6-hour FIA World Endurance Championship race at Silverstone was started in clear weather, but black clouds were drifting over the track, and a little moisture in the air.
Toyota Gazoo Racing #7 had taken Pole Position ahead of #8, as well as the two SMP Racing cars, with #11 in front of #17.
In LMP2, Jackie Chan DC Racing #37 was on Pole Position, followed by their sister car #38. Signatech Alpine Matmut #36 would start from third position, ahead of TDS Racing #28.
Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK #66 was the first car in GTE Pro class, in front of the two Aston Martin Racing cars #97 and #95.
GTE Am saw Team Project 1 #56 on Pole ahead of Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche #77 and TF Sport Aston Martin #90.
The race started in a total chaos, when SMP Racing #17 hit Rebellion Racing #3. It triggered a chain reaction down the field, where people had to frantically avoid collision. Two corners later, there was a contact between DragonSpeed #31, Aston Martin Racing #98, and Clearwater Racing Ferrari #61. #61 hit the rear of #98 so hard that the diffusor got ripped off, and Paul Dalla Lana must pit right away. Luckily, his mechanics could mount a new one without them losing a lap.
Toyota still led the race with #7 ahead of #8, and SMP Racing #11 in third. SMP Racing #17 and both Rebellion Racing cars were chasing them after the contact on the first lap.
Porsche had a super start with #92 and was up at the front of the GTE Pro class, followed by Aston Martin Racing #95 and AF Corse #71.
Clearwater Racing Ferrari #61 had to pit to repair the damage from the collision with #98.
Jackie Chan DC Racing #38 got a drive-through penalty for a jump start.
Team Project 1 Porsche #56 had the lead in GTE Am, ahead of TF Sport Aston Martin #90 and Dempsey-Proton Racing #77.
Just after 41 minutes there was white smoke from SMP Racing #11, with something that looked like an engine problem. Mikael Aleshin was the only person who got to drive the car, and thus it was a huge disappointment for the spectators that local hero Jenson Button didn’t get to drive the car, neither did Vitaly Petrov.
Toyota #7 and #8 swapped places, and they had distanced themselves from the rest of the LMP1 class with over a lap just after an hour. Prior to the race it was announced that the non-hybrid cars would be a bit faster. They might have been, but Toyota Gazoo Racing was just faster.
Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK was slowly but surely back at the front of the GTE Pro class, and led 1-2 ahead of AF Corse Ferrari #71. AMR #95 and #97 didn’t have as much speed as they did earlier in the race and fell back down the field.
BMW Team MTEK cars also had problems with following the other GTE Pro cars and they dropped down to last.
Clearwater Racing Ferrari #61 got a drive-through penalty for driving 69,24 kph in the pitlane, where the max. speed is 60 kph.
There were debris on the track that triggered a Full Course Yellow. Rene Binder in ByKolles Racing Team #4 missed the message and still drove in full speed when he suddenly saw a wall of GTE cars ahead of him, which he had to avoid with high speed. Unfortunately he hit the wall and the car was out straight away. He had to get a check up in the medical centre, but luckily he was okay.
Halfway through the race, Rebellion Racing #1 and #3 drove themselves up to third and fourth positions in LMP1, while SMP Racing #17 was on P5. DragonSpeed had technical problems with the car, so they lost some laps trying to get the car repairedin the pits.
SMP Racing #17 and AF Corse Ferrari #71 got a collision in The Loop. Half a lap later Rigon in #71 got a puncture and spread debris all over the track. The first Safety Car of the day was deployed.
Just as the race was restarted, Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK went to the pits. They had to change their door when the lock didn’t work, and it costed them a lot of time.
The front suspension on TDS Racing #28 was suddenly broken on the straight, so Loic Duval had to pit. It took the mechanics several minutes the repair, and they were out of the top position in LMP2.
MR Racing Ferrari #70 got a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pitlane.
AMR #95 had problems with gear changing, so Marco Sørensen was stuck in fourth gear and couldn’t gear up or down. It was such a shame after the great start. It costed them several laps before the car was ready again. It only drove for a lap before Sørensen came back to the pits. He told Racing24-7.net after the race that the problem was likely electronic, and not something mechanical in the gearbox. So after the mechanics replaced it with a lot of boxes, it seemed to work again.
Racing Team Nederland #29 had an exciting moment when Nyck de Vries got a speed wobble and went off on the grass, and almost hit a group of cars. Luckily he stopped the car in time and managed to drive it back to the track.
TDS Racing #28 got a puncture, so Duval had to crawl back to the pits. It turned out to be the same suspension that was repaired earlier, and the mechanics sent him back to the track after a tire change.
BMW Team MTEK #82 had a tour on the grass when their front suspension broke. Afterwards, Antonio Felix da Costa tried to drive almost a whole lap. It didn’t work out and he had to park the car in the Becketts corner, which caused the second FCY period.
