The FIA World Endurance Championship Silverstone 4 hours marked Goodyear’s sportscar racing comeback after 13 years away and all three teams that chose the latest Goodyear Eagle tyres showed promise for the future.
A storming start saw Anders Fjordbach challenge the lead LMP2 group in the High Class Racing entry, but after the dust settled on a frantic first three laps, it was Gabriel Aubry in the similar Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca who flew the Goodyear flag in a strong second place.
When early leader Giedo Van der Garde pitted, Aubry was able to capitalise on the consistency of the Goodyear tyres to stay out longer and snatch the lead before he pitted on lap 23. In sudden rainfall on lap 49, they took advantage of the pitstop to switch drivers, with Ho-Pin Tung taking the wheel of his native car in third place. Tung put the latest Goodyear intermediate tyres to the test, finding they had a wide operating window that allowed him to stay out on the drying track. For the final quarter of the race, Will Stevens piloted the Jackie Chan car and chased down the leaders, reducing a ninety-second gap to under a minute to take a solid fourth place on Goodyear’s return to racing.
Antonio Felix da Costa was the super sub of the Silverstone weekend. The DTM and Formula E star was called up at the last minute to drive the Goodyear-liveried Jota Sport Oreca. On race day he found himself with double the workload after teammate Anthony Davidson withdrew with a rib injury. His first stint was a charging one, forcing his way past the Celitar Oreca to secure 5th place at the 20-minute mark. However, when he handed over to his teammate Roberto Gonzalez, a brief electrical issue delayed the car by 40 seconds. A consistent stint from the Mexican kept the car in contention before a well-timed switch back to Goodyear slicks after the mid-race rain shower coincided with an opportunity to put Felix da Costa back into the distinctive blue and yellow car. The Portuguese gained some of the time lost earlier in the race on his way to fifth, after an epic battle with Stevens in the closing stages.
« The pace of the race shows the benefits of a tyre war. The battle at the front produced lap times that were over three seconds a lap faster than the 2018 race and all three cars used a mix of our A, C and intermediate tyres during the four hours. We are pleased to have returned in such a competitive arena and have shown strong pace as well as learning a lot for the future. It bodes well for the rest of the WEC season » said Ben Crawley, Director of Racing.
The next round of the FIA World Endurance Championship is at Fuji, Japan on 6th October.