With the 2019/2020 FIA World Endurance Championship due to kick off at Silverstone, England, on September 1, Michelin and its partners will prepare for the u...
Toyota Gazoo Racing kicked off Season 8 of the FIA World Endurance Championship with a resounding one-two finish at Silverstone. The four-hour race was won by the Michelin-equipped N°7 TS050 Hybrid/Michelin of Conway/Kobayashi/Lopez, ahead of the N°8 sister hybrid prototype (Buemi/Nakajima/Hartley). There was one-two glory, too, for Porsche/Michelin in LMGTE Pro, an all-Michelin podium in LMP2 and a win for Ferrari/Michelin in LMGTE Am.
Toyota took revenge for its disqualification from the Silverstone results in 2018 with an emphatic win at opening round of the 2019/2020 FIA WEC.
After dominating qualifying, which saw Kamui Kobayashi clock a new lap record (1m35.992s), the Japanese prototypes went on to set a fast pace in the four-hour clash itself. In fact, the race lap records were bettered in all four classes in essentially dry conditions that saw the thermometer soar to beyond 30°C, although a brief shower during the first half forced drivers to pit for rain tyres.
Despite matching the Toyotas’ speed early on, the Michelin-equipped Rebellion R13s seemed destined to come third and fourth. But while the Swiss outfit’s N°3 car (Berthon/Derani/Duval) effectively managed to finish on the podium, the N°1 machine was forced to pit with a technical problem with 10 minutes remaining, handing fourth spot to the N°5 Ginetta/Michelin.
The afternoon’s top-five was rounded out by Cool Racing’s N°42 Oreca/Michelin (Lapierre/Borga) which celebrated its WEC debut with victory in LMP2. The splendid scrap for second place was settled on the last lap when Thomas Laurent (N°36 Alpine/Michelin) passed Frits Van Eerd in the class’s pole-winning N°29 Oreca/Michelin. Despite the arrival of a new tyre supplier, Michelin cars monopolised the LMP2 podium.
The French brand’s runners had shone in the same class in Saturday’s European Le Mans Series fixture which was won by the IDEC Sport Oreca07-Nissan (Lafargue/Chatin/Rojas).
In LMGTE Pro, Porsche, Ferrari and Aston Martin were all involved in the fight for victory which concluded with a one-two finish for the new Michelin-tyred Porsche 911 RSRs, led by the N°91 car of Bruni/Lietz, ahead of Christensen/Estre (N°92). Third was the N°97 Aston Martin/Michelin, while fourth place went to the N°51 Ferrari/Michelin which started from pole position but was handed a drive-through penalty.
Ferrari/Michelin emerged on top in LMGTE Am thanks to the N°83 car of Perrodo/Collard/Nielsen, ahead of the N°98 Aston Martin/Michelin and N°70 MR Racing-run Ferrari/Michelin. The N°56 Project 1 Porsche/Michelin and N°90 Aston Martin/Michelin also played front-running roles for much of the race.
Round 2 of the 2019/2020 FIA WEC will take teams to Japan for the 6 Hours of Fuji on October 6.
Final positions - 4 Hours of Silverstone:
1. Conway/Kobayashi/Lopez (Toyota TS050 Hybrid/Michelin), 129 laps
2. Buemi/Nakajima/Hartley (Toyota TS050 Hybrid/Michelin), +1.901s
3. Berthon/Derani/Duval (Rebellion R13-Gibson/Michelin), +1 lap
4. Robertson/Hanley/Orudzhev (Ginetta G60-AER/Michelin), +5 laps
5. Lapierre/Borga (Oreca07-Nissan/Michelin), +5 laps (1
6. Laurent/Negrao/Ragues (Alpine A470/Michelin), +5 laps
7. Van Eerd/Van der Garde/Van Uitert (Oreca07-Nissan/Michelin), +5 laps
9. Gonzalez/Da Costa (Oreca07-Nissan), +5 laps
10. Senna/Menezes/Nato (Rebellion R13-Gibson/Michelin), +6 laps