LIVE: European Le Mans Series round 1 – 4 Hours of Silverstone


Welcome to The Checkered Flag’s live coverage of the 4 Hours of Silverstone, which begins the 20115 European Le Mans Series season.

This live blog will be updated throughout the race.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201514:29

Good afternoon and welcome to The Checkered Flag’s live text coverage of the opening round of the 2015 European Le Mans Series season.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201514:30

The cars are lining up for the rolling start, with the #41 Greaves Motorsport Gibson 015S on pole.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201514:31

14:30 GREEN FLAG! Gary Hirsch releases the field for the first round of the 2015 ELMS season.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201514:33

14:31 Contact at the start – the #34 AF Corse ORECA 03 and the #29 Pegasus Racing Morgan came together at the first corner. Stuart Hall is also running slowly in the #62 AF Corse Ferrari.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201514:34

14:33 SAFETY CAR. The Pegasus car has parked at the side of the track after being collected by the AF Corse ORECA at the start.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201514:35

14:31 Contact at the start – the #34 AF Corse ORECA 03 and the #29 Pegasus Racing Morgan came together at the first corner. Stuart Hall is also running slowly in the #62 AF Corse Ferrari.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201514:36

14:36 The front left side of Kirill Ladygin’s #34 AF Corse ORECA has taken severe damage.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201514:42

14:42 The safety car will be brought in this lap.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201514:44

14:43 GREEN FLAG. Albuquerque jumps past Hirsch heading into Vale to take the lead.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201514:44

14:44 Hirsch dives to the inside, retaking the lead from Albuquerque.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201514:45

14:44 Albuquerque is demoted to third as Pierre Thiriet (#46 Thiriet by TDS Racing ORECA 05) slips past.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201514:48

14:46 In LMP3 Charlie Robertson (#3 Team LNT) sweeps around the outside of Rob Garofall (#7 University of Bolton) to take second in class.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201514:49

14:49 JOTA Sport’s Filipe Albuquerque has been placed under the steward’s scrutiny for overtaking Gary Hirsch before the restart.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201514:51

14:50 Back in LMP2, Charlie Robertson is harrying Charlie Hollings (#11 Lanan Racing) for the class lead.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201514:52

14:51 Albuquerque passes Thiriet on the inside at Brooklands to take second place overall.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201514:53

14:53 Charlie Robertson passes Charlie Hollings for the LMP3 class lead. Mike Simpson is now chasing Hollings in the second Team LNT car.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201514:56

14:54 Gary Hirsch is approaching the GT backmarkers, while Albuquerque is closing in – he was a 1.2 seconds quicker last time around.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201514:58

14:56 The #60 Formula Racing Ferrari spins after misjudging a pass at Brooklands. Johnny Laursen at the wheel.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201515:00

After 12 laps we have a new leader. Filipe Albuquerque uses the traffic to scythe past Gary Hirsh. JOTA Sport leads Greaves.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201515:00

14:56 The #60 Formula Racing Ferrari spins after misjudging a pass at Brooklands. Johnny Laursen at the wheel.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201515:01

The BMW Team MarcVDS Z4 GTE of Henry Hassid has spun at the start of the lap. The Frenchman is able to continue.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201515:03

An exciting dice for fifth between the #33 Eurasia Motorsport ORECA of Nico Peter de Bruijn and the #40 Krohn Racing Ligier of Ozz Negri Jr. Despite starting last on the grid the Judd-powered Ligier is working steadily though the field.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201515:05

Filipe Albuquerque leads the race, with Gary Hirsch only 1.5 second behind the JOTA driver.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201515:06

Charlie Robertson still leads LMP3, and has now developed a five second lead over Mike Simpson in the sister car.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201515:08

Negri passes De Bruijn on the Hangar Straight to take the Krohn Racing Ligier into fifth position.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201515:09

CONTACT. The LMGTE class leading AF Corse Ferrari of Rui Aguas has entered the gravel at Abbey after contact with Negri in the Krohn Ligier.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201515:10

That means that Phil Keen (#86 Gulf Racing Porsche 911 RSR) has been promoted to the LMGTE class lead.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201515:11

The #2 Team LNT Ginetta of Mike Simpson pits earlier than expected. Fuel and tyres added.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201515:12

Battle for second in GTC. AF Corse’s Ilya Melnikov is being hounded by Daniel Brown in the Gulf Racing Lamborghini. Brown was a tenth quicker last time by.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201515:13

