G-Drive Racing were the pace setters in both free practice sessions at Silverstone as the fifth round of the 2018 European Le Mans Series got underway on Friday.
Free Practice One
The trio of Roman Rusinov, Andrea Pizzitola and Jean-Eric Vergne took control of the opening session, with their #26 Oreca heading the #21 DragonSpeed Oreca by 0.246 seconds. It was Vergne who set the best time of the session with a 1:46.287, while Ben Hanley gave DragonSpeed their fastest time, with the #31 APR – Rebellion Racing Oreca third fastest.
Racing Engineering made it a quartet of Oreca’s at the front of the LMP2 field with their #24 entry, while the #22 Ligier from United Autosports placed fifth ahead of the leading Dallara entry from AVF by Adrian Valles.
United Autosports were fastest in LMP3 with the #3 of Matt Bell setting a time of 1:55.689, 0.496 seconds clear of the sister #2 car of Sean Rayhall, while the #7 Ecurie Ecosse/Nielsen Ligier of Alex Kapadia was third ahead the #6 360 Racing and #9 AT Racing Ligiers.
The faster non-Ligier was the #17 Ultimate Norma M 30 of Matthieu Lahaye, Jean-Baptiste Lahaye and Francois Heriau in eighth, 1.771 seconds off the fastest time of the session.
In LMGTE, the #86 Gulf Racing UK Porsche of Ben Barker set the pace with a time of 2:00.345, just over a tenth of a second ahead of the #77 Proton Competition Porsche, and just over half a second ahead of the leading Ferrari, which was the #66 entry from JMW Motorsport.
Free Practice Two
Vergne ensured G-Drive Racing again remained on top in the second session on Friday afternoon, with the Frenchman bettering his time from the morning session, ultimately setting a time of 1:45.490.
DragonSpeed were again second fastest, again with Hanley setting the #21’s best time, while the #47 Cetillar Villorba Corse Dallara of Felipe Nasr ending third fastest, 0.834 seconds down on Vergne’s best.
More than a second down on the pace in fourth was the #35 SMP Racing Dallara of Victor Shaitar and Matevos Isaakyan, with the #32 United Autosports trio of Will Owen, Hugo de Sadeleer and Wayne Boyd completing the top five.
360 Racing paced LMP3 with a best time of 1:57.179, set by Ross Kaiser, with the #2 United Autosports machine 0.295 seconds back in second ahead of the #9 AT Racing, with the #17 Ultimate fourth ahead of the #3 United Autosports Oreca.
The #88 Proton Competition Porsche of Matteo Cairoli was the pace setter in LMGTE with a time of 1:59.474, 0.152 seconds ahead of the #55 Spirit of Race Ferrari of Matt Griffin, with the #86 Gulf Racing UK Porsche this time third.