Image credit: FIAWEC.
A strong 33 car grid will line up at Silverstone for round 1 of the 2015 World Endurance Championship on Sunday 12 April, the first race where world champions Toyota will begin the defence of their title against Audi, Porsche and Nissan. Aston Martin will once again start their WEC campaign at home as they endeavour to wrest the GT World Cup for Manufacturers away from three time winners Ferrari and also fend off the challenge of Porsche.
The overall winners of the 6 Hours of Silverstone will also receive the Royal Automobile Club Tourist Trophy, which this year celebrates the 110th anniversary of the first TT on the Isle of Man in 1905. There are no less than six former Tourist Trophy winners on the grid, including last year’s winners Anthony Davidson and Sebastien Buemi.
There is plenty of British interest throughout the grid for the fans at Silverstone to cheer with 6 cars and 17 drivers racing under the Union Jack.
There will be nine LMP1 entries for the opening race of 2015. 2014 World Champion Anthony Davidson will start his 2015 campaign on home soil and he will be joined in the no1 Toyota TS040 by fellow champion Sebastien Buemi and race winner Kazuki Nakajima.
There are five other British drivers in LMP1. Mike Conway will be racing the no2 Toyota in all eight WEC races in 2015. Oliver Jarvis has been called up by Audi tofill the race boots of Mr Le Mans, Tom