In his latest Sportscar365 column, Renger van der Zande continues his year-long inside look at his dual-season program between the FIA World Endurance Championship and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
It was quite a weekend in Silverstone in the FIA World Endurance Championship! The Toyotas were once again in their own league at Silverstone but on Monday morning, it turned out they were both disqualified for a technical infringement.
A disqualified winner is like no winner and only leaves me with the question: Why were they running this close to the limit?
So Silverstone was my first real, full WEC experience. I wasn’t driving the first WEC round at Spa-Francorchamps and Le Mans is something completely special and different on its own, so the Six Hours of Silverstone was the first proper WEC weekend for me. Well, it didn’t go as expected.
The WEC is operating at an extremely high level. Such a high level of professionalism is fantastic to see and experience as a driver but it also has a downside… Let’s call it the ‘show element’.
As I’m also racing in the U.S., I can clearly see the difference between IMSA and WEC.
At IMSA, the show comes first. It’s a very entertaining weekend but mainly an entertaining race! It’s fun, it’s spectacular and perhaps it’s not as refined as the WEC. You can even call it old school kind of racing.
In WEC, it’s more about having a race and then adding a show to it.
For me as a driver it’s just a huge privilege to be competing in both championships and experience both styles of racing.
At the same time I do miss quite a bit of the entertainment racing in the WEC. At the same time you see GTE being a cool show at all the races they go to because of how close they are in lap time!
Toyota and its DQ
I’m not taking anything away from Toyota being as good as they are. They’ve build an extremely cool car and done their homework like no one else into every detail.
Saying that, it surprises me even more that they’ve been disqualified. They are so far ahead of everyone else, why not have a technical safety margin, or even a huge margin?
Why were they running even slightly this close to the limit? This is obviously a big blow to Toyota but basically to everyone who was in Silverstone.
There are no real winners in this race as the DQ’d cars were way faster than anyone else the whole weekend, the Rebellion guys not having their winning podium and a story to explain to a lot of people.
Still, congratulations to the No. 3 Rebellion car for taking a very unexpected win! That must still feel pretty good to win a WEC race.
A Tough Weekend at DragonSpeed
Our own weekend was very bad. There’s no other way of putting it. From the first laps, the car was jumpy and unstable on bumps and curbs.
We tried everything to make the care more stable; springs, camber, ride height, you name it. Nothing worked.
During the race, we also had two alternator failures, which just added to the misery. It was a long six hours and it was clear there’s something fundamentally wrong with the car.
The challenge is to find out what that is.
I have faith in our DragonSpeed team and hope we’ll make the next race one to remember!
I’ll be back behind the wheel of the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R in the second weekend of September, when IMSA visits Laguna Seca.
I have great memories from last year, where I won the race with a pretty cool move in the Corkscrew. It’ll be hard to replicate that one but I’ll make sure me and Jordan will give it everything!