WEC 6 hours of Spa

  • #7 Toyota Disqualified from qualifying

    #7 Toyota disqualified from qualifying after failing to disclose the correct technical information.

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    In a late turn of events last night, long after qualifying had finished, the #7 Toyota was called in front of the Stewards. Toyota had incorrectly declared the fuel flow meter. As a result of this, the qualifying times set by the #7 have been cancelled, promoting the #8 car of Fernando Alonso, Kazuki Nakajima and Sebastien Buemi to the front of the grid. The #7 “will start from the pit lane, and shall not join the race until the last car in the field has covered his first lap and following Race Director Instruction.”

    Neel Jani, Andre Lotterer and Bruno Senna will now start alongside the #8 Toyota on the front row.

    Following the decision, Toyota Gazoo Racing released a statement: “The team accepts full responsibility for the error, which had no impact whatsoever on car performance. The fuel flow meter which was used in the #7 was fully homologated and calibrated. Team processes and procedures will be strengthened immediately to avoid any repeat of this unfortunate error”

  • #8 Toyota wins the opening race of the Super Season

    Fernando Alonso, Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima won the first race of the World Endurance Championship super-season at Spa, despite a stunning comeback by their sister Toyota after a pit lane start following a qualifying infringement.

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    The #8 Toyota TS050 triumphed after the #7 machine of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez was excluded from qualifying having taken pole for an incorrect declaration of the fuel flow meter. It therefore started from the pit-lane a lap after the rest. A series of incidents got the #7 onto the leading Toyota’s tail. At mid-distance the #8 lost a minute when Nakajima had to return to the pits a lap after taking over from Alonso as his seatbelts were not done up correctly. Shortly afterwards Nakajima lost another 10 seconds by spinning at La Source.

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    This left Kobayashi under a minute behind the leader. He had earlier got his car back onto the lead lap and soon after the #8 car’s dramas passed the Rebellion pair to claim second place. Then a safety car period with an hour to go after a heavy crash for Matevos Isaakyan in the #17 SMP Racing BR1-Gibson at Eau Rouge reduced the gap between the Toyotas to just 6s. Alonso driving the final stint kept his head however to hold off Conway by just 1.4s for the win.

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    The non-hybrid LMP1 pack was headed by the #1 Rebellion of Neel Jani, Andre Lotterer and Bruno Senna, who took the final podium place despite repeated problems with the car’s data transmitting and being ordered to pit to change its transponder. The other Rebellion of Mathias Beche, Thomas Laurent and Gustavo Menezes finished fourth having run in close company of the #1 for much of the way. The #17 SMP Racing BR1-Gibson of Stephane Sarrazin, Egor Orudzhev and Isaakyan had also battled the Rebellions for the final podium place before Isaakyan’s crash, after starting from the back after not setting a qualifying time due to stopping on track with technical problems.The ByKolles Racing ENSO CLM P1/01 driven by Oliver Webb, Dominik Kraihamer and Tom Dillmann finished fifth followed home by the SMP Racing BR1-Gibson driven by Mikhail Aleshin and Vitaly Petrov to complete the LMP1 finishers.

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    The G-Drive Racing Oreca 07-Gibson driven Formula E championship leader Jean-Eric Vergne, Andrea Pizzitola and Roman Rusinov were comfortable winners in LMP2, leading home the Jota Sport-run Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca 07 driven by Ho-Pin Tung, Gabriel Aubry, Stephane Richelmi in second by 20s. The Signatech Alpine Matmut driven by Nicolas Lapierre, Pierre Thiriet and Andre Negrao in their Alpine A470-Gibson completed the LMP2 podium. The Racing Team Nederland Dallara P217-Gibson rose quickly to lead the LMP2 class early on with Giedo van der Garde at the wheel, but then had a lengthy stop in the second hour due to a gearbox problem which cost it 15 laps.

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    The GTE Pro race was a close battle between the Fords and Porsches, which was won by the Ganassi-run Ford GT driven by Olivier Pla, Stefan Mucke and Billy Johnson. They were chased to the flag by the Porsche 911 RSR driven by Michael Christensen and Kevin Estre, 14s adrift. The Porsche had been delayed at two-thirds’ distance by a stop-go penalty for spinning their wheels when being released from the pits. The Ferrari 488 GTE of Davide Rigon and Sam Bird seized GTE Pro third place at the last, with Rigon elbowing past the #91 Porsche 911 of Richard Lietz at the Bus Stop chicane with a minute to go. The other Ganassi-run Ford GT crashed out an hour into the race when Harry Ticknell had a violent front-on smash in the Eau Rouge barriers, which he walked away from, caused apparently by a failure on the front-left of the car. The accident heralded a lengthy safety car period. Reigning GTE Pro champions James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi the#51 Ferrari 488 had ran off the Ford and Porsche pace and their chances ended when Pier Guidi collided with the Team Project 1 when exiting the pits with two hours to go. This meant lengthy repairs.

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    Reigning champions Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda took the GTE Am win in their Aston Martin Vantage, with Lamy holding off a late sustained attack from second-placed Euan Hankey in the TF Sport Aston Martin.

  • 2016 WEC 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps

    Another great race at Spa...and, yet again, fantastic weather!

    Video Credits: FIA WEC

  • 6 Reasons for Loving Spa Francorchamps

    The 6 hours of Spa Francorchamps kicks off a new era for the FIA World Endurance Championship on May 5th as the premier series for long-distance sports car racing launches its unique ‘super-season’ – and you can be there to witness it with Speed Chills.

    As you may have seen, your favourite motor racing travel operator has some great offers for the race at Belgium’s majestic Spa-Francorchamps circuit – and it got us thinking: what exactly is it about this place that makes it a mecca for motorheads?

    Having fun at Spa Francorchamps

    So here it is: our six-point guide to the jewel of European motor racing. If you haven’t been, it’s a must for any bucket list. And if you have, well, treat this as a reminder why a return is long overdue.

    1. Spectators’ paradise

    From Les Combes to Rivage, down to No Name and Pouhon, sweeping through the Les Fagnes esses to Stavelot and on to Blanchimont… there’s no finer strip of race track anywhere in the world. The elegant pines of the Ardennes forests make for a stunning setting as the circuit climbs through the epic Eau Rouge and Raidillon, then along the Kemmel straight before swooping and diving back through the valley over 4.3 magnificent miles. Our tip: take a decent pair of walking boots and stroll all the way up to the inside of Rivage. The views all the way back to the paddock are stunning, and there’s nowhere better to watch (and listen) to the world’s finest racing cars.

