Gianmaria Bruni and Richard Lietz took Porsche’s new 911 RSR to victory in its debut race on Sunday, leading a 1-2 finish in GTE-Pro at Silverstone for the German manufacturer.
The two Porsches moved into the class lead shortly before the halfway point in the 4 Hours of Silverstone, benefitting from a strategy call to switch to wet tires when rain started to fall.
AF Corse kept its Ferrari 488 GTE Evos on slick tires while Aston Martin effectively made an extra pit stop, causing both manufacturers to lose out to Porsche.
This kept the Bruni/Lietz car and No. 92 Porsche of reigning champions Kevin Estre and Michael Christensen out front until Alessandro Pier Guidi mounted a challenge in his No. 51 Ferrari.
The Italian made his way into the lead but was later given a drive-through penalty for overtaking behind the safety car, dropping his and James Calado’s car to fourth.
This returned the lead back into Porsche’s hands, with Bruni and Christensen running nose to tail in the final stint while Maxime Martin inherited third in the best of the Aston Martin Vantage GTEs.
All three eventual GTE-Pro podium finishers had a relatively uneventful end to the race, with Bruni crossing the line 3.8 seconds clear of his teammate and Martin, who had shared the No. 97 Aston Martin with Alex Lynn, a further 2.4 seconds back.
Pier Guidi recovered to finish fourth in the sole remaining Ferrari, while Nicki Thiim brought the No. 95 Aston Martin back in fifth.
GTE-Pro’s only retirement was the No. 71 Ferrari of Davide Rigon and newcomer Miguel Molina, whose first race in his new full-season role was cut short by contact with Oliver Jarvis’ Ginetta G60-LT-P1 AER.
Molina and Jarvis came together at Becketts midway through the race in a collision that ended with the Spaniard stricken in the gravel trap after hitting the barrier.
AF Corse Triumphs in Ultra-Competitive GTE-Am Battle
AF Corse drivers Nicklas Nielsen, Francois Perrodo and Emmanuel Collard came out on top in an eventful GTE-Am battle that saw several cars lead throughout the race.
Driving the No. 83 Ferrari, they crossed the line 22 seconds clear of Aston Martin’s new lineup of Paul Dalla Lana, Darren Turner and Ross Gunn.
Dempsey-Proton Racing had been leading earlier in the final hour until Matt Campbell pitted with 22 minutes on the clock, relinquishing the lead to Nielsen.
Campbell could only manage to bounce back to a fifth-place finish, dropping behind Gulf Racing’s Ben Barker, who also made a late stop and finished fourth.
Kei Cozzolino placed ahead of the two Porsches, putting MR Racing on the bottom step of the podium.
Campbell’s co-driver Riccardo Pera led the race for a while, taking over the lead from the eventual winners when Collard served a drive-through penalty.
Before then, Collard and Perrodo had been running consistently in the top two, swapping the lead with Dalla Lana’s Aston Martin.
RESULTS: 4H Silverstone