The FIA World Endurance Championship has returned to the track, with just over a month having passed since the last race at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Picking up from where they left off, Toyota Gazoo Racing led the way through the first practice session, whilst the Fords dominated in GT Pro.
Two red flags caused around 45-minutes of stoppage time during the hour-and-a-half session, which pushed the FIA to extend the session by fifteen minutes. The first of the red flags ran for around half an hour, as Bruno Senna had a big incident in his #1 Rebellion Racing LMP1 car at Copse.
The Brazilian climbed out of the car unaided, but was taken to the Silverstone medical centre for precautionary checks. It has since been announced by Rebellion that Senna has suffered a fracture to his ankle, and will take no further part in the race weekend. Details of the incident are, so far, unknown, but Andre Lotterer and Neel Jani will complete the rest of the 6 Hours of Silverstone as a duo.
The second red flag of the session was brought out for the #4 Bykolles Racing. The car came to a stop at The Loop and deposited oil on the track. It is expected to be back out on track for the second free practice session. Exactly what happened to the car has not been disclosed at the time of publishing.
Mike Conway‘s 1:39.916 remained as the time to beat during the first practice session, set just after the half hour red flag for the Senna crash. He kept the #7 Toyota 0.275 seconds clear of the sister car. The Rebellion duo claimed the best-of-the-rest spots just behind the Japanese team, with Gustavo Menezes fastest in the #3 1.207 seconds off for third.
Jenson Button was the fastest SMP Racing driver of the session, placing his #11 fifth with a 1:40.176. He was followed in the order by the sister SMP car, ahead of the DragonSpeed LMP1 entry and the #4 Bykolles.
Anthony Davidson was due to take his LMP2 debut in the first practice session at Silverstone, but due to the stoppage time and red flags he didn’t end up climbing into the cockpit. He will look to get some track action in the second free practise session that starts at 16:25 BST.
Leading the LMP2 class was ex-Audi Sport LMP1 driver, and current DTM driver for the manufacturer, Loic Duval in the #28 TDS Racing. He led Gabriel Aubry at the top of the LMP2 timing sheet by seven-tenths, with current class leaders #36 Signatech Alpine rounding off the top three in class.
Even after the early BoP shift for the GT cars ahead of this weekend’s race, advantage was still with Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK as they secured the top two spots in the GT Pro class at the end of the session. Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell had been leading the class, but just after the first red flag period Olivier Pla set a 1:57.166 to put the #66 Ford ahead of the British duo by six-tenths of a second.
The GT Pro order remained much the same as it has been for the beginning of the season, with AF Corse managing to get the #51 between the two Porsche GT Team cars for fourth, whilst Aston Martin Racing and BMW Team MTEK propped up the rear of the class.
Porsche managed to hold their advantage in the GT Am class, locking out the top three positions by the chequered flag. Matteo Cairoli set the pace in the #88 Dempsey-Proton Racing with a 1:59.418, with the sister Dempsey Porsche taking second ahead of the Gulf Racing #86.