    2. The adorable Ardennes

    There’s something in the air around these parts – and we don’t just mean the odd drop of rain… Even away from the circuit, you can almost taste the motor racing history that has seeped into this ancient woodland over the past near-century. Francorchamps village, just a wander up the hill from La Source and the prime location for the Speed Chills guest houses, is quite charming – the perfect place to relax with a glass of something good after a day at the races. And a visit to the town of Spa itself, connected by superb Belgian country roads, is worth a visit too – especially if you’re looking for somewhere with a touch of class to eat. Fine restaurants are plentiful.

    Porsche 911 GTE-Pro at Spa Francorchamps

    3. frites and mayonnaise: magnifique!

    But in truth, who needs haute cuisine when you can indulge in the pride of Belgian fare. After a long hike around the circuit’s sweeps, the sustenance from a portion of local frites topped with a dollop of mayo will be the best thing you’ve ever tasted – and that’s a cast-iron promise. We know: you’re thinking ‘they’re only chips’. But think again. In these parts, they are a genuine delicacy that are an essential side order to a weekend feast of motor racing.

    4. Belgian beer (hic!)

    And what better way to wash them down than with a glug of the area’s famous local mineral water… Only joking! Belgium is quite correctly famous for its range of dark and blond beers. Our next vital tip: tuck the car up for the night and take a table at L’Acqua Rossa or Le Relais de Pommard in Francorchamps. The food is good; a quaffed beer or three even better.

    5. The awesome old circuit

    ‘If you love the new circuit, you should have seen the old one…’ It’s something of a cliché for old timers to rave about the ‘old’ Spa – but clichés usually only enter the lexicon because of a fundamental truth, and that’s certainly the case here. Brian Redman, veteran of fearsome Porsche 917s and Ford GT40s and one of the finest sports car races ever, admits he used to cry himself to sleep the night before a race, such was his white fear for the flat out 8.7-mile triangle. Where the modern track turns right at Les Combes, the original circuit ploughed straight on downhill to Burnenville, sweeping right and on to Masta before turning again at Stavelot for the tree-lined blast back to Blanchimont. A true road course, it’s all still there to experience – albeit at a somewhat more modest pace than Henri Pescarolo’s all-time lap record set in 1973 (in a Matra sports car, not a Formula 1) of 163mph… Do not even consider visiting Spa without a drive around the old track, ideally after digging out some old photos to understand just how crazy it used to be. You’ll be mesmerised.

    6. Be a part of history

    A trip this year to the 6 Hours will stand out in the memory for one more significant reason: the birth of the exciting ‘super-season’. In a bid to break with tradition and end a world championship season at Le Mans in June, WEC’s organisers have chosen a new format for their series. Starting at Spa, the championship will then head for the famous 24 Hours at Le Mans, before three more six-hour rounds at Silverstone, Fuji and Shanghai complete the schedule for 2018. But the season won’t stop with the calendar year. In March 2019 it continues with a new 1500-mile race at Sebring in Florida, before returning to Spa for another 6 Hours and finishing at Le Mans. So yes, two 6 hours of Spa Francorchamps and two Le Mans 24 Hours counting for one, single season. It will surely live up to its ‘super’ status.

    Oh, and if this isn’t all reason enough for a visit, there’s also the small matter of a certain Spaniard making his WEC debut at Spa this year. Some bloke from F1. Fernando Alonso, we believe he’s called. In a Toyota LMP1.

    Toyota LMP1 at Spa Francorchamps

    You won’t want to miss that, will you? Come on: what are you waiting for? More on the WEC 6 hours of Spa-Francorchamps

    Damien Smith, former Editor of Motor Sport Magazine

  • Audi Win Dramatic Spa 6 Hours

    The #8 Audi R18 e-tron Quattro of Oliver Jarvis, Lucas Di Grassi and Loic Duval this evening won the 2016 FIAWEC 6 Hours of Spa Francorchamps, a race which will go into the history books as one of the most fraught and action packed contests in endurance racing history.

    FIA WEC Spa Francorchamp-0899 LORES

    In a race that always seemed to be throwing another spanner in the works, almost all of the top cars lead at some point. Initially Porsche had the upper hand before hybrid issues took their toll, before a surprisingly quick Toyota pair inherited - and then sacrificed - the top spots due to engine trouble.

    In the end it was the #8 which spent most time out of its garage, and therefore ended up somehow at the front of the race when the chequered flag flew. Second place was taken miraculously by the #2 Porsche which, after dropping to the back when its hybrid system stopped working altogether, stayed on track while all the others suffered.

    Rebellion racing were ecstatic to take the last step of the overall race podium with their #13 R-One, an unthinkable result for a privateer team in the current LMP1 formula. The sister Rebellion finished fourth ahead of the recovering #7 Audi and the #4 ByKolles CLM.

    The LMP2 field waited a long time to unleash their customary fierce battle, but when it came it was a classic thriller. The top four cars were battling right into the final minutes with the #36 Signatech Alpine taking the top spot from the #31 Extreme Speed Ligier with just 8 minutes to go.

    FIA WEC Spa Francorchamp--5 LORES

    Manor Racing took a hugely popular 3rd place when Roberto Merhi overtook RGR’s Filipe Albuquerque on the second to last lap of the race, a first podium in only their second endurance event.

    GTE Pro was a rather one sided event with the two AF Corse Ferrari streaking into the lead at the start and comfortably lapping a number of seconds per lap quicker than the rest of the field. However an easy 1-2 was scuppered with just a few laps to go as the #51 was forced to retire, driver James Calado pictured holding his head in his hands in despair.

    The #71 of Davide Rigon and Gimi Bruni took the class win, while second and third were taken by the #67 Ford and #97 Aston Martin. There were worried faces all round when the competitive #66 Ford had a huge accident at Eau Rouge, but pilot Stefan Mucke was cleared by the medical team with just ‘a fair amount of bruising’. The #95 Aston Martin was competitive at the start but ended up being rolled over into the tyre wall by an unfortunate clash with an LMP2 car.

    GTE Am was a slightly quieter affair, with multiple penalties of all kinds putting paid to a number of teams’ chances at a win. The final order was headed by the #98 Aston Martin which had been well driven by Pedro Lamy, Mathias Lauda and Paul Dalla Lana, while the #83 AF Corse Ferrari and #50 Larbre Corvette rounded off the podium.

