Image credit: SportsCarGlobal.
In what was a chaotic race, G-Drive and the #Mighty38 drove a text book race to win the first race of the 2016 European Le Mans Series at Silverstone with a one lap advantage.
The race started in damp conditions following snow early in the day with incidents before some had even crossed the line; the #19 Duqueine engineering Ligier P3 spinning on the exit from Club causing the #15 RLR Motorsport spin as well. Two cars in front the #29 Pegasus Racing Morgan Nissan spun into the concrete wall in front of the International Pitlane and a few laps later the #46 Thiriet by TDS Racing Oreca 05, which is understood to have suffered a stuck throttle, found a resting place deep in the gravel at Luffield, allowing Harry Tinknell to ease into a lead the G-Drive/Jota team would rarely relinquish.
Another debtant team, Panis Barthez Competition showed well with both Ligiers and former French international goalkeeper Fabien Barthez leading the race by 15s from Simon Dolan at one point, however, various ‘offs’ for the #16 and a technical retirement for the #23 ended the dreams of a first podium for the French team.
As the rain started to fall again Dolan handed over the lead to Giedo Van Der Garde who set-to increasing the G-Drive Racing Gibson’s lead to the sometimes shocked looks of his team mates, Tincknell and Dolan. As the flag fell the #Mighty38 finished in a time of 4h 01:45.391, nearly 2 minutes ahead of the second place SMP Racing #32 BR01 of Coletti, Covelli & Wirth, who were all making their sportscar debut.
New team So24! By Lombard Racing closed out the podium in third place – a remarkable effort for team that had no car, no drivers and no factory just four months earlier!
In LMP3, United Autosports took a 1,2 in their first race with the #2 & #3 cars taking first and second respectively and the Graff Racing #9 Ligier rounding out the podium.
In GTE, JMW Motorsport took overall victory in the yellow 458 Italia but were subsequently excluded for an non-homologated front splitter following a post race technical inspection. This pushed the #99 Beechdean Aston Martin Vantage V8 of Andrew Howard, Darren Turner and Alex McDowell into first place.
Following a final turn incident which saw contact between the #96 Aston of Richie Stanaway and the #56 458 Italia of AT Racing, Stanaway crossed the line on three wheels with the Ferrari punted off the track just before the finish line. However, following a steward’s enquiry as the accident happened on the final corner and the winner had crossed the line, the final corner places were upheld and the AT Racing Ferrari was classified second and Stanaway’s Vantage took the final spot on the podium.
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