DragonSpeed #31 was pushed into the garage due to technical problems. All the while, Toyota Gazoo Racing #8 had plenty of time to change the car’s front nose while refuelling, changing tires, and putting Sebastien Buemi in the car.
DragonSpeed #10 got a drive-through penalty after going to the pits under the Safety Car period, at the time when the pit wasn’t open.
It was a lot worse, however, for DragonSpeed #31 in LMP2, that got a 75-second Stop & Go for the same mistake. Signatech Alpine Matmut #36 then got the same penalty.
TF Sport Aston Martin #90 had taken the lead in GTE Am from Team Project 1 Porsche #56. The two cars were really close to each other throughout the race. But with 90 minutes left on the clock, #90 pulled away a bit from #56.
Michael Christensen in Porsche #92 was catching up to AF Corse Ferrari #51, in the battle for the lead in GTE Pro class. But then he started to lose time and had to look in the rear view mirror for his teammates in #91. With a bit over an hour left, Gianmaria Bruni went past the Dane, who then had to keep an eye on Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK #67, that was closing in fast on both Porsches.
The drama about the penalties wasn’t done yet, for both TF Sport Aston Martin #90 and Team Project 1 Porsche #56 also got 75-second Stop & Go for pitting when the pit was closed under the SC period. Thus, Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche #77 was suddenly leading the class, after being in third position for the most of the race.
There was also drama in LMP1 where Rebellion Racing #1 got called into the pits because their rear light didn’t work. The team noticed it during their earlier pitstop and attempted to change the rear part of the car, but they couldn’t get it mounted and decided to send the car back to the track. But the race director had also seen the missing light and ordered them back to the pits to solve the problem. It costed them third place in the class to their teammates in #3.
Porsche #92 and Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK #67 had a fight, where Tincknell in the Ford was faster than Christensen, who tried to defend as much as he could. At one moment it looked like Christensen was back in Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup mode, where they drove wide, pushed a bit and drove over the curbs on two wheels – but Ford #67 managed to get past in the end. The stewards meant that Christensen was defending a bit too hard and gave him a warning.
Toyota Gazoo Racing #8 built up their lead in LMP2, since #7 should have changed their rear part. The team had been playing around with changing front and rear parts on both cars, with different downforce levels. But in the last pitstop it didn’t go as planned for #7 and they lost the lead shortly afterwards.
But nobody could threaten Toyota Gazoo Racing #8 with Sebastian Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima, and Fernando Alonso, that won the race ahead of their teammates Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway, and Jose Maria Lopez in #7, while Rebellion Racing #3 with Gustavo Menezes, Thomas Laurent, and Mathias Beche took the last place on the podium.
Jackie Chan DC Racing #38 repeated their victory last year, though with two third of new drivers in the shape of Gabriel Aubry and Stephane Richelmi, and last year’s winner Ho-Pin Tung. Also their teammates in #37, Nabil Jeffri, Weiron Tan, and Jazeman Jaafar finished on second place, in front of Signatech Alpine Matmut #36 with Nico Lapierre, Andre Negrao, and Pierre Thiriet. The two Jackie Chan DC Racing cars drove a close race with each other and crossed the finish line with less than two seconds in between.
AF Corse Ferrari #51 with James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi won GTE Pro class, ahead of Porsche #91 with Gianmaria Bruni and Richard Lietz, and Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK #67 with Harry Tincknell and Andy Priaulx. Michael Christensen got Porsche #92 on fourth place, while Marco Sørensen and Nicki Thiim finished ninth in their #95.
The third place in GTE Am was decided on the very last lap, but nobody could keep up with Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche #77 with Christian Ried, Julien Andlauer, and Matt Campbell, who won with 46 seconds down to Salih Yoluc, Jonny Adam, and Charlie Eastwood in TF Sport Aston Martin #90. The battle for third was between Aston Martin Racing #98 and Team Project 1 Porsche #56. On the last lap, Pedro Lamy lost the place to Jörg Bergmeister in #56, and hence the “Mentos” car got their first podium finish.
There were some changes in the championship standings.
Toyota Gazoo Racing #8 is still leading LMP1, ahead of Toyota Gazoo Racing #7 and Rebellion Racing #3. While #8 has taken three wins in a row, #7 has taken three second places in a row, and #3 three third places in a row.
In LMP2, Signatech Alpine Matmut #36 overtakes Jackie Chan DC Racing #38 and #37 – well, the same as today’s top three, just in a different order.
Porsche #92 with Kevin Estre and Michael Christensen is still leading the GTE Pro championship, in front of their teammates in #91 and Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK #66.
With their second victory in a row, Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche #77 dominates the GTE Am championship, with 33 points lead to Clearwater Racing Ferrari #61 in P2, while Team Project 1 Porsche #56 is third.
Now FIA World Endurance Championship will have a two-month break, before the 6-hour race at Fuji on 14 October.
Update: after the race three cars were disqualified. Read more about it here