    Next up for the WEC is the big one - the 24 Hours of Le Mans. With five of six leading cars having experienced serious issues in the first four hours of this race there are big question marks for the great race - it’s anyone’s to play for.

    Stay tuned to Speed Chills on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest - and see you at Le Mans!

  • Fernando Alonso leads FP1 at Spa

    Toyota Gazoo Racing finished FP1 at the top of the time sheets, Fernando Alonso leading the way.

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    The FIA WEC debutant topped the time sheets in FP1 this morning at Spa; besting Mike Conway by just 2 tenths of a second with a time of 1:58.392 in the #8 Toyota TSO50. Rebellion were the best of the non-hybrid runners, the #3 Rebellion R13 Gibson of Menezes, Laurent and Beche was four tenths of the pace of Toyota. Championship new comers, CEFC TRSM Racing spent the session in the Garage after setting an installation lap at the beginning of the session in the Ginetta LMP1.

    Fernando Alonso:

    “I think its going to be an interesting season. Obviously we’ve done some tests already in Spain and Portimao. I missed the Prologue, I was racing in F1. Now is really the first time we meet with all the traffic and all the other cars, so definitely still a lot to learn, but step by step, I’m trying to learn this as much as I can with every single lap in the car. We’ve been training a lot in the simulator, this kind of traffic and these kind of situations, I hope I’m as prepared as I can be. We’ll see on Saturday. I’m not too worried about traffic management." Short Image Description

    In LMP2, it was the #31 Dragonspeed Oreca in the hands of former F1 driver Pastor Maldonado which set the quickest time of the session, a 2:03.494. Alpine took second in class in the #36 Alpine A470, Andre Negrao setting a 2:04.134 with Jean Eric Vergne putting the #26 G-Drive Oreca third in class with a time of 2:04.198.

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    Ford and Porsche pick up their 2017 rivalry where it left off, both demonstrating strong pace in the opening session. The #67 Ford topped the time sheets, Andy Priaulx, Harry Tincknell and Tony Kanaan piloting the car this weekend. The #66 Ford of Stefan Mucke, Oliver Pla and billy Johnson took second in the session, two tenths off the pace with a time of 2:15.273. Gianmaria Bruni rounded out the top three with a time of 2:15.631. Ferrari and BMW alternated between fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh whilst the two Aston Martin Vantage’s well a few seconds short of the pace, the #97 posting a time of 2:17.993 and the #95 posting a time of 2:18.227.

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    And in GTE AM, the #88 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR posted a time of 2:16.601 with Matteo Cairoli behind the wheel. The #86 Gulf Racing Porsche 911 RSR took second thanks to a 2:17.552 lap from Ben Barker. The #77 Dempsey Proton Porsche took third in GTEAm.

  • Ginetta Withdraw from Spa

    Ginetta have confirmed that the pair of G60-LT-P1s will not be released to CEFC TRSM Racing for tomorrows FIA WEC 6 Hours of Spa due to the team missing payment deadlines.

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    “It is with great disappointment that we have to announce that Ginetta will not be releasing the two LMP1 cars that successfully ran at the FIA WEC Prologue at Paul Ricard at the beginning of April. Unfortunately funds promised have not arrived from TRS to CEFC TRSM Racing. The required funds for Ginetta were due some time ago and whilst we understand that TRS has been working with its sponsors to sort the issue, without payment, Ginetta cannot allow the cars to race. Ginetta remains committed to working with CEFC TRSM Racing on this programme.

    We are aware that CEFC TRSM Racing has visited TRS many times in China and can also confirm that TRS have visited Ginetta three times recently, the last time to attend a Royal visit. We have been informed by TRS that the current situation is a short term cash flow problem and that the main funds are in place for payment before Le Mans.”

    Chairman of Ginetta, Lawrence Tomlinson said: “We’ve got to a situation where a UK-based team with excellent ability, kit and personnel, plus a pair of the latest LMP1 cars with confirmed and fully paid up entries for the 2018/19 FIA WEC (including two entries at Le Mans in both 2018 & 2019) are unable to race simply due to funds not flowing.”

    The team are still aiming to get the cars out for the Le Mans 24 Hour next month with Ginettas Lawrence Tomlinson at Spa today, holding talks with senior officials from the ACO, WEC and FIA. A further statement will follow on the status of the programme and what future awaits it.

  • Porsche Dominate in Spa Quali

    Porsche continued their run of form this afternoon by locking out the front row for the FIAWEC 6 Hours of Spa Francorchamps.

    FIA WEC Spa Francorchamps-0058 LORES

    The two 919 Hybrids took just two runs apiece to seal another great qualifying performance with Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley steering the #1 to pole ahead of the sister car.

    Behind them it was all to play for with the Toyotas and Audis swapping quickest times throughout the session. It ended with a promising result for the Japanese marque with the #6 TS050 pipping the #8 R18 to third. The second Toyota took fifth ahead of the second Audi; the gap between the four of just 0.2s foretelling a good squabble in the race.

    The LMP2 fight was won by the #26 G-Drive Oreca with Rene Rast and Roman Rusinov setting an unbeatable average despite a late surge from Nico Lapierre in the #36 Alpine. Manor Racing took an impressive third and fifth on the class grid in only their second endurance race, split only by the guest entry of the second G-Drive in their venerable old Gibson chassis.

    AF Corse left it late but managed to edge the GTE qualifying session as the #71 of Sam Bird and Davide Rigon just pipped the #51 to class pole. A much improved showing from Aston Martin saw their #97 car take third but within striking distance of its two Italian competitors.

    The two Fords weren’t far behind taking fourth and fifth while the Pro field was rounded out by the second Aston and, in a somewhat distant seventh, the lone Porsche 911 of Dempsey-Proton Racing.

    Paul Dalla Lana put in an excellent performance to put his #95 Aston Martin on top in GTE Am. Second was taken by the #83 AF Corse and third by the #88 Porsche.

    The FIAWEC 6 Hours of Spa Francorchamps kicks off at 1.30pm UK time tomorrow and is shaping up to be a bit of a show. Follow along with @SpeedChillsView on Twitter and join the conversation using #WEC6hSpa.

  • SMP Racing ends opening day fastest after infamous Spa rain strikes in FP2

    For the first time in the FIA World Endurance Championship’s Superseason, Toyota Gazoo Racing didn’t set the fastest time of the day after SMP Racing stormed to the top spot.

