The weather doesn’t affect motor-racing as obviously as it does cricket or professional sun-bathing, but it is still a big factor in the enjoyment of a motorsport weekend. Watching motor-racing in the sunshine is just a lot more fun than in the cold. Unfortunately the morning of the 2016 European Le Mans Series opening race at Silverstone was shockingly cold. If that sort of weather had turned up in January you would have accepted it no questions asked, but in April it seemed outrageous.
Luckily we live in a country where snow in the morning doesn’t preclude bright sunshine in the afternoon. So it proved at Silverstone. After a wet qualifying session the 4 Hours of Silverstone started dry but rain showers threatened to cause an upset. In the end the no38 G Drive Racing Gibson-Nissan of Harry Tincknell, Simon Dolan and Giedo Van Der Garde was victorious at the end of the thrilling four hour encounter.
The start saw the no19 Duqueine Engineering Ligier JS P3 spin and in a separate incident the no29 Pegasus Racing Morgan speared to the right into the pitwall causing damage to the front of the car.
Sir Chris Hoy’s debut in LMP2 didn’t go to plan when his no25 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier got sideways and ended in the gravel at the start of Hanger Straight. A Full Course Yellow was declared to snatch the car back on track and the Scot rejoined the race. The Algarve Pro Racing team eventually finishing in 10th overall at the chequered flag.
The LMGTE class had a complicated finish. As the race drew to a close it was the JMW Motorsport Ferrari of Rory Butcher who held the advantage over Andrew Howard in the Beechdean liveried Aston Martin Vantage with a great battle for the final podium spot between Alessandro Pier Guidi in the AT Racing Ferrari and Richie Stanaway in the no96 Aston Martin.
On the final lap there was contact between the two cars at the end of the Vale with Pier Guidi sliding off the track and Stanaway taking the chequered flag in third place but then pulling to the side of the track after the finish line with damage to the front right of the car. The no96 Aston Martin finished in 3rd place behind the winning JMW Motorsport Ferrari and the no99 Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin but Stanaway was handed a 4-minute time penalty by the stewards for unsporting conduct which put the no96 car behind the no56 Ferrari and promoting AT Racing into the final podium position.
In post race scrutineering the no66 Ferrari was found to be in breach of article 2.2.1a of the ELMS LMGTE Am Technical Regulations, which means it didn’t conform to the homologation papers. The front splitter was found to be incorrect and the JMW Motorsport Ferrari was excluded from the results. The no99 Aston Martin Racing Vantage was promoted to the race win, with the no56 AT Racing Ferrari in second and the no65 Aston Martin Racing Vantage in third.
Round 2 of the European Le Mans Series will be in Italy when the large grid of cars will take part in the 4 Hours of Imola on the 13-15 May.
For more information visit www.europeanlemansseries.com