ELMS And WEC Add To Rich Heritage At Silverstone


The World Endurance Championship field will fight for the RAC Tourist Trophy at Silverstone (Photo Credit: fiawec.com)

The opening round of the 2013 FIA World Endurance Championship will see the best endurance racers in the world battle at the home of British Motorsport, Silverstone.

The first motor race at the former World War Two airfield, the RAC Grand Prix, took place on October 2nd 1948. It was not until 1976, however that endurance racing made its debut at the Midlands circuit, with the inaugural Silverstone 6 Hours.

Regulation changes in the late 1970s opened the door for the golden era of Group C cars in the 1980s, as Porsche, Lancia, Jaguar and Mercedes went head to head to be crowned World Sports Car Champions.

The Silverstone 6 Hours and 1000km events became the cornerstone of the World Sports Car Championship, and many teams used them as warm-up events to the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans. The races were run under by the FIA and went on until 1992.

As well as being endurance races for Sportscars, the 6 Hours and 1000km races were also endurance Touring Car events, racing for the coveted Royal Automobile Club Tourist Trophy which, as of 2013, will be awarded to the overall winner of the Silverstone round of the World Endurance Championship.

The Tourist Trophy is one of the most significant prizes in not only British Motorsport, but international motorsport, with previous winners including names such as Derek Bell, Jochen Mass, Tom Walkinshaw and Enzo Calderari.

Endurance racing returned to Silverstone in 2004 with the launch of the Le Mans Endurance Series, eventually becoming the European Le Mans Series. 2013 will see both the ELMS and WEC contest 3-hour and 6-hour races at Silverstone respectively.