    In a dry Free Practice One, ex-Williams F1 racer Sergey Sirotkin set the pace for the Russian squad as he tackled Spa-Francorchamps in a mammoth 1:56.264s - almost two seconds clear of another ex-F1 driver in the sister BR1 - Stoffel Vandoorne. Toyota struggled to match SMP’s rapid pace with Sebastien Buemi’s 1:58.742s half-a-second down on the non-Hybrid LMP1s and Mike Conway a tenth behind that in the #7 TS050. Rebellion Racing claimed fifth and sixth, both R13s 3.4s clear of the returning ByKolles entry, which was slower than the leading LMP2 runners.

    In the second session, which was red-flagged four times as the infamous Spa rain turned heavy at numerous points, Toyota found itself back up at the top as Fernando Alonso, in the #8, pulled more than a second clear of Mike Conway as the Hybrid’s four-wheel drive system proved the difference in the wet. The #11, driven to second earlier by Vandoorne, finished the session best of the rest behind the Toyotas this time with Vitaly Petrov doing what team-mate Stephane Sarrazin couldn’t as he aquaplaned off the track earlier in the 90-minute session. Rebellion were fourth and fifth, with ByKolles sixth - a lot closer to the rest of the competition.

    Sébastien Buemi – Toyota Gazoo Racing “We are happy to be back and we have good memories from here but it might be a completely different weekend to what we are used to in Spa because, since 2013, I have never experienced a wet race here. Some of the privateers this morning seem quite quick so we will see how it all goes.”

    Signatech Alpine and DragonSpeed shared the top spots in the pair of practice sessions as the Michelin runners - the former using the French rubber for the first time - had the measure of their Dunlop-shod rivals. In FP1, Andre Negrao’s 2:03.441s was enough to deny Jean-Eric Vergne the top spot as he put in a strong showing for G-Drive Racing on its return to the WEC with the Aurus 01 - a rebadged Oreca 07. The Racing Team Nederland Dallara P217 split the Oreca domination by claiming third, 0.147s ahead of the DragonSpeed car. It was that car that made the best of the soggy second session as Pastor Maldonado proved himself a league above the rest - 1.613s above to be exact as Matthieu Vaxiviere couldn’t get any more speed out of the Dunlops on the TDS Racing machine. The Frenchman was close to losing second though, as the Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca finished 0.135s behind in third.

    Aston Martin Racing took the top spot in both sessions with its Vantage in GTE Pro. In the lunchtime session, it was the #97 of Alex Lynn and Maxime Martin who took the top spot before the Dane Train #95 of Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen swept to first in the latter session. In the first session, Aston Martin was fortunate to hang on to the top spot as Harry Tincknell’s late charge matched Martin’s 2:15.290s exactly but, because it was set later in the session, the Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK machine was classified second. Third went to the BMW Team MTEK BMW M8, splitting the Ford GTs as Porsche and Ferrari propped up the leading GT class.

    Maxime Martin – Aston Martin Racing “We have been improving through the season and learning the Vantage car which is new, and we also have a new tyre manufacturer as well [Michelin]. It is getting better and better. For me it is always nice to have a race in my home country so we are looking forward to the race. Belgium has had in the past, and still has, some really good drivers at high levels. Racing at Spa in the 6 Hours or even the 24 Hours has produced great Belgian drivers so it is special.”

    The order was upended in the second test, as Gianmaria Bruni finished 0.250s behind Sorensen in the #91 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. Third went to the Lynn/Martin Aston Martin with both the AF Corse Ferraris finishing fourth and fifth. In contrast to FP1, Ford seemingly struggled in the wet with seventh and eighth the best the team could manage, beating only the BMWs.

    Porsche took the top spot in GTE Am in both sessions as Ben Barker’s early hot lap put the Gulf Racing 911 on top in FP1, before Matt Campbell did the same for Dempsey-Proton Racing in FP2. In a feat of remarkable symmetry, Ferrari teams finished second in both sessions with Giancarlo Fisichella and Olivier Beretta taking the runner-up spot for Spirit of Race and MR Racing respectively.

    Paul Dalla Lana – Aston Martin Racing “This is a place we all like to come to and, in my mind, it is one of the reasons I came into racing because it is such a fantastic circuit. So to come here is great because the fans are so knowledgeable and supportive and it is such a great event. This year we are on the backfoot a little so it will be a lot tougher in LMGTE Am than in previous years so I am not sure about winning number five [in class]. But, even just to have won four in a row here at such a tough race, makes us feel very proud.”

  • Toyota back in front in Free Practice 3

    Toyota Gazoo Racing put its slow pace behind it as the Hybrid team locked out the top two positions on the timing sheet after dominating FP3 at Spa.

    Having been down on pace in Thursday’s dry FP1, Kamui Kobayashi proved that was just a blip as he used the dry but cool session to obliterate last year’s qualifying time by three-tenths. His 1:54.105s was 2.2s quicker than the sister TS050 of Kazuki Nakajima which was more focused on race preparation than outright speed. SMP Racing once again proved to be the team to beat in the Privateer section of LMP1 as Egor Orudzhev set a 1:56.842 - half-a-second down on the #8 Toyota and the same margin up on Stoffel Vandoorne in the sister BR1. Rebellion Racing secured fifth and sixth, with ByKolles a distant seventh-in-class but behind all the LMP2 runners in the overall classification.

    Jean-Eric Vergne topped the times in the secondary prototype class once again for G-Drive Racing as the Aurus badged Oreca team opened up a healthy 0.6s gap over the chasing Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca 07s. Will Stevens came out on top for the team, beating Gabriel Aubry to second by 1.004s.

    Gianmaria Bruni topped GTE Pro for Porsche GT Team with his final flying lap of the 60-minute practice as he relegated Harry Tincknell’s Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK Ford GT to second by 0.223s. The second Porsche 911 GT3 RSR of Kevin Estre was third, ahead of the second Ford GT of Olivier Pla. Compared to Thursday’s running, Aston Martin Racing was off the pace in the final practice session, with Maxime Martin & Alex Lynn only seventh fastest in the #97 Vantage and the Dane Train of Marco Sorensen and Nicki Thiim ninth.

    GTE Am was a Porsche lock-out as Matteo Cairoli headed his Dempsey-Proton Racing team-mate Matt Campbell by 0.190s. Team Project1 secured third, more than half-a-second clear of the TF Sport Aston Martin, which occupied the best of the non-Porsche entries in fourth.