Brown takes a look on the Hangar Straight but has to tuck in before reaching the Stowe braking area.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201515:16

The #81 Ferrari that span out of the LMGTE lead has re-joined the track 9th in class.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201515:17

After a brief outing the #29 Pegasus Racing Morgan has returned back to the pits. Aguas has also brought the #81 Ferrari in.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201515:17

We’re approaching the pit window for the LMP2 cars.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201515:19

A slow lap for Albuquerque has brought Thiriet within passing range. Albuquerque was a second slower than normal last time around.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201515:20

The #48 Murphy Prototypes ORECA 03R of Michael Lyons receives a full service with no driver change.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201515:21

The JOTA Sport Gibson of Filipe Albuquerque heads into the pits.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201515:21

Rob Garofall brings the #7 University of Bolton Ginetta LMP3 in from third in class for a full service.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201515:24

Leader Pierre Thiriet brings the #46 ORECA 05 in from the lead after an impressive first stint. Fuel and tyres added. Fellow Frenchman Ludovic Badey takes over.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201515:25

This promotes Gary Hirsch to the lead, although the Greaves driver is expected to pit soon.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201515:28

Hirsch comes into the pits. The #41 car receives a full service and re-joins in second place, 22 seconds behind Albuquerque.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201515:33

AFTER ONE HOUR: Filipe Albuquerque (#38 JOTA Sport) leads the 4 Hours of Silverstone. Hirsch is second for Greaves, with Ludovic Badey just taking third place ahead of Nicolas Minassian in the #32 AF Corse ORECA.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201515:34

Minassian steals the apex away from Michael Lyons in the #48 Murphy Prototypes ORECA. Lyons responds with the international hand gesture of disapproval. They continue to dice for fourth.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201515:38

Hirsch is gradually eating away at Albuquerque’s lead. It’s now down to 19.4 seconds.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201515:41

Gaps to the leader: Gary Hirsch (+19.459), Ludovic Badey (+37.255), Nicolas Minassian (+40.683), Michael Lyons (+41.237), Oswaldo Negri Jr (+53.850)

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201515:42

Nicolas Minassian takes the inside line at Stowe, forcing Michael Lyons to go wide in the #48 Murphy ORECA.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201515:43

Alex Talkanitsa Jr pits the #56 AT Racing Ferrari from second in LMGTE.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201515:44

The gap between Albuquerque has been reduced to 18 seconds.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201515:46

In LMP3, Charlie Robertson still leads, 49 seconds ahead of Mike Simpson and 1 minute 17 seconds ahead of Petersen in the University of Bolton car.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201515:48

The lead gap has been further reduced by Hirsch. He is now 15.5 seconds behind race leader Albuquerque.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201515:53

Two AF Corse Ferraris collide and make contact with the barriers at Woodcote. Peter Mann (#51) and Stephen Wyatt (#81). Both drivers appear to be unharmed.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201515:55

The two Ferraris were avoiding the oncoming Greaves Motorsport Gibson of Gary Hirsch. Yellows at Woodcote although the safety car hasn’t been called.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201515:57

Change of position as Michael Lyons is surprised by Nicolas Minassian at Abbey. Lyons is forced wide and the Frenchman is able to move up into fourth.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201515:58

The gap between first and second has stabilised. Albuquerque is now 17 seconds ahead of Hirsch.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201516:00

Two seconds separate the leading pair in GTC. Casper Elgaard (#69 Massive Motorsport Aston Martin) is ahead of the #63 AF Corse Ferrari of Ilya Melnikov.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201516:01

Pit stop for race leader Filipe Albuquerque. The Portuguese driver gets out, with JOTA Sport team owner Simon Dolan taking over.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201516:03

Yellow flag still out as they clear the two AF Corse’s from Woodcote.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201516:06

Simon Dolan, fresh from jumping into the car, makes an ill-judged move on one of the GT cars heading into the loop

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201516:08

The #41 Greaves Motorsport machine current holds the lead by almost half a minute from the #46 Thiriet

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201516:09

But pit stops for the front two and third placed #40 Krohn Racing entry cannot be that far away.

Paul Hensby April 11, 201516:10

The JOTA Sport #38 is the leading car that has made their second stop.

Paul Hensby April 11, 201516:11

Charlie Robertson still leads in LMP3, but is set to hand over to Sir Chris Hoy in his next pit stop.

