The Team Oreca Matmut-AIM pairing of Nicolas Lapierre and Olivier Panis won the 1000km race of Silverstone in a closely fought battle, but the day belonged to Aston Martin Racing, who took the Le Mans Series LM P1 championship titles for both ...
The Team Oreca Matmut-AIM pairing of Nicolas Lapierre and Olivier Panis won the 1000km race of Silverstone in a closely fought battle, but the day belonged to Aston Martin Racing, who took the Le Mans Series LM P1 championship titles for both drivers and constructors.
The Courage-Oreca LC70-AIM crossed the line first after being in control much of the race much to the delight of Yves Courage, who had come to the event. Last-minute drama meant that the car had to pit for a broken grill putting the Speedy Sebah Aston Martin B08/60 of Andrea Belicchi, Nicolas Prost and Marcel Fassler in the lead. However, this car, too, had to pit in the closing stages to replace a similarly damaged fairing on the top of the wing, giving Oreca back the lead.
"We had a big gap; the situation was under control," said Lapierre. "Then we had to change the louvre, but it was only right that Sebah had to do the same thing."
The Speedy Sebah Lola B08/60 Coupe, one of last year's Lola Aston Martin chassis, came in second ahead of the two works Aston Martin Racing cars. The No. 007 car driven by Tomas Enge, Stefan Mucke and Jan Charouz was third gaining the final points required to secure the LMP1 drivers title while the Harold Primat and Darren Turner in the No.009 car came in fourth to add to the constructors Championship victory margin. Turner had been in second place but a last-minute fuel splash-and-dash caused the car to lose track position.
"Our pace wasn't perfect today, but that wasn't the key to our success," said Mucke. "We again had a consistent and reliable car, and that's what wins you championships."
Aston Martin's main competitors for both titles, the Pescarolo-Judd 01 car of Jean-Christophe Boullion and Christophe Tinseau, could only manage 13th after rapidly fighting their way up through the field from almost the back of the grid, to lead the race before the first round of pit stops.
The stint at the front was short-lived, though, as they soon suffered an oil supply problem to the gearbox which put the car in the pits for an extended period and wrecked the race for the French team. It was a bitter blow for Pescarolo as on pace alone the car would have seen them run away with the race, and be very much in the drivers' championship fight.
The two Kolles Audi R10 TDIs finished fifth and sixth with the Christijan Albers/Christian Bakkerud car one lap behind the Oreca and the Narain Karthikeyan, Andrew Meyrick and Charles Zwolsman car two laps adrift of the winners.
In LMP2 the Speedy Sebah Lola B08/80 Coupe-Judd, driven by Jonny Kane, Benjamin Leuenberger and Xavier Pompidou somewhat made up for the apparent misfortune of the team's LMP1 entry by taking the class win in an overall eighth place, while the Tommy Erdos and Mike Newton RML Lola B08/80 Coupe-Mazda took the class 2nd with the Jacques Nicolet and Richard Hein Oak Racing Pescarolo Mazda gaining 3rd in class.
For the last outing of the LMGT1 class cars, at least in the European Le Mans series, the duo of Ryan Sharp and Peter Kox got the win in their Gigawave Motorsport Aston Martin DBR9 with the Roland Berville, Laurent Groppi and Sebastien Dumez Labre Saleen S7R 2nd and the Julien Jousse, Patrice Goueslard and Yann Clairay Luc Alphand Aventures Corvette C6.R came home a class 3rd.
In LMGT2 Robert Bell and Gianmaria Bruni in the JMW Motorsport Ferrari won in class with the Tom Coronel-Jarek Janis Spyker second. The Raymond Narac/Patrick Pilet Porsche finished third. The Team Felbermayr-Proton of Horst Sr Felbermayr, Richard Lietz and Marc Lieb wrapped up the championship titles by a single point by getting a seventh-place finish in a car which appeared to be running on five cylinders for part of the race.
The Mansell family were out in force at Silverstone with father Nigel and son Greg in a LMP1 Ginetta-Zytek. The car was running well but could only manage 28th after the car pitted with suspension damage which took some time to put right. The third Mansell Leo faired a bit better his LMGT2 Ferrari came in two places ahead of his father and brother in 26th place which was good enough for 4th in class.