  • Toyota Lead By 2 Seconds

    The #7 TSO50 topped the time sheets in FP2, Mike Conway setting the pace with a time of 1:56.172, a considerable margin over the non hybrid LMP1 entries.

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    The #10 DragonSpeed BR1-Gibson fell over 2.5 seconds off the pace with a time of 1:58.835 in the hands of Pietro Fittipaldi. Once again, both the CEFC TRSM Racing Ginetta’s failed to run a competitive lap, both cars did one installation lap before returning to the pits. Speculation is rising in the paddock that the team are suffering financial problems with one of the Chinese backers under investigation. Whether this has any impact on the teams involvement with the rest of the season is unclear at this moment in time. SMP Racing were also having problems with the #17 BR1, the car came to a stop mid way through the session causing a red flag whilst the car was recovered.

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    In LMP2, Pastor Maldonado continued to set the pace in the #31 Dragonspeed Oreca 07, posting a time of 2:02.901 ahead of the second place #37 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca 07; Nail Jeffri posting a time of 2:03.306. Roman Rusinov took third in a one off return to the championship in the #26 G-Drive Racing Oreca 07. Matthieu Vaxiviere caused the second red flag of the session, going off at Turn 14.

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    In GTE-Pro, Ford returned to the top of the time sheets, the #66 car posting a time of 2:13.733 in the hands of Stefan Mucke. Gianmaria Bruni lead the session early on however in the #91 Porsche, the #66 Ford was late to the session after spending the first 40 minutes in the garage. The #67 Ford rounded out the top three. As per FP1, the new Aston Martin Vanatage AMR and the new BMW M8 GTE struggled for pace this session, the #82 BMW setting a time outside of the top three times in GTE-AM.

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    Porsche once again led the way in GTE-AM, the #86 Gulf Racing UK Porsche topping the session with a time of 2:16.113 in the hands of Benjamin Barker. The #77 Dempsey Proton Porsche finished second, but it was the #98 Aston Martin that broke Porsche’s dominance, Pedro Lamy posting a time of 2:16.790.

  • Toyota lock out the front-row at Spa

    Toyota takes dominant one-two in Belgium to continue rapid Friday pace

    Toyota Gazoo Racing swept to a one-two in qualifying for the penultimate FIA World Endurance Championship race of the Super-Season at Spa-Francorchamps. Having rediscovered the pace the Japanese team had lost on Thursday in FP3 earlier in the day, the two TS050s continued their untouchable pace at the top of the field as the #7 qualified 0.496s ahead of the sister #8 to take the third pole of the season for the car crewed by Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez. Claiming third, and best of the non-Hybrid LMP1s, was the #17 SMP Racing BR1 shared by Egor Orudzhev, Sergey Sirotkin and Stephane Sarrazin. The trio finished almost one second down on the pole-sitting Toyota, but held the same margin over the fourth-placed #3 Rebellion. Fifth and sixth went to SMP and Rebellion respectively, with ByKolles a long way off the pace - the best average time for the CLM P1/01 slower than the bulk of the LMP2 class in a troubled session for the team, which caused the only red flag of LMP qualifying after stopping on track at the hands of Tom Dillmann.

    Pole in the LMP2 class went to the pacesetting G-Drive Racing team which has topped a number of practice sessions so far in its Aurus 01. The Russian team fought off the combined threat of the Jackie Chan DC Racing pairing as the bumblebee-liveried #38 out-muscled the #37 by 0.333s. DragonSpeed - which showed pace in the wet FP2 session yesterday - claimed fourth by just 0.016s from the Signatech Alpine.

    Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK claimed GTE Pro pole in the Ford GT’s penultimate race as a factory effort as Harry Tincknell and Andy Priaulx combined to edge out the #97 Aston Martin Racing Vantage of Alex Lynn and Maxime Martin by 0.067s. In a sign of how close the lead GTE class was, the BMW Team MTEK M8 GTE of Antonio Felix Da Costa and Augusto Farfus combined to set an average lap time that was only 0.092s down on the pole time.

    It was the #90 TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage that took pole position in GTEAM, combining with Carlie Eastwood, the duo set an average lap time of 2:16.061 to take P1 by just 0.11 ahead of Matteo Cairoli and Gianluca Roda. The #56 Project1 Porsche 911 RSR took third with a time of 2:16.39.

    All four classes broke the qualifying lap records here at Spa but with rain and snow set to fall tomorrow, the race could go any way.

    The 2019 FIA WEC 6 Hours of Spa Francorchamps kicks off at 13:30 local time tomorrow.

  • Toyota survives rain, snow and hail to take victory in Spa

    #8 Toyota wins race dominant by lengthy spells under the safety car

    The #8 Toyota Gazoo Racing TS050 of Fernando Alonso, Kazuki Nakajima and Sebastien Buemi have put themselves in a great position to take the FIA World Endurance Championship title after winning a rain, snow and hail affected 6 Hours of Spa. While the start was held under glorious sunshine, it took a total five minutes for the race to be turned on its head as a rain-and-hail storm turned the track into an ice rink and left teams scratching their heads over when the best time was to switch to wet tyres with elements of the track still dry. However, as the storm worsened, the choice became elementary and the first of four safety cars came out to avoid drivers risking throwing their race away on the worst of the ice.

    With the race swapping between dry and wet on a regular basis, with snow and hail mixing things up as well, the race was dominated by safety car periods totalling more than 90 minutes as the race was eventually red flagged with eight minutes remaining and hail falling again. Calm through it all - despite a small spin for Alonso at Pouhon after running onto damp kerbing on slicks - was the #8 Toyota. As well as better dealing with the wet conditions - as the Hybrid system acts as a four-wheel drive system - their cause was helped by the sister #7 of Jose Mari Lopez, Kamui Kobayashi and Mike Conway losing more than ten minutes in the garage with a Hybrid driver sensor failure. Recovering to sixth - four laps down on the winners - allowed them to score some drivers championship points but they are facing a deficit of 32 points to the sister #7 with only 38 available for winning the final round of the Superseason - the Le Mans 24 Hours.

