G-Drive Racing opened its European Le Mans Series season with a win, after leading the majority of Saturday’s Four Hours of Silverstone.
Giedo van der Garde took the Jota Sport-run Gibson 015S Nissan to the finish line, a whole 95 seconds ahead of Stefano Coletti’s No. 32 SMP Racing BR Engineering BR01 Nissan in second.
Harry Tincknell assumed the lead at the start, from fourth on the grid. He handed the car over to Simon Dolan who put in a rapid middle stint, before van der Garde took it to the finish line.
“It was right [to push so hard], I had a single stint with fresh tires,” said van der Garde. “The car felt very good. The whole team did a very good job, Simon and Harry did a really good job, so I just had to finish.
“It was the first time I have done a race like this, because in single-seaters you don’t have too much traffic, but after a couple of laps I started to get the hang of it and it felt good.
“To have a comeback like this, after not racing last year, and to win straight away with the Gibson and G-Drive team; it’s mega.”
Thiriet by TDS Racing, after leading every session so far this weekend, found its Oreca 05 Nissan in the wall just 25 minutes into the race, piloted by Pierre Thiriet.
Tristan Gommendy and the Eurasia Motorsport crew retired at the same time after a “freak incident.”
The lead battle and winning move was between Dolan and Fabien Barthez.
The G-Drive car passed the Panis Barthez Competition Ligier JS P2 Nissan for the lead slightly after the half-way point, and would stay out front for the remainder.
The Panis Barthez car suffered from mechanical issues late in the race and finished down in ninth.
Leo Roussel was also among drivers to have issues, as the Pegasus Racing driver hit the wall on the start, before losing a wheel in the last 20 minutes.
Nic Jonsson passed Mitch Evans with a couple of laps remaining, putting the Krohn Racing car into fourth ahead of Evans’ SMP Racing entry. Both finished behind So24! By Lombard Racing in third.
Christian England won the LMP3 battle for the No. 2 United Autosports Ligier JS P3, securing a one-two finish for the team on its series debut.
England shared driving duties with Alex Brundle and Mike Guasch.
The No. 9 Graff Ligier was third, while Dino Lunardi’s Duqueine Engineering car came fourth.
JMW Motorsport led the GTE field to the checkered flag, with Rory Butcher benefitting from a late-race yellow flag.
Butcher, Rob Smith and Ferrari factory driver Andrea Bertolini gave the British squad its first class win in more than three years.
Stuart Hall had led the first portion of the race for Aston Martin Racing, and his car finished third with Richie Stanaway at the wheel.
Second in class went to the sister Aston Martin entry of Beechdean AMR. All of the GTE runners finished the race.
Results: Four Hours of Silverstone