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Toyota Wins Rain Shortened Six Hours of Silverstone

No. 8 Toyota wins rain-shortened FIA WEC season opener…

Photo: Toyota

Photo: Toyota

Toyota rung in the new era of the FIA World Endurance Championship with a dominant 1-2 victory in Sunday’s rain-shortened Six Hours of Silverstone.

A downpour in the final hour saw the second safety car period of the race, which turned into a red flag with 26 minutes to go.

The race did not resume due excess standing water around the 3.6-mile circuit, giving the win to the No. 8 Toyota TS040 Hybrid of Anthony Davidson, Sebastien Buemi and Nicolas Lapierre.

Despite the early end, it was clearly Toyota’s day, which dominated from the onset.

Pole-sitter Alex Wurz led from the green but briefly lost the top spot to the No. 2 Audi R18 e-tron quattro of Andre Lotterer, prior to the first spout of rain halfway through the opening hour.

The decisive move of the race came shortly after, when Toyota split its strategy, putting Wurz on wets and Buemi on intermediates during the changing conditions.

Buemi’s Toyota shined on the drying track, with the former Torro Rosso F1 driver managing to gain more than 20 seconds on a single lap over a struggling Lotterer to take the lead late in the opening hour

With a one minute-plus gap over the sister Toyota, largely due to the different tire strategy, it was clear sailing for the No. 8 crew, which cruised to a one-lap victory over the No. 7 TS040 of Wurz, Stephane Sarrazin and Kaz Nakajima.

Defending FIA WEC champions Audi had a race to forget, with both of its new R18 e-tron quattros crashing out, marking the first time since Petit Le Mans in 2011 that the German manufacturer didn’t get a car to the finish.

Lucas Di Grassi slammed into the barriers in the opening hour under the tricky conditions. The Brazilian driver eventually got the No. 1 Audi back to the pits, but was later retired due to tub damage.

The No. 2 Audi was retired just past the halfway mark when Benoit Treluyer also suffered an accident and was unable to get the heavily damaged machine back to the pits for repairs.

Audi’s double DNF opened the door for Porsche, making its return to top-level prototype racing, to secure a podium finish in the debut of its 919 Hybrid.

The No. 20 car of Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley and Mark Webber finished two laps back from the winning Toyota, having struggled in the wet conditions with its low-downforce, Le Mans-style aero package.

Porsche’s sister No. 14 entry retired in the second hour with hydraulic issues after an early trip to the garage for suspension repairs due to losing its left-front wheel.

While the No. 13 Rebellion Racing Lola B12/60 Toyota also retired early with gearbox issues, the Anglo-Swiss squad’s No. 12 entry of Nick Heidfeld, Nicolas Prost and Mathias Beche came home a surprise fourth overall in the attrition-filled LMP1 race.

LMP2 class honors went to the No. 26 G-Drive Racing Morgan-Nissan of Olivier Pla, Roman Rusinov and Julien Canal, which enjoyed a late-race duel with the No. 47 KCMG Oreca 03 Nissan, after the Hong Kong-based entry led much of the race.

However, a stop-and-go penalty for a pit lane speeding infraction in the fourth hour took the Matt Howson, Tsugio Matsuda and Richard Bradley-driven entry out of the lead and gave clear sailing to the OAK Racing-run entry.

The two SMP Racing Oreca-Nissans, the only other two entries in this weekend’s depleted LMP2 field, suffered a series of issues, with the all-Russian-driven No. 37 car retiring in the third hour with fuel pump failure.

Next up for the FIA WEC is the Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, set for May 3-4.

RESULTS: Six Hours of Silverstone

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. ACE_SGV

    April 20, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    Toyota 1 & 2!

  2. Mark

    April 20, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    A breath of fresh air compared to the “sportscar racing” in North America. Congrats Toyota!

  3. Ernie2492

    April 20, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    Finally..!!
    Great job Toyota!

  4. Travis

    April 20, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    Yesterday’s 4 hour ELMS race and today’s 6 hour WEC race for a combined ten hours of racing have put to shame over 36 hours of racing in the states.

  5. steve

    April 20, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    …and of course, we have more IMSA-bashing trolls. Piss off.

    • TJ

      April 20, 2014 at 4:42 pm

      Someones got a thin skin

    • 37

      April 20, 2014 at 7:46 pm

      We callin it like we see it,man. The truth hurts!

      • Mark

        April 20, 2014 at 8:48 pm

        Agreed!

  6. John

    April 20, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    IMSA deserves all the bashing they get. The FIA WEC organisation is just so much more professional.

  7. Will

    April 20, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    You can enjoy ELMS and WEC without bashing IMSA. Just don’t watch IMSA, it’s simple.

    • Dave

      April 20, 2014 at 4:50 pm

      When races are ruin by poor officiating not from on track action the officials deserve to get all the heat. TUSC had the opportunity to lead the sports car racing world into a great 2014 but instead we got two of the worlds biggest races turned into laughing stocks through no fault of the competitors but blind officials who cant tell one car apart from another and others throwing cautions for no reason other than to bunch up the pack. TUSC deserves the criticism leveled against it. Sports car fans in the US deserve alot better than what they have gotten so far this year. These two races prove what is possible.

      • Fu Manchu

        April 21, 2014 at 1:41 pm

        Ok, we get it already. Yep, at least the first two of the three races where a joke, but does every single story about every single race have to have comments complaining about TUSC? Round and round like a broken record. FFS.

    • Kirk

      April 20, 2014 at 5:09 pm

      The problem is we want to watch it. Those who are the most pissed off are probably those who would be the TUSC’s biggest fans if things were done correctly. Personally I’ve enjoyed sports car racing for 30+ years and was hoping against all hope that the TUSC wouldn’t simply be NASCAR with right turns. Unfortunately, so far that’s what it’s been. Maybe someday somebody in IMSA’s hierarchy will understand the fact sports car racing fans enjoy it because it’s NOT NASCAR.

      • Dave

        April 20, 2014 at 5:42 pm

        I suspect IMSA isn’t in charge any more they are more than likely just figure heads. Many of IMSA old rules about BOP and the like have been tossed since the buyout NASCAR was probably hoping they could hijack the ALMS audience and draw NASCAR’s current oval loving audience to sports car racing and it hasn’t happened and wont happen. Sport scar fans never have and never will be the same as NASCAR fans. Your correct Kirk, alot of the people complaining the loudest are very disappointed with TUSC so far and had it been done properly would be its biggest fans but instead we have lost MMPR Americas top prototype team and if we lose OAK and ESM our prototype category will be globally irrelevant. Sports car racing is about global relevancy every class in ALMS could be raced elsewhere.

      • kevlow

        April 21, 2014 at 5:59 am

        Well stated Kirk.

  8. John

    April 20, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    @Will; yes, you can ignore everything if you want. No problem at all. But the thing is; if you don’t pinpoint anything, nothing gets solved.

  9. kimiaimar

    April 21, 2014 at 3:15 am

    ACO should do something to stop Audi’s foolish gambling, running slicks on a raining and wet track is totally irresponsable for the driver themselves’ security and others on track. Finally they deserved the cost.

  10. JT

    April 21, 2014 at 11:29 am

    Podium separated by one and two laps, 4 P1 cars at the finish and two P2. Yeah, great race.

    • Davidvdb

      April 21, 2014 at 11:57 am

      You didn’t watch the race, right?

      • Travis

        April 21, 2014 at 9:29 pm

        Troll fail

    • Christian

      April 21, 2014 at 6:55 pm

      Haha you obviously didn’t watch the race.

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