Toyota takes a dominant one-two at Silverstone's WEC season opener
Toyota Gazoo Racing has started the 2019/20 FIA World Endurance Championship with a dominant one-two finish at the 4 Hours of Silverstone.
The two Toyotas did battle all through the race, with the #8 initially seeming dominant until a rain shower brought a broken wiper for Brendon Hartley. The following repairs closed the gap between the two cars right up, and it wasn't long before the #7 of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez took the lead and went on to victory.
The two Rebellions were by far the quickest non-hybrid LMP1s on track, but were not able to mount any kind of significant challenge. The #3 R13 Gibson of Nat Berthon, Pipo Derani and Loic Duval completed the overall podium. The #1 suffered a mechanical issue late in the race, dashing any kinds of podium hope for Bruno Senna, Gustavo Menezes and Norman Nato, with the #5 Team LNT Ginetta capturing fourth.
In LMP2, WEC debutants Cool Racing took a surprise victory. The duo of Antonin Borga and Nicolas Lapierre, who had to do without the injured Alexandre Coigny, defeated both Signatech Alpine Elf and Racing Team Nederland
The Dutch outfit led a significant part of the race, until they were handed a five second stop-and-go penalty, which handed the lead to the #42. The Swiss outfit held on to the lead even after a drive through penalty and a late tyre issue. Frits van Eerd was then passed in the last lap by Signatech Alpine's Thomas Laurent, taking second for the #36 Signatech Alpine A470.
In GTE Pro, Porsche celebrate a flawless debut for the new 911 RSR-19 with a one-two finish in class. The #91 of Richard Lietz and Gianmaria Bruni captured victory ahead of Kevin Estre and Michael Christensen in the #92. The team made a successful tyre gamble during a rain spell, which was enough to put them on the front foot for victory. Aston Martin Racing took a podium victory with the #97 for Alex Lynn and Maxime Martin.
Ferrari, who arguably had the strongest race pace, suffered a number of setbacks. First, polesitter James Calado suffered an early puncture. Then the #71 of Miguel Molina and Davide Rigon was wiped out by the #6 Ginetta of Oliver Jarvis. The pair came together at Maggotts, sending the Ferrari into the wall and out of the race.
A charging Alessandro Pier Guidi then was handed a drive through in the third hour, leaving the #71 fourth in the standings ahead of the #95 Aston Martin of Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen.
In GTE Am, a wild race full of clashes and penalties ended with AF Corse on the top step. The #83 of Francois Perrodo, Emmanuel Collard and Nicklas Nielsen claimed victory, with the #98 Aston Martin of Ross Gunn, Darren Turner and Paul Dalla Lana second and MR Racing celebrating a third place finish.