Norman Nato and Rebellion Racing led the way in the first official session of the FIA World Endurance Championship season, going quickest in Friday’s Free Practice 1 at Silverstone.
Nato moved the No. 1 Rebellion R13 Gibson to the top spot late in the 90-minute session, leapfrogging both Toyota TS050 Hybrids with a time of 1:38.860.
It was good enough to put him 0.420 seconds clear of Toyota’s best time, set by Sebastien Buemi in the No. 8 car, while the sister No. 7 car placed third.
Rebellion’s other R13 Gibson was classified fourth, a little over eight-tenths down on Nato’s time, meanwhile.
Only one of Team LNT’s Ginetta G60-LT-P1 AERs set any flying laps; the No. 5 car which placed fifth in class with a time 1.7 seconds off the pace.
The No. 6 Ginetta, meanwhile, completed three installation laps but didn’t set any times.
United Autosports topped the LMP2 category with an early time of 1:43.066 from Filipe Albuquerque which remained unbeaten throughout the session.
Cool Racing and Racing Team Nederland completed the top three, while Jackie Chan DC Racing’s car was the best-placed Goodyear entry in fourth.
Gianmaria Bruni took Porsche to the top of GTE-Pro late in the session, toppling James Calado’s time which had stood since the start.
Bruni’s 1:55.766 put him three-tenths clear of Calado, while the No. 95 Aston Martin Vantage GTE ensured that all three manufacturers were represented in the top three positions.
An early flyer from Jonny Adam put TF Sport on top in GTE-Am, and the Scot’s time was enough to keep the No. 90 Aston Martin among the quickest GTE-Pro cars for a while.
Aston Martin placed 1-2 in GTE-Am, meanwhile, with the factory-entered No. 98 car running second.
The start of the session was delayed by 17 minutes while barrier repairs were carried out at Stowe after a heavy shunt for Jack Manchester in the European Le Mans Series’ FP1 session.
It ran green for most of the 90 minutes, except for a couple of local yellows for minor incidents including an off for High Class Racing’s Kenta Yamashita and later a tangle between Bonamy Grimes and Thomas Flohr’s GTE-Am cars.
Free Practice 2 has been moved back by 30 minutes to 5 p.m. local time (12 p.m. EDT) to allow a longer ELMS FP2 to make up for time lost earlier.
RESULTS: Free Practice 1