The 6 Hours of Silverstone was a gripping opening race for the 2015 World Endurance Racing championship. Incredible speed in the LMP1 class set a new distance record in an event that will go down as one of the best: scroll down for the Porsche AG video report.
Porsche Racing at Silverstone
Both Porsche 919 LMP1 Hybrids qualified on the front row and had a good start. The number 17 Webber/Hartley car set the early pace, ahead of the number 18 919 of Dumas/Lieb/Jani. While the Audis got trapped behind a Toyota, Webber built a lead of more than 12 seconds up to quarter race distance, through a full course yellow and virtual safety car.
Just over an hour and half into the race, the 17 car entered pit lane earlier than expected. The leading 919 Hybrid was pulled back into the garage and taken to bits. Rear drivetrain issues (gearbox failure) was the reason given for what would become its early retirement, with all attention switching to the number 18 919.
Meanwhile, the 911 RSRs battled hard to run in the lead of both GT classes early on. The 92 RSR of Pilet/Makowiecki hit problems with a damper failure mid-race, but kept running at the back of the pack to pick up any stray points in the manufacturer championship.
The number 91 Lietz/Christensen Porsche 911 RSR took no prisoners with a robust drive to the podium. Lietz was on a mission from the start, supported by the stylish Danish driver. The Ferraris and Astons proved tough competition, with the AF Corse cars dominating the middle part of the race. A quick last pitstop by the Porsche Manthey team put Christensen into a Ferrari-splitting P2 for the final stint: a position he never relinquished.
As the incredible race hit the last twenty minutes, the number 7 Audi that had run a blistering pace all afternoon was hit with a stop-and-go penalty that could have handed the lead to the 919 Hybrid. Toyota had already done its final stop, as had the 919. The Porsche was running P2, but Buemi’s Toyota was closing the gap.
The eventual grandstand finish was the perfect end to an exceptional race. Sixteen seconds covered the top three positions: Porsche finished second, less than five seconds behind the winning Audi. Three LMP1 hybrid solutions showed amazing versatility: the torquey Audi strongest in the corners and in traffic with the Porsche insanely fast on the straights. If every race is like this through the 2015 championship, this could be the best endurance racing season ever.
Watch the Porsche AG video below and don’t miss the next round of the 2015 WEC from Spa-Francorchamps circuit.