Paul Hensby April 11, 201516:12

Philip Keen and Gulf Racing UK currently lead LM GTE ahead of Sam Tordoff for JMW Motorsport

Paul Hensby April 11, 201516:13

Casper Elgaard leads GTC for Massive Motorsport, and enters the pits for his second stop of the afternoon.

Paul Hensby April 11, 201516:14

The #40 Krohn Racing entry hits pit lane for their second stop, and Oswaldo Negri Jr remains in the car for another stint.

Paul Hensby April 11, 201516:15

Charlie Robertson in P11 is more than a lap ahead of anyone else in the LMP3 class.

Paul Hensby April 11, 201516:16

The race leading Greaves Motorsport machine pits, having seen Gary Hirsch drive a strong stint, and the Swiss driver remains in the seat for another stint.

Paul Hensby April 11, 201516:17

Sir Chris Hoy has taken over the race leading LMP3 car from Charlie Robertson for his ELMS race debut.

Paul Hensby April 11, 201516:18

The #33 Eurasia Motorsport entry hits the pit lane from fourth position.

Paul Hensby April 11, 201516:19

Gary Hirsch looks to have snatched the lead during the pit stop cycle, with the Swiss driver more than five seconds clear of Simon Dolan.

Paul Hensby April 11, 201516:20

It is still a Gibson 1-2, with Oreca running 3-4-5.

Paul Hensby April 11, 201516:22

The #46 Thiriet by TDS Racing entry is slowly catching the lead pair, with Ludovic Badey more than two seconds faster than the leader on that last lap, and is now less than 20 seconds behind the lead.

Paul Hensby April 11, 201516:23

The #51 AF Corse has just been brought back into the paddock after its earlier crash. No news yet about what happened between it, the #81 AF Corse and one of the LMP2 leaders.

Paul Hensby April 11, 201516:24

The gap at the front is now almost nine seconds as the Greaves Motorsport gains two seconds on the JOTA on that lap, but the Thiriet was another 1.5 seconds faster!

Paul Hensby April 11, 201516:26

56 Laps now in the books, with the half distance now just over five minutes away!

Paul Hensby April 11, 201516:27

JOTA Sport lost another four seconds on that past lap, and is now only five clear of the Thiriet.

Paul Hensby April 11, 201516:28

The Gulf Racing UK entry has now lapped everyone but the second and third placed runners in the LM GTE class.

Paul Hensby April 11, 201516:30

A spin for the #44 Ibanez Racing of Yutaka Yamagishi into the loop. After spinning 180 degrees, he was able to get back going again; They are P9 in LMP2.

Paul Hensby April 11, 201516:31

The Thiriet entry seems to have made its play, and now is dropping away from JOTA once more. The gap is six seconds.

Paul Hensby April 11, 201516:33

After TWO Hours: Greaves Motorsport leads by 15.523s from JOTA Sport.  Chris Hoy leads LMP3, Philip Keen holds the advantage in LM GTE, and Dino Lunardi holds the GTC class lead

Paul Hensby April 11, 201516:38

Bjorn Wirdheim is currently behind the Greaves Motorsport entry, and is still setting quicker lap times than Simon Dolan in the JOTA Sport.

Paul Hensby April 11, 201516:40

The #2 Ginetta-Nissan of Michael Simpson just got spun around at the final corner by #33 Eurasia Motorsport entry but was able to keep going.

Paul Hensby April 11, 201516:42

The third-placed #46 Thiriet entry has just spun after touching the #7 University of Bolton entry but was able to keep going but lost over ten seconds to the JOTA Sport ahead of him.

Paul Hensby April 11, 201516:44

The #46 was trying to follow another car past the #7 at the end of the Wellington Straight, but the #7 resumed his line and put the #46 into a spin.

Paul Hensby April 11, 201516:46

Race leader Wirdheim now has a 22.675s lead over the field, with the 2003 International F3000 champion and F1 test driver with Jaguar back in the day over 1.5 seconds faster than Simon Dolan on that last lap.

Paul Hensby April 11, 201516:49

The LM GTE leader #88 Proton Competition entry is in the pits, and Khaled Al Qubaisi has taken over from Klaus Bachler.

Paul Hensby April 11, 201516:49

Cars going four wide down the Hanger Straight as drivers jostle for track position.

