Jota Sport kicked off the 2013 European Le Mans Series (ELMS) in style, with Simon Dolan and Oliver Turvey claiming victory at their home event, the Silverstone 3 Hours.
Despite its name, however, the race was red flagged after two hours and fifteen minutes, following a long safety car period due to terrible weather conditions at the Northamptonshire circuit.
The race began with the Signatech Alpine machine of Nelson Panciatici leading the pack as dark clouds gathered above the circuit. Before long rain tyres were the required choice, resulting in a mad dash to the pits for the cars starting on slicks.
Brendon Hartley was the first to make the most of the wet conditions, pulling out a lead before a mistake a Stowe ended with his Murphy Prototype Oreca beached in the gravel. Franck Mailleux inherited the lead in his Morand Racing Morgan, before aquaplaning off the circuit and making heavy contact with the barrier.
“This has been a great first weekend in LMP2 and the European Le Mans Series with pole and the race win, which came in really tricky conditions,” said Turvey. “We started on slicks which made the first lap extremely challenging, but after slipping to seventh I was able to work my way back up. The team played a big part in this as they did a great job and allowed me to feel very confident in the car all weekend. Overall it’s been the perfect way to start the season and I’m already looking forward to the next race.”
TDS Racing found themselves in the lead at the halfway stage before the safety car was deployed due to the ever worsening conditions. The safety car stayed out for almost 50 minutes with the order shuffling around as cars had to make their pit stops. Jota Sport came out best under the safety car, winning the race ahead of the Race Performance and Thiriet By TDS Racing Orecas.
The LMPC class was dominated by Team Endurance Challenge, finishing first and second in a ballet of spinning cars which ended many LMPC teams’ races prematurely.
Victory in the LMGTE class went to Nick Tandy, Gianluca Roda and Christian Ried in the Proton Competition Porsche 911 GT3 RSR in a race where almost every GT car suffered at least one spin, aquaplaning off the rivers running across the Silverstone track.
The GTC class saw a strong display from the Ecurie Ecosse BMW Z4 of Ollie Millroy, Andrew Smith and Alasdair McCraig, finishing nearly a lap ahead of the only other finisher in class, the #62 AF Corse Ferrari F458 Italia.