Toyota Back On Top in Second WEC Practice

by Alice Holloway
Toyota Gazoo Racing on track at Silverstone for the four hour WEC event, 2019

Toyota Gazoo Racing led the way at Silverstone for the second practice session of the FIA World Endurance Championship, locking out the front row.

Kamui Kobayashi set the pace of the session with a 1:36.847, the only driver to break into the 1m36s lap time today. This time sits around two seconds faster than the best practice time set at the 2018 rendition of the race, with the new grippier, smoother tarmac playing its part in the additional speed being found by all out on track.

Sebastien Bumei was unable to set a time as fast as Kobayashi in the sister car, falling short by eight tenths of a second. He remained showing the representative speed to the non-hybrid LMP1 cars as Gustavo Menezes was only two tenths off the Swiss-driver’s time in the #1 Rebellion Racing.

The rest of the cars came two-by-two in the LMP1 class, with the #3 Rebellion in the hands of Loic Duval leading the two Team LNT‘s across the line. The #5 Ginetta, which suffered from gear shift issues in this morning’s practice, was able to get more laps completed this session, but still only completed around a third of the laps the sister car did. It has been assumed that issues still remain for the #5 and hopefully the team can fix before qualifying tomorrow.

United Autosports led the way in LMP2 once again, with Paul Di Resta topping the time sheets with his 1:43.059. This was enough to keep the American team two hundredths of a second ahead of the second-placed #33 High Class Racing. The two cars use different tyres, with United Autosports running Michelins and High Class using the new Goodyears, giving the first competitive comparison of the two compounds.

Only three teams are running Goodyear tyres this season (High Class Racing, Jackie Chan DC Racing and JOTA Sport) and with LMP2 as the only class with tyre options, this is the only place a tyre war could take place. It will be interesting to see how the two different compounds perform during the four-hour race on Sunday.

AF Corse on track at Silverstone for the four hour WEC event, 2019
Credit: Race Photography

Ferrari were back on top of the game, stealing the fastest lap of the session with the #51. They had looked to be in a position to claim a one-two at the end of the session, but the Porsche GT Team #91 was the one, again, to change the result in the dying moments of the session.

Richard Lietz jumped to P2 in class by three tenths of a second, but missed stealing the fastest lap from Ferrari’s Alessandro Pier-Guidi by about a tenth of a second. Pier-Guidi set a timesheet topping 1:55.501.

The two Aston Martins were at the bottom of the Pro grid, with the Dane-Train of Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen beating Alex Lynn and Maxime Martin by 0.3s. However, the whole Pro grid was covered by seven tenths, showing that there is a competitive pace in this class and no team should be written off yet.

Ross Gunn set a strong lap time in the Am works Aston Martin Racing #98, leading the class with a 1:56.463, and only two tenths off the lap time of Lynn and Martin’s #97. Once again, both Aston Martins filled the top two in class, with the #83 AF Corse Am car missing out on P2 in class by 0.04 seconds.

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