Working its way through changing weather and long hours of competition, racers in Michelin’s tires were able to endure the FIA WEC 6-hour Silverstone.
Apart from the lengthy six hour competition, strong winds coupled with rain also came as challenge to the teams that battled in the LM P1 and LM GTE Pro classes. In the blue ribband prototype class, spectators witnessed hypercompetitiveness as two Porsche LMT Team cars chased the dominating team of Toyota Gazoo. After an hour and a half of competition that followed two rounds of refuelling, the Porsche machines were able to secure a spot in the second and third place after consecutively passing Toyota’s N°7.
Harsh weather and Britain’s cold asphalt prompted the teams to reconsider initial strategies. The German machines pitted to switch to Michelin’s Hybrid ‘intermediate’ tires while just seconds ahead of Toyota, which were still running on slicks. Strong rains soon poured in the tracks, yet Porsche’s tire change tactic reaped no considerable difference.
Changing weather conditions, however, caused a constant switch between dry and slippery tracks. Midway to the competition, Toyota’s N°7 TS050 – Hybrid driven by Argentine FIA WEC rookie, José-Maria Lopez, slipped in the wet tracks causing a crash. Albeit badly damaged, he was able to make it to the pits for a repair.
In the last moments of the race, Brendon Hartley (N°2 Porsche) intentionally missed his tire change pit stop in order to take the lead position. Sébastien Buemi of Totoya, who recently refueled and put on fresh rubber, was then forced to pull out on all other stops in order to re-emerge and pass the N°2 Porsche. Buemi’s quick decision payed out, giving him victory in the FIA WEC 6-hour Silverstone.
“We couldn’t have wished for a better start to the season. It was a fully deserved win for us and Toyota, and payback for a strong performance, our perseverance, and the reliability of our car and its Michelin tires. Michelin’s new range unsurprisingly lived up every bit to its promise!,” said Buemi.