Silverstone; Cool Racing victorious in LMP2
Toyota Gazoo Racing’s trio of Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and José María López took the first win of FIA WEC Season 8 after an enthralling 4 Hours of Silverstone which saw sunshine, rain and two safety car periods.
It is the third win for the Japanese squad at Silverstone and despite Mike Conway having won nine WEC races, it marks the first victory for the British driver at his home event. A total of 49,600 enjoyed Silverstone over the weekend for the WEC season-opener where 20 British drivers represented their home country.
Toyota claimed the LMP1 runners-up spot with the two TS050 Hybrid LMP1 No. 7 and No. 8 crews separated by just under 2 seconds as they crossed the finish line. The two Toyotas swapped positions on several occasions, with Kobayashi passing Brendon Hartley at the race’s half-way point following a brief spell of rain.
The third podium spot was taken by the No. 3 Rebellion Racing R13 – Gibson car with Nathanaël Berthon, Pipo Derani and Loïc Duval at the wheel. Rebellion’s sister No. 1 car finished fifth after losing time due to a puncture.
Team LNT’s No. 5 and No 6. Ginetta G60-LT-P1 AER cars were fourth and sixth respectively. The opening hour saw plenty of drama for the British squad as the No. 6 car lost its right-rear wheel before returning to the pits again shortly after.
Cool Racing takes stunning LMP2 victory on WEC debut
The highly-competitive LMP2 category, which has a total of eight teams for Season 8 – including four brand new squads, saw newcomers Cool Racing take a win on their WEC debut.
The victory was made even more impressive considering the Oreca 07 Gibson car lost one of its driving crew after team-mate Alexandre Coigny was forced to sit out due to an injury he sustained during yesterday’s ELMS race.
This left Nicolas Lapierre and Antonin Borga to bring the No. 42 car home 49.311s clear of runners-up Signatech Alpine Elf in the No. 36 Alpine A470 – Gibson car driven by Thomas Laurent, André Negrão and Pierre Ragues.
Third place finishers Racing Team Nederland, made up of Frits Van Eerd, Giedo Van Der Garde and Job Van Uitert, had a strong advantage at the race’s half-way point in the No. 29 Oreca but the race’s second safety car allowed Cool Racing to take the lead where they remained for the rest of the race.
The No. 37 Jackie Chan DC Racing entry was fourth overall, the team using Goodyear’s tyres with the American tyre manufacturer also supplying JOTA and High Class Racing who finished 5th and 7th respectively.
United Autosports' WEC debut got off to an unfortunate start after the British team were forced to retire very early in the race due to a mechanical issue while Paul di Resta was at the wheel. Elsewhere WEC debutants Cetilar Racing finished sixth in a Dallara P217 – Gibson.
Full results can be found HERE.
Next up in the FIA WEC calendar will be Japan for the 6 Hours of Fuji (5-6 October).