Sunday 17 April 2016

Silverstone Six Hours and Four Hours - Jox Jottings

“To finish first.. first you have to finish”  Your friendly scribing team has another version of that “ To finish first .. first you have to get to the media centre by fighting your way through floods, snow, sleet and media parking that had run out of car passes”. So the day did not start well. The only bonus was there were no queues to get in, spectators are a hardy bunch but even they held back. 

April showers are a recognised meteorological phenomenon but they generally refer to rain showers not snow showers! Up until about lunchtime this was a hostile environment to say the least. Free practice for the Porsche Carrera Cup never happened due to the weather and those cheery red flags all-round the circuit and the WEC free practice was cut short.

However free practice on Friday had a familiar ring to it. Porsches were quickest in all three sessions and Toyota were in the hunt. Maybe it was because Audis were debuting a brand new car they were
off the pace and Toyota were now back on the pace and looking competitive again after their apparent misjudgements of 2015. LMP2 was packed with eleven cars and looking stronger than ever and in GT it looked as if Ferrari and Porsche were going well as were the eagerly awaited Ford GTs. Aston Martin looked to have taken a step backwards maybe while they settled onto Dunlop tyres. Whether the Fords are strictly legal having never sold any road going versions of the GT doesn’t matter.. they look amazing! Even a whiff of LMP2 about them maybe? The rear diffuser looks daft but it will probably shovel gravel by the ton if they go off.

Finally the weather eased off and sanity returned as the sledges and huskies were put away again hopefully until next winter. It was still wet and bl**dy cold as the brave band of spectators will agree with.

After qualifying the three Astons were languishing 28th/29th and 30th . It would have looked even worse if the two Rebellion LMP1 cars #12 & #13 hadn’t had a catastrophic qualifying session and were occupying 31st and 33rd on the grid! It was the AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE that took pole ahead of the #77 Dempsey –Proton Racing Porsche and #77 Ford Chip Ganassi Ford GT. 

The #26  G-Drive Oreca 05 Nissan ( catchy title !) was on LMP2 ahead of #31 Extreme Speed Motorsports Ligier JS P2 Nissan and  similar #43 Ligier Nissan. It really would help if the teams chose easier to remember names!

In LMP1 we think that Porsche’s noses were put badly out of joint judging by the TV shots from their pits. Both Audis proved to be very quick and they nicked pole and 2nd on the grid! Not part of the plan at all. This broke Porsche’s amazing 11 consecutive WEC pole positions. The Toyotas came next but some way off the pace. With the Rebellion cars struggling at the back of the grid the ‘non hybrid’ car the #4  Bykolles  Racing CLM P1/01-AER  ( see what we mean about these names !) was comfortably ahead. 

As is now traditional your scribes totally misjudged the final grid.. but that is quite normal. The good news is that LMP1 might turn out to be a good scrap!

The start procedure for ELMS is a bit quaint to say the least. They are working out of the ‘old’ pits and made their way down to the ‘new’ F1 grid and lined up there prior to their warm up lap which took them back for a rolling start at the ‘old’ start finish line! So they did 1.5 laps before the green light.. Confused?  

Jock Simpson.

Full timing details can be found on the FIAWEC and ELMS web sites.