Paul Hensby April 11, 201516:52

The fourth placed LMP2 of the #32 AF Corse has pitted, but has dropped behind the Murphy Prototypes entry as a result, although the #48 has yet to make their third pit stop.

Paul Hensby April 11, 201516:52

The top three in LMP 2 are well clear of the rest of the field however.

Paul Hensby April 11, 201516:54

Sir Chris Hoy remains as leader of LMP3, and is setting competitive times in his ELMS debut.

Paul Hensby April 11, 201516:56

Simon Dolan enters the pit lane in the second placed #38 JOTA Sport entry, quick stop from the JOTA mechanics, comes out in third, but with the #46 Thiriet still to pit.

Paul Hensby April 11, 201517:00

90 Minutes to go, and the Greaves Motorsport machine still leads and continues to pull away but will be heading for pit lane shortly.

Paul Hensby April 11, 201517:01

The #63 AF Corse and the #68 Massive Motorsport cars have collided at the final corner.

Paul Hensby April 11, 201517:02

The #68 is stopped up against the wall, and the safety car has been deployed.

Paul Hensby April 11, 201517:03

Those who have yet to pit are making their way into pit road for what effectively will be a free pit stop.

Paul Hensby April 11, 201517:04

The leader Bjorn Wirdheim has pitted, purely for fuel.

Paul Hensby April 11, 201517:05

Replays show the #68 was getting out of the way of the race leading #41 Greaves Motorsport entry and was then collected by the #63. 

Paul Hensby April 11, 201517:10

The #68 has been pulled off the track by a tractor, with the race set to get back to green flag racing soon,

Paul Hensby April 11, 201517:11

The #41 and #38 are now nose-to-tail in the queue behind the safety car, with the Greaves Motorsport entry having seen its 20+ second lead disappear.

Paul Hensby April 11, 201517:12

1 Hour 20 minutes remaining, and the safety car has just made this race interesting, with the top four in LMP2 within 13 seconds of each other.

Paul Hensby April 11, 201517:18

Still waiting for the safety car to go in, with some cars still trying to catch up the pack.

Paul Hensby April 11, 201517:19

80 Laps now completed by the four lead LMP2 entries, the P5 Murphy Prototype is one lap down.

Paul Hensby April 11, 201517:20

Four of the Five LMP3 cars still running, which is amazing baring in mind how little running anyone has had in them so far.

Paul Hensby April 11, 201517:22

Safety car IN this lap…

Paul Hensby April 11, 201517:24

Green flag! The #41 Greaves Motorsport controls the restart perfectly.

Paul Hensby April 11, 201517:25

Daniel Brown from the #85 Gulf Racing Lamborghini has said in pit lane: “We’re struggling for straight line speed so we’re having to drive 110% through the corners to piece a lap together”.

Paul Hensby April 11, 201517:26

Brown also commented that the Dunlop Tyres can “just about stretch a double stint which isn’t too bad although on other circuits we might struggle”

Paul Hensby April 11, 201517:27

The #85 currently sits P3 in GTC

Paul Hensby April 11, 201517:28

The #32 car has been off at the road at Club but kept going.

Paul Hensby April 11, 201517:31

The #48 Murphy Prototypes has pulled off just passed Stowe corner, with Nathanael Berthon behind the wheel.  Looks like a mechanical failure.

Paul Hensby April 11, 201517:31

This promotes the #40 Krohn Racing entry into P5, albeit a lap behind those ahead of them.

Paul Hensby April 11, 201517:32

Jota Sport and Thiriet by TDS are nose to tail for P2 in LMP2.

Paul Hensby April 11, 201517:33

Simon Dolan still holding off Tristan Gommendy for P2, with Bjorn Wirdheim pulling away from the pair of them.

Paul Hensby April 11, 201517:35

Less than an hour of the race to go now, the #41 Greaves Motorsport leads by over eight seconds in LMP2, Sir Chris Hoy still leads LMP3, Michael Wainwright leads LM GTE, Eric Dermont leads GTC

Paul Hensby April 11, 201517:36

Gommendy passes Dolan at the end of the Wellington Straight and into Brooklands. Clean move and is now setting off for Wirdheim.

Paul Hensby April 11, 201517:36

News from the paddock that an unspecified electrical issue on Berthon’s Murphy’s Prototypes machine caused their retirement.

Paul Hensby April 11, 201517:38

Gommendy instantly cuts the lead gap by almost two seconds on his first lap from passing Dolan.

