The FIA World Endurance Championship’s annual visit to British shores wasn’t without its drama this past weekend (August 17/18/19) as Rebellion Racing scored a famous one-two finish at the 6 Hours of Silverstone, following the exclusion of both Toyota Gazoo Racing machines.
Marking the third stop on the calendar of the 2018-2019 Super Season, the series returned from a short break to produce an entertaining spectacle around the Northamptonshire venue in front of more than 60,000 spectators.
Having led the way since the opening practice session of the weekend, the two Toyota TS050 HYBRID machines appeared to be in a league of their own, and that was further cemented as they locked out the front row in qualifying.
As racing began around the flowing curves of Silverstone the #7 Toyota of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez stormed into an early lead whilst the sister #8 Toyota of Fernando Alonso, Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima gave chase.
With the hours ticking by, the battle for the lead went back-and-forth as both squads endured their own tribulations alongside some shining moments.
The decisive move for victory came in the final hour as Kobayashi and Buemi went wheel-to-wheel for the lead. Upon entry into Abbey corner, Kobayashi made a mistake and damaged the floor of his Toyota TS050, giving Buemi the lead and ultimately victory – their third in succession to maintain their unbeaten record for 2018.
Celebrations however were cut short in the Toyota Gazoo Racing camp as both cars were disqualified from the racing following the post-race technical checks. Found to have not conformed to the regulations regarding the deflection of the skid block, both cars were thrown of the result although a formal appeal has been lodged meaning the final classification remains currently provisional.
Following Toyota’s disqualification, Rebellion Racing – who had finished third – were promoted to the top step of the podium. The R13 Gibson of Gustavo Menezes, Thomas Laurent and Mathias Beche were declared the outright winners ahead of the No.1 sister Rebellion of Neel Jani and André Lotterer, who finished second.
Rounding out the podium was the SMP Racing BR Engineering BR1-AER duo of Stéphane Sarrazin and Egor Orudzhev.
In LMP2, Jackie Chan DC Racing also stormed to a dominant one-two finish as the #38 Oreca 07 Gibson shared by Ho-Pin Tung, Gabriel Aubry and Stephane Richelmi beat Nabil Jeffri, Weiron Tan and Jazeman Jaafar in the sister #37 Oreca.
AF Corse sprung a surprise in the GTE-Pro class as Pier Guidi and James Calado blended front-running pace and strategy at the wheel of their Ferrari 488 GTE Evo to score victory.
LMGTE Am saw a second consecutive victory for Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche as Christian Ried, Julien Andlauer and Matt Campbell took the spoils.
Alongside the FIA World Endurance Championship was the European Le Mans Series, which also took on a starring role over the course of the weekend at Silverstone.
The series’ 4 Hours of Silverstone proved to be a tense affair with the G-Drive Racing Oreca-Gibson of Roman Rusinov, Andrea Pizzitola and Jean-Eric Vergne scoring victory, one lap ahead of Dragonspeed Oreca of Nico Lapierre and the IDEC Sport Oreca of Paul Lafargue.
Rounding out the action from Silverstone were a trio of races from the FIA Formula 3 European Championship, with spoils were shared between home hero Dan Ticktum, Mick Schumacher and Juri Vips.