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Silverstone Saturday Notebook

Sportscar365’s Saturday notebook from the Silverstone WEC paddock…

Photo: James Moy/Toyota

***Toyota switched to a spare chassis for its No. 7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid overnight after Kamui Kobayashi’s spin in Free Practice 2 on Friday afternoon damaged the original monocoque.

***Kobayashi’s best qualifying lap time of 1:35.992 was the fastest-ever by an LMP1 car at Silverstone. Times have fallen as a result of the new track surface, which is considerably smoother than before.

***Aston Martin GTE-Pro driver Marco Sorensen described the feeling of driving on the new surface as “more like in a formula car than in a sports car”.

***Qualifying lap records fell in all four classes. Job van Uitert set a new LMP2 record of 1:40.850, beating the previous best time set by Alex Lynn in 2017 by 2.5 seconds. Alessandro Pier Guidi forged a new GTE-Pro record of 1:54.019, while Nicklas Nielsen broke the GTE-Am record ahead of his WEC debut.

***Toyota has qualified on pole at Silverstone more than any other WEC circuit. Today’s session heralded its fifth pole at the British venue, while it has taken four poles at Le Mans and Shanghai since the championship’s inaugural 2012 season.

***Racing Team Nederland became the 16th different entrant to score a pole position in the WEC LMP2 class, ahead of its first race with its new Oreca 07 chassis having switched over from Dallara.

***The damage on Gianmaria Bruni’s car in qualifying was caused by a puncture. He spun the No. 91 Porsche 911 RSR out of Abbey at the start of his second flying lap, which led to his car’s front left tire delaminating. Bruni explained that the destroyed tire then exploded and destroyed the front left bodywork when he picked up speed on the Hangar Straight.

***The No. 5 Ginetta G60-LT-P1 AER had a strange issue during Free Practice 3 that caused part of its bodywork to pop up. It transpired that debris was also flicked up into the engine bay, pushing a belt off the alternator.

***Team LNT’s only other technical issue so far this weekend was on the same car on Friday, with an electrical fault that prevented downshifts.

***Mike Simpson reckons the Ginettas could have broken into the 1:36 lap times if a tire-related slip up hadn’t hampered both cars’ first runs. Team LNT’s best lap was a 1:37.019 from Ben Hanley, while its best combined time was 1:37.220.

“The quali tires didn’t get put on the rims by Michelin,” he explained to Sportscar365. “Charlie [Robertson] and myself went out in the first part of qualifying on completely cold slicks, so we didn’t hit our time until lap three. I’m sure if we’d have had a hot tire we’d have been up there, in the 36s, I have no doubt.”

***Rebellion is set to use its high-downforce aero kit in all races except the 24 Hours of Le Mans this season, according to team manager Bart Hayden. “The low-downforce kit that we’ve got is pretty much Le Mans-specific,” he told Sportscar365. “I would be more expectant to be in the high-downforce setup at the remaining tracks until we go to Le Mans again.”

***Hayden added that the general prototype experience of Rebellion rookies Pipo Derani and Loic Duval has been beneficial for the first race of the season: “They’re in this type of car week in, week out, so they just jump in and find the pace straight away which is really helpful for us. We haven’t got the luxury of time to learn.”

***Three-time 12H Sebring winner Derani is making his LMP1 debut, while Duval hasn’t raced in the top class since the 2016 season with Audi Sport Team Joest.

***United Autosports was given a €1500 fine after it was found that the neutral switch on its Oreca 07 Gibson didn’t disconnect the transmission. The team must repair this and present the car to scrutineers prior to the race.

***The No. 57 Team Project 1 Porsche failed to make qualifying after its flywheel mysteriously snapped at the end of FP3. Ben Keating, Felipe Fraga and Jeroen Bleekemolen will start from the pit lane at the end of the opening lap.

***A WEC bulletin explained that the trio’s time in the car during FP3 before the breakage was sufficient for them to qualify for their first WEC race together outside the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

***Ross Gunn says he could potentially return for another race outing in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge after making his series debut in an Aston Martin Vantage GT4 at VIR last weekend. “I loved the championship and loved the people,” Gunn told Sportscar365. “[A second race] is not decided, but there’s a chance I might be going back out there at some point this year.”

***Jota’s Roberto Gonzalez says both Michelin and Goodyear’s LMP2 tires “have strong points in different areas”. Gonzalez and Anthony Davidson are the only drivers to have switched from Michelin to Dunlop’s replacement brand Goodyear in the off-season.

***Gonzalez said: “We know that Goodyear has a very superior intermediate tire than Michelin, so if we get to that condition it’s going to be an advantage, and when it goes full wet are on the downside. They definitely perform differently.”

***A new TV graphics format has been introduced for the 2019-20 season and was trialed for the first time during Free Practice 3 this morning.

***The 4 Hours of Silverstone is set to get underway at 12:00 p.m. local time (7 a.m. EDT). Click Here for full broadcast details.

***United Autosports LMP3 driver Mike Guasch suffered a broken rib in a high-speed accident during today’s European Le Mans Series race. Guasch was initially treated at the on-track medical center before being transferred to a hospital in Oxford, according to the team’s managing director Richard Dean.

***The on-the-road LMP3 winner – Inter Europol Competition’s Ligier JS P3 Nissan – was stripped of its victory post-race after the Polish squad picked up a 1-minute and 43-second penalty for not respecting its Bronze-rated competitor Martin Hippe’s drive time requirements.

***This handed victory to the No. 11 Eurointernational Ligier of Jens Petersen and Mikkel Jensen, which had originally lost the win after having 30 seconds added to its final race time for not pitting to remove a loose piece of bodywork under stewards’ orders. 

***Paul-Loup Chatin and the IDEC Sport team dedicated their ELMS 4 Hours of Silverstone victory to Anthoine Hubert, who succumbed to injuries sustained in an FIA Formula 2 accident earlier in the day.

Jake Kilshaw contributed to this report

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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