Toyota Gazoo Racing took a thrilling victory in the opening round of the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship at Silverstone this afternoon.
Kazuki Nakajima, Sébastien Buemi and Anthony Davidson took Toyota’s 11th victory in the WEC after a frantic contest which had drama throughout the six hours.
Buemi made a move on Brendon Hartley with just 12 minutes remaining of the six hours to seal the victory and, in doing so, the Toyota drivers also claimed the famous and historic RAC Tourist Trophy.
It was Toyota’s 11th victory in the WEC and perhaps its most hard-earned after rain, two Full Course Yellow and one Safety Car period bunched up the field in the fourth hour after Jose-Maria Lopez crashed his Toyota TS050 HYBRID at Copse Corner.
The pole-sitting #7 Toyota had led in stages during the first two hours but after one of several light showers dampened the circuit, the Argentinian WEC newcomer slid off track and crashed into the tyre barriers. Incredibly, the car made it back to the pits and eventually returned to action to be classified fourth in LMP1. Lopez was taken for precautionary checks to the local hospital but was later released with a clean bill of health.
Porsche took the fight to Toyota and recorded second and third positions, but were always in with a chance of a surprise victory throughout the afternoon. Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley and Earl Bamber took second position in the #2 919 Hybrid as the team tried to maximise their low-downforce package, which was at a disadvantage compared to Toyota’s high-downforce bodywork kit.
But Toyota proved slightly too strong and when Buemi emerged from the pits with fresh Michelins for the final thirty minutes it was only a matter of time before he hunted down and overtook Hartley.
Nick Tandy, Neel Jani and André Lotterer claimed third position after being amidst the lead battle for three-quarters of the race in their #1 Porsche.
Jackie Chan DC Racing takes well-judged LMP2 win
LMP2 saw the newly named Jackie Chan DC Racing trio of Oliver Jarvis, Thomas Laurent and Ho-Pin Tung take a hard-earned win in the category which entered a new and exciting era with more powerful cars this weekend.
JOTA-Sport run Jackie Chan DC Racing became the first Chinese entered team to win a WEC race when the order was shaken up after the Full Course Yellow and Safety Car periods.
The team took advantage and won by almost 20-seconds from the Vaillante Rebellion trio of Bruno Senna, Nicolas Prost and Julien Canal.
Reigning champions Signatech Alpine (Nicolas Lapierre, Matt Rao and Gustavo Menezes) led the most laps in class but slipped back and eventually claimed fourth position behind the TDS Racing ORECA-Gibson driven by Mathieu Vaxivière, Emmanuel Collard and François Perrodo.
50,200 fans enjoyed the warm and welcoming presence of the WEC at Silverstone this weekend, and the championship now moves on to Belgium for the second round, the WEC 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps on Saturday 6th May.
|Pos||Class||Team||Driver 1||Driver 2||Driver 3||Gap|
|1||LMP1-H||Toyota Gazoo Racing||Sébastien BUEMI||Anthony DAVIDSON||Kazuki NAKAJIMA||6:00’33.211|
|2||LMP1-H||Porsche LMP Team||Timo BERNHARD||Earl BAMBER||Brendon HARTLEY||6.173|
|3||LMP1-H||Porsche LMP Team||Neel JANI||André LOTTERER||Nick TANDY||46.956|
|4||LMP2||Jackie Chan DC Racing||Ho-Pin TUNG||Oliver JARVIS||Thomas LAURENT||13 Laps|
|5||LMP2||Vaillante Rebellion||Julien CANAL||Nicolas PROST||Bruno SENNA||13 Laps|
|6||LMP2||TDS Racing||François PERRODO||Matthieu VAXIVIERE||Emmanuel COLLARD||13 Laps|
|7||LMP2||Signatech Alpine Matmut||Nicolas LAPIERRE||Gustavo MENEZES||Matthew RAO||14 Laps|
|8||LMP2||G-Drive Racing||Roman RUSINOV||Pierre THIRIET||Alex LYNN||14 Laps|
|9||LMP2||CEFC Manor TRS Racing||Tor GRAVES||Jonathan HIRSCHI||Jean-Eric VERGNE||14 Laps|
|10||LMP2||CEFC Manor TRS Racing||Roberto GONZALEZ||Simon TRUMMER||Vitaly PETROV||15 Laps|
|11||LMP2||Jackie Chan DC Racing||David CHENG||Alex BRUNDLE||Tristan GOMMENDY||15 Laps|
|12||LMP2||Vaillante Rebellion||Mathias BECHE||David HEINEMEIER HANSSON||Nelson PIQUET JR||25 Laps|
|13||LMGTE Pro||Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK||Andy PRIAULX||Harry TINCKNELL||Luis Felipe DERANI||26 Laps|
|14||LMGTE Pro||AF Corse||James CALADO||Alessandro PIER GUIDI||26 Laps|
|15||LMGTE Pro||Porsche GT Team||Richard LIETZ||Frédéric MAKOWIECKI||26 Laps|
|16||LMGTE Pro||Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK||Stefan MÜCKE||Olivier PLA||Billy JOHNSON||26 Laps|
|17||LMGTE Pro||AF Corse||Davide RIGON||Sam BIRD||27 Laps|
|18||LMGTE Pro||Aston Martin Racing||Nicki THIIM||Marco SØRENSEN||Richie STANAWAY||27 Laps|
|19||LMGTE Pro||Aston Martin Racing||Darren TURNER||Jonathan ADAM||Daniel SERRA||29 Laps|
|20||LMGTE Am||Clearwater Racing||Weng Sun MOK||Keita SAWA||Matt GRIFFIN||31 Laps|
|21||LMGTE Am||Aston Martin Racing||Paul DALLA LANA||Pedro LAMY||Mathias LAUDA||31 Laps|
|22||LMGTE Am||Dempsey-Proton Racing||Christian RIED||Matteo CAIROLI||Marvin DIENST||31 Laps|
|23||LMP1-H||Toyota Gazoo Racing||Mike CONWAY||Kamui KOBAYASHI||Jose Maria LOPEZ||38 Laps|
|24||LMGTE Am||Gulf Racing UK||Michael WAINWRIGHT||Benjamin BARKER||Nicholas FOSTER||54 Laps|
|25||LMGTE Am||Spirit of Race||Thomas FLOHR||Francesco CASTELLACCI||Miguel MOLINA||32 Laps|
|26||LMP1||Bykolles Racing Team||Oliver WEBB||Dominik KRAIHAMER||James ROSSITER||42 Laps|
|27||LMGTE Pro||Porsche GT Team||Michael CHRISTENSEN||Kevin ESTRE||102 Laps|