Toyota Gazoo Racing took a thrilling victory in the opening round of the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship at Silverstone.
Kazuki Nakajima, Sébastien Buemi and Anthony Davidson took Toyota’s 11th victory in the WEC after a frantic contest, which had drama throughout the six hours.
Buemi made a move on Brendon Hartley with just 12 minutes remaining of the six hours to seal the victory and, in doing so, the Toyota drivers also claimed the famous and historic RAC Tourist Trophy.
It was Toyota’s 11th victory in the WEC, and perhaps, its most hard-earned after rain, two Full Course Yellow and one Safety Car period bunched up the field in the fourth hour after Jose-Maria Lopez crashed his Toyota TS050 HYBRID at Copse Corner.
The pole-sitting #7 Toyota had led in stages during the first two hours but after one of several light showers dampened the circuit, the Argentinian WEC newcomer slid off track and crashed into the tyre barriers. Incredibly, the car made it back to the pits and eventually returned to action to be classified fourth in LMP1.
LMP2 saw the newly named Jackie Chan DC Racing trio of Oliver Jarvis, Thomas Laurent and Ho-Pin Tung take a hard-earned win in the category which entered a new and exciting era with more powerful cars this weekend.
JOTA-Sport run Jackie Chan DC Racing became the first Chinese entered team to win a WEC race when the order was shaken up after the Full Course Yellow and Safety Car periods.
Reigning champions Signatech Alpine (Nicolas Lapierre, Matt Rao and Gustavo Menezes) led the most laps in class but slipped back and eventually claimed fourth position behind the TDS Racing ORECA-Gibson driven by Mathieu Vaxivière, Emmanuel Collard and François Perrodo.
The #67 Ford GT came back from early issues with a loose door and a deflating tyre to take maximum points. The Ford GT had been the quickest of the LMGTE Pro cars all weekend and both the #67 and the #66 cars led for the majority of the race.
After gaining a free pit stop after the Safety Car was deployed in the fourth hour, Harry Tincknell blazed to the front, overtaking the No.51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE for the lead. Even a late race re-occurrence of the door-opening issue failed to hold back Tincknell, who took the chequered flag 15-seconds clear of the James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi-driven Ferrari.
The #91 Porsche 911 RSR of Frédéric Makowiecki and Richard Lietz made it three different manufacturers in the top three. The new mid-engined LMGTE Pro car made an encouraging WEC debut but its sister car driven by Kevin Estre and Michael Christensen retired.