AF Corse got its FIA World Endurance Championship season off to an ideal start by taking the GTE-Pro class victory in the Sunday’s Six Hours of Silverstone, while Aston Martin Racing scored the GTE-Am class win.
The No. 51 Ferrari 458 Italia GT of defending champions Gianmaria Bruni and Toni Vilander took the lead from teammates James Calado and Davide Rigon in the No. 71 Ferrari during the fifth hour of the action-packed race.
Aston Martin Racing held control in the opening two hours following issues for Bruni at the start, but the Italian squad’s No. 71 Ferrari took the lead by the second hour during a pivotal Full Course Yellow, which caught the Astons out.
Both the pole-sitting No. 95 Aston of Nicki Thiim and Darren Turner in the No. 97 car pitted under green just prior to the yellow, and lost over one minute to the AF Corse drivers, who pitted under the low speed conditions.
Bruni crossed the line 10.664 second ahead of the No. 91 Porsche Team Manthey Porsche 911 RSR of Michael Christensen and Richard Lietz, who drove their way to second in the end, with Rigon and James Calado completing the podium in third.
The three Astons finished fourth through sixth, unable to make up the lost ground early, with the No. 92 Porsche coming home seventh in class after losing two laps due to front suspension issues.
In GTE-Am, AMR made it three wins in a row at Silverstone, with the No. 98 Vantage of Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda taking class honors.
A late splash and dash for Lamy meant the No. 83 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia of Rui Aguas, Emmanuel Collard and François Perrodo closed in on the Aston, but at the finish the gap at the line was still 13.712 seconds.
SMP Racing’s Aleksey Basov, Andrea Bertolini and Viktor Shaytar finished third, almost half a minute behind the race winning Aston Martin.
Klaus Bachler in the No. 88 Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR led the race early on, but the German entry dropped down the order and eventually finished in fifth place, behind the No. 96 Aston Martin.
Dempsey Racing-Proton was scored in sixth, ahead of the Larbre Competition Chevrolet Corvette C7.R.
The French squad was unlucky on its return to the FIA WEC, with the Corvette making contact with two prototypes and also getting a one-minute stop and go penalty for rolling tires into the pits.
RESULT: Six Hours of Silverstone