    Back in Belgium, the #7s demise promoted the privateer LMP1s onto the podium. Second went the way of Rebellion Racing as the #3 of Thomas Laurent, Nathaniel Berthon and Gustavo Menezes came out best in a race-long duel with the SMP Racing entries. The Russian cars came home third and fourth, with the #11 finishing a lap ahead of the #17 after a largely faultless run for the BR1s despite the #11 - of Mikhail Aleshin, Vitaly Petrov and Stoffel Vandoorne - receiving a drive-through penalty just after the halfway mark for not respecting the full course yellow procedure. Fifth went to the second #1 Rebellion, while ByKolles capped off a difficult weekend by finishing 38 laps down in last place overall after a lengthy spell in the garage to repair damage sustained by tangling with the #37 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca 07 at the entry to La Source. A combination of great pace in all conditions and perfect timing from the safety cars secured the LMP2 class victory for DragonSpeed and Roberto Gonzales, Anthony Davidson and Pastor Maldonado.

    Picking their way through the field in the final third of the race, Pastor Maldonado pulled the Oreca up to third and when the penultimate safety car put the Venezuelan on the back of the Signatech Alpine and the #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing cars, Maldonado took his chance. Passing both of them with brilliant displays of racecraft, he built up a healthy gap over the pair before the last neutralisation period. Despite seeing his lead shrink to nothing, Maldonado managed the final minutes of green flag running to secure the teams first win of the Superseason. Second went to polesitters G-Drive Racing as Jean-Eric Vergnes late pace moved the Aurus 01 up to second. Signatech Alpine rounded out the podium as Nicolas Lapierre demoted the #38 to fourth. Early pacesetters Racing Team Nederland, which Giedo Van Der Garde spectacularly navigated to the lead of the class following some blindingly quick opening laps, slipped to sixth in class by race end. Their fall down the order was caused by both a drive-through penalty for not respecting the FCY procedure, and a two-minute stop-and-hold penalty after Frits Van Eerd forced Aston Martins Nicki Thiim off-track at La Sources while trying to lap the Dane. Finishing in front of the yellow Dallara was TDS Racing, with Norman Nato, Matthieu Vaxiviere and Francois Perrodo not able to maintain a leading pace in their Oreca.

    A thrill-a-minute GTE Pro was eventually decided in favour of the #97 Aston Martin Racing Vantage of local favourite Maxime Martin and Alex Lynn after Martin passed AF Corses Davide Rigon with a great turn of speed in the wet following the penultimate restart. The Belgians cause was helped by alternating pit strategies relegating his nearest competition - namely Rigon in the #71 Ferrari and both BMWs - down the order. Late stops for all three allowed Rigons team-mate James Calado to snatch second for the #51 with Richard Lietz rounding out the podium. However, the latter #91 Porsche driven by Lietz - and shared with Gianmaria Bruni - was hit with a 17s post-race time penalty in lieu of a drive-through for causing a collision with the GTE Am Spirit of Race Ferrari. The penalty drops the #91 down to eighth in class, with the sister #92 of Kevin Estre and Michael Christensen moving onto the podium. Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK struggled in the wet, with Harry Tincknell reporting early in the race that the Ford GT struggles to build up tyre temperature in the wet conditions. The best of the blue ovals was the #67 Tincknell shares with Andy Priaulx, which finished sixth.

    GTE Am went the way of Dempsey-Proton Racing as the #77 of Christian Ried, Riccardo Pera and Matt Campbell pulled away from Charlie Eastwood in the TF Sport Aston Martin at the final restart to take yet another win for the Porsche team. Behind Eastwood, was the Clearwater Racing Ferrari 488 GTE. Matt Griffin, Matteo Cressoni and Luis Perez Companc putting a difficult Sebring round - in which Companc crashed in qualifying and the team failed to start the race - behind them.

  • Toyota take first pole of the season.

    The #7 Toyota took the first pole of the new World Endurance Championship super-season for tomorrow’s Spa 6 Hours, as Toyota dominated the red flag-interrupted session.

    Toyota LMP1 Spa 2018

    The #7 Toyota TS050 of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez beat its sister #8 machine of Fernando Alonso, Kazuki Nakajima and Sebastien Buemi by just under four tenths on the average time. After the first runs Conway’s 1m54.679s mark beat Alonso’s effort by just under half a second. Then in the second efforts Kobayashi 1m 54.488s time was three tenths under that of Nakajima.

    “Just tried to put two good laps together between me and Kamui,” said Conway, “we had a few poles last year we didn’t quite convert to wins, we’ll make sure we’ll convert some wins this year. It’s a good start anyway. It’ll still be tricky tomorrow with the amount of tyres we have, I’m sure the privateers will keep us on our toes.”

    As anticipated Toyota were clearly the quickest of the LMP1 cars. The Rebellion-Gibson R-13s led the privateer non-hybrid LMP1 pack behind, with Neel Jani and Bruno Senna – who will be driving with Andre Lotterer tomorrow – starting third with an average 1.8s off the pole-time. Thomas Laurent and Gustavo Menezes got fourth in the other Rebellion with an average 2.4s off the pace. They will drive tomorrow with Mathias Beche.

    The SMP Racing BR Engineering BR1 all-Russian #11 car of Mikhail Aleshin and Vitaly Petrov will start fifth, ahead of the ByKolles ENSO CLM P1/01 of Oliver Webb, Dominik Kraihamer and Tom Dillmann.

    FIA WEC Dragonspeed WEC

    Prototype qualifying was first interrupted in the early minutes by the #17 SMP Racing BR1 stopping on the Kemmel straight having lost the engine and gearbox with Stephane Sarrazin at the wheel, and had not set a time. Then around a third of the way into the session Pietro Fittipaldi caused a lengthy stoppage with a big front-on crash at Raidillon in his DragonSpeed-Gibson BR1.

    An official statement from the team and the FIA declared: “At 15:52 today, Friday 4 May 2018, the No.10 DragonSpeed BR Engineering BR1 left the track at high speed at Raidillon. The driver, who was conscious at all times, was attended immediately by the Circuit de Spa Francorchamps Medical Services and FIA Medical Delegate Jacques Tropenat, extracted from the car and taken by helicopter to the Centre Hospitalier de la Citadelle de Liege with suspected fractures to both legs. He is accompanied by the DragonSpeed Team Manager and his condition is not life threatening.”

    The CEFC TRSM Racing Ginettas didn’t set a qualifying time, and it was announced shortly after qualifying that the team will take no further part in the weekend due to financial issues with sponsor TRS.

    Alpine LMP2 Spa 2018

    Signatech Alpine Matmut took LMP2 pole after pipping the G-Drive Racing machine. The average time of Nicolas Lapierre and Pierre Thiriet in their Alpine A470-Gibson beat that of Formula E championship leader Jean-Eric Verge and Andrea Pizzitola in their Oreca 07-Gibson by just two hundredths of a second.

    “Very tough weekend so far,” said Lapierre, “but we’ve improved the car a lot for the qualifying so we are very pleased, it was a very special qualifying as we didn’t have so much time to set a lap.”

    The Jota Sport-run Jackie Chan DC Racing pair was next up, with Ho-Pin Tung and Gabriel Aubry starting third with an average time four tenths off the pace and beating team-mates Jazeman Jaafar and Nabil Jeffry’s average in fourth by two tenths. They were followed by the DragonSpeed Oreca 07-Gibson of Pastor Maldonado and Roberto Gonzalez in fifth.

    Short Image Description

    The Chip Ganassi-run Fords took the first two places in GTE Pro class, with the #67 car of Andy Priaulx, Harry Ticknell and Tony Kanaan pipping Olivier Pla, Stefan Mucke and Billy Johnson in the #66 by just 0.083s. Pla beat Priaulx by two tenths in their first runs but Ticknell’s best in the second runs beat Mucke’s by over three tenths to but him just ahead on average time.

    “Had a good first banker lap,” said Priaulx, “and Harry did a great lap on the used tyre. So really super happy with the car. But the Porsche looked really strong and our team-mates were strong so I think this year the GTE Pro class is going to be a really tough battle.”

    The Ford pair just beat the Porcshe 911 RSR of Richard Lietz and Gianmaria Bruni, whose average time was just four thousandths slower than the #66 Ford on the average time. The other Porsche 911 of Michael Christensen and Kevin Estre was fourth, four tenths off the top.

    Reigning GTE Pro champions James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi in the Ferrari 488 GTE EVO were fifth quickest, 1.4s off the top, while the best of the BMW M8 GTEs making its championship debut was Andretti BMW Formula E duo Antonio Felix Da Costa and Tom Blomqvist in sixth, a tenth behind the Ferrari on the average time.

    The quickest of the new Aston Martin Vantage AMRs was the #97 car of Maxime Martin and Alex Lynn in seventh.

    Porsche #77 FIA WEC Spa

    Dempsey-Proton Racing’s Porsche 911 RSR #77 took the GTE Am pole, for Christian Ried, Matt Campbell and Julien Andlauer. They beat reigning GTE Am champions Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda in the Aston Martin Vantage #98 by a mere 0.002s on the average.

    Team Project 1, new to the series from Porsche Supercup and Carrera Cup, took third in class with the #56 Porsche 911 RSR for Jorg Bergmeister, Patrick Lindsey and Egidio Perfetti.

  • WEC 6 Hours of Spa FP3

    Kazuki Nakajima topped the final practice session with a time of 1:55.233 in a Toyota 1-2-3, the #8 car just edging the #7 by 0.005 seconds. Porsche took fourth and fifth with Andre Lotterer posting the best time in the #1 with a 1:56.404 early on in the session. In LMP2, Alex Lynn topped the times with a 2:01.708 in the #26 G-Drive Oreca 07. Notable incidents in the session included the #13 Rebellion losing a front left wheel and the #38 DR Racing Oreca hitting the #61 Clear Water Racing Ferrari. AF Corse took a 1-2 finish in GTE Pro, the #71 Ferrari of Pier Guidi setting the best time of 2:14.904; Sam Bird and Davide Rigon were just two tenths back with a time of 2:15.1. The #67 Ford took third whilst the #95 Aston Martin which had shown early promise in FP2 came home last. Matteo Carol topped the time sheets in the #77 Dempsey Proton Porsche, setting the fourth quickest time overall across both GTE classes. The #98 Aston was second and the #61 Ferrari third.

  • WEC 6 Hours of Spa Qualifying

    Having topped the time sheets in all three Free Practice sessions, everyone’s money was on Toyota to take pole position at the 6 Hours of Spa Francorchamps. But in a session that was interrupted by a red flag, it was the #1 Porsche 919 of Andre Lotterer, Neel Jani and Nick Tandy that took pole position with an average lap time of 1:54.097.

    This is Lotterer’s first pole position with the 919. “Neel did an amazing lap, for me it was smooth, conservative, I didn’t realise there was so much grip, it’s cool that my fastest lap was quicker than by best lap in F1 here,” Lotterer said. “I didn’t think we’d beat the Toyotas as they’ve looked strong all week. The first job is done, the next step is to win the race tomorrow.” Toyota took second, third and fourth on the grid with Kamui Kobayashi and Mike Conway setting the best lap time of the three with a 1:54.693. It could be argued that Toyota could have made pole position if the session had not been red flagged. They also had laps removed for track limits. Brendon Hartley made an uncharacteristic error at the Bus Stop, locking the brakes and going straight off circuit on his flying lap. Hartley and Bernhard were unable to recover and could only manage a best average time of 1:55.440.

    G-Drive Racing took pole position in LMP2, their second of the season which saw championship new comer Alex Lynn post a time of 2:01.253. That time was quicker than the pole position time set by Allan McNish in the #2 Audi R18 in its first race at Spa. With Pierre Thiriet’s lap time taken into account, the pair averaged a time of 2:02.601. Matt Rao and Gustavo Menezes took second place in the #36 with a time of 2:02.624, just 5000ths of a second quicker than the sister #35 car. The #24 Manor and #13 Vaillante Rebellion rounded out the top five in a qualifying session where the top five were split by just a second, incredibly, the top four were just 0.031 seconds apart. The session was red flagged part way through with Vitaly Petrov crashing the #25 Manor at turn nine on his first hot lap. Petrov lost the rear of the car under braking and slammed in to the tyre wall side on, damaging the right side of the car.

    In GTE Pro, Davide Rigon and Sam Bird topped the time sheets with a 2:15.017 in the #71 AF Corse Ferrari 488, the pair were half a second quicker than the #66 Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK GT with Stefan Mucke and Olivier Pla posting a 2:15.418. Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell were just a tenth behind, qualifying the Silverstone winning #67 car in third. The #51 AF Corse Ferrari of Calado and Pier Guidi took fourth with the #91 Porsche rounding out the top five. Aston Martin will start on pole position in GTE Am, Paul Dalla Lana and Pedro Lamy securing the 46th class pole for Aston Martin in the #98 Vantage. Lamy put in a late lap to post an average time of 2:18.659 and take pole position ahead of the #77 Porsche and #54 Ferrari. The top 3 in GTE Am were split by exactly a second.

  • WEC 6 Hours of Spa Race report

    Toyota #8 Take Second Victory in an action-packed race that saw over 61,000 spectators attend Spa-Francorchamps over the weekend for the second round of the 2017 World Endurance Championship, Toyota Gazoo Racing #8 driven by Anthony Davidson, Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima took a narrow victory ahead of the sister car, scoring the first Toyota one-two since 2014. Two full course yellows played with the luck of the race that gave Toyota #8 the win after what they admitted should have been victory for the #7 crew. LMP2 saw a tight battle throughout the race but it was pole-sitters #26 G-Drive Racing who converted the race victory that they failed to do in Silverstone.

    LM GTE Pro was tightly fought between Ferrari and Ford at the start of the race, but ultimately the 488 GTEs had the pace advantage this weekend. An inter-team battle stemmed between the #71 and #51 AF Corse crews for the majority of the race, ending with advantage going to Sam Bird and Davide Rigon. LM GTE Am was dominated for the duration of the race by the #98 Aston Martin Racing entrant. They had no competition as they drove to an easy victory, even after picking up a time penalty during their pit stop for an infringement on the grid.

    Off the start, Andre Lotterer was pressured to protect his pole position as two of the Toyotas ran side by side with him towards La Source. Locking up his breaks, Nicolas Lapierre shot the #9 Toyota straight off into the run off on the outside of the circuit and took the car out of the lead fight. Porsche #2 benefited the most out of the front-runners at the start as Brendon Hartley managed to get it up to second and start chasing down Toyota #8.

    There were two Full Course Yellows during the six-hour event that played with the fortunes of those up and down the grid. The first one came from the #86 Gulf Racing Porsche pulling up and stopping on the start finish race. The #86 had had a troubled race from the start, with consistent abuses to track limits the team picked up multiple time penalties in their pit stops for their offences. There seemed to be damage on the car already when it bumped the rear of on of the Fords coming through Bus Stop, from what is unknown, but there was some sort of debris on the kerb of the chicane that caused the #86 to spin. After looking like it would be good to get going again it shuddered to a halt next to the pit wall where it retired from the race. The #7 Toyota had just taken their scheduled pit stop when the Full Course Yellow came out, meaning that the other three LMP1 cars gained a time advantage on them when they took their stops under the Full Course Yellows. This unlucky fate also befell the #7 during the second Full Course Yellow. The cause of the second full caution was the #28 TDS Racing LMP2 car going straight on at Courbe Paul Frère and heavily into the tyre barrier. Luckily for the LMP2 team, the car was able to get back to the pits after it was pushed out of the tyre barrier and simply needed a front nose replacement to carry on. However, for Toyota #7, once again the Full Course Yellow came at the wrong point in their pit strategy and lost them time against their competitors.

    It was a close race to the line at the end in LMP1. Kamui Kobayashi was pushing hard in the #7 Toyota to close down a four second gap to the sister car that was leading ahead. All of the LMP1 cars had had to stop for a ‘splash and dash’ in the last fifteen minutes of the race so the victory fight was between Toyota. Kobayashi came so close, but traffic in the final lap saw the Japanese driver almost take himself out of the race. He finished second to the #7 by just under two seconds, when one point in the last couple of laps the gap had been seven tenths. Porsche #2 completed the podium twenty-six seconds down the road after a slow puncture had lost them time earlier on in the race. Hartley had a moment in the final stint where contact was made with the #36 Signatech Alpine LMP2 car that is being investigated after the race. The Kiwi driver was trying to overtake the traffic of the #36 and committed to a move on the inside of the corner. It appeared Hartley noticed he would not be able to make the move as the #36 was not going to leave him enough room, so he hit the brakes, locking them in the process. Unfortunately, the #2 Porsche clipped the back of the #36 Signatech Alpine and spun it around.

    It was a great race for the #4 ByKolles. Making it to the chequered flag and encountering no issues through the race, the team ran competitively above the LMP2 field, lapping about a second a lap quicker. They finished a strong sixth which was not expected after they qualified eleventh. Alex Lynn spent most of the race on board the race-winning #26 G-Drive Racing car. The car was competitively paced throughout the race, and although there were swaps of the lead throughout the race the team always looked to be the strongest on track. Lynn had a comfortable lead advantage at the end of the race that allowed him to know that he would not be under any threat for the lead. Second place was a closer battle as the chequered flag approached as the #31 Vaillante Rebellion and the #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing cars where split by a few seconds. But as hard as Ho-Pin Tung pushed he could not close the gap to knock the Rebellion out of second place. Sam Bird made the move that spurred the inter-team battle in AF Corse in the Pro class. Whilst the #51 was lining up to pass the struggling #67 Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK for the lead just before the halfway mark, Bird used the tow from the sister car to follow it through when it made the pass on the Ford. Having extra momentum, Bird pulled the #71 Ferrari ahead of the #51. But a Toyota that had been passing through traffic did not leave enough room for Bird to comfortably pull ahead. A few corners of jostling between the two 488 GTE Ferraris saw Bird’s bold move come out victorious as he took the lead of the class. The battling between the two Ferrari continued until the end of the race but with fifteen minutes until chequered flag, Bird had built up a twenty second lead meaning that the #51 had no chance of stealing the win at the line. The #66 Ford finished off the podium in a class that finished two by two through manufacturers. Porsche left Aston Martin to take the last two places in the LM GTE Pro class.

    In a complete reverse fortune; Aston Martin Racing completely dominated the Am class, not once giving up the lead to another car. The team were handed a time penalty to take in their pit stop due to a broken rule during the start procedure. Even after they took this they were still competitively ahead of the rest of the field and cruised to an easy victory. The #77 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche also appeared to have a fairly straightforward race. After a little period of battling on track and recovering from time lost in pit stops Christian Reid and Matteo Carioli had an easy race to take second in Am. The #61 Clearwater Ferrari made it three different manufacturers on the Am grid again by securing third. There was a brief fight between the two Ferrari-running teams for third until around the halfway mark of the race but after this the final order seemed to establish itself. The day was warm and sunny at the start of the race, but the potential rain that was predicted did not fall as heavily as it needed to to make a strong impact on the race. The #8 crew had ‘”mixed feelings” about their victory, saying that all the luck had come to them today and that the #7 had had the quicker pace all weekend. This was a sentiment that the Porsche #2 crew echoed; suggesting that the podium all believed it should have been Conway and Kobayashi on the top step. Had there have been a couple of laps more, they very well could have been.