Paul Hensby April 11, 201517:41

The last set of pit stops will see Jon Lancaster take over the #41 Greaves Motorsports machine, while Harry Tincknell will take over the JOTA.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201517:43

Gommendy has a look going into Vale but Wirdheim shuts the door.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201517:45

LEAD CHANGE. Tristan Gommendy passes Wirdheim at the end of the lap. Thiriet by TDS Racing leads the 4 Hours of Silverstone.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201517:45

Lead change in LMGTE: Mike Wainwright (Gulf Racing Porsche) gets past George Richardson (JMW Motorsport Ferrari) in the Maggots/Becketts complex.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201517:46

Bjorn Wirdheim pits from second. Pole man Jon Lancaster takes over. We are still due a pit stop from Thiriet by TDS Racing.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201517:48

Simon Dolan brings the #38 JOTA Sport Gibson into the pits. Harry Tincknell takes over and will complete the race.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201517:49

Nicolas Minassian has told us that his first stint troubles were caused by a broken seat belt.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201517:54

A nervous moment as Tincknell gets held up by a GTC Ferrari in an attempt to squeeze past Lancaster. Both are through and continuing to hunt down Gommendy.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201517:58

Tincknell is upping the ante on Lancaster – two tenths separate the two young chargers.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201518:01

Pit stop for the leader. Tristan Gommendy brings the Thiriet by TDS ORECA 05 in for fuel and tyres.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201518:03

The #44 Ibanez Racing ORECA 03R of Michele La Rosa goes off at village and makes heavy contact with the barriers.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201518:04

Sir Chris Hoy makes his final pit stop. Gaetan Paletou inherits the lead for the #2 Team LNT crew.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201518:05

Gommendy has a 14 second advantage over Tincknell and Lancaster with 26 minutes to go.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201518:08

Tincknell gets into Lancaster’s slipstream along the Hangar Straight. The gap to Gommendy is down to seven seconds.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201518:12

Stop and go penalty for the #45 Ibanez Racing ORECA 03R for overtaking under safety car conditions (Pierre Perret).

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201518:12

Stop and go penalty for the #52 BMW Team MarcVDS Z4 GTE for overtaking under safety car conditions.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201518:15

The #32 AF Corse ORECA 03 of Maurizio Mediani makes contact with the barriers. The Italian driver was running fourth overall.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201518:16

Tincknell gets past Lancaster at Village after the Greaves driver was blocked by traffic. Less than four seconds exists between Tincknell and Gommendy.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201518:18

Gommendy has a 2.9 second lead over Tincknell. Lancaster is still in the mix, less than a second behind the JOTA Sport driver.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201518:19

Tincknell spins at Becketts! The JOTA Sport driver had just been passed by Lancaster when he struck the kerb and lost control.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201518:20

Harry Tincknell lost six seconds as a result of that spin. Gommendy is 1.8 seconds ahead of Lancaster, who is negotiating traffic.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201518:24

With seven minutes to go Lancaster is reeling Gommendy in. The gap is now down to 1.3 seconds.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201518:25

Gommendy goes defensive into Vale – Lancaster is right behind him!

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201518:27

GOMMENDY SPINS! Lancaster appeared to nudge Gommendy out of the way at Aintree, as the Frenchman turned into the apex. That’ll be one for the stewards.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201518:28

The incident has allowed Tincknell to catch up. The JOTA Sport driver is now half a second behind race leader Lancaster.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201518:30

Lancaster nearly gets wiped out as he scythes past the Gulf Racing Lamborghini at Copse.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201518:31

FINAL LAP.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201518:31

The leaders head past the national pits….Lancaster is ahead by 0.4 seconds.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201518:33

Jon Lancaster crosses the line and wins the 2015 4 Hours of Silverstone by three tenths of a second from JOTA Sport’s Harry Tincknell.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201518:34

Sir Chris Hoy and Charlie Robertson win the LMP3 class.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201518:36

In GTC the #59 Thiriet by TDS Racing BMW Z4 GT3 of Eric Dermont, Dino Lunardi and Franck Perera wins by two laps.

Daniel Lloyd April 11, 201519:03

Thank you for tuning in to The Checkered Flag’s live text coverage for the opening round of the 2015 European Le Mans Series. We’ll be back with more of the same tomorrow, as the FIA World Endurance Championship roars into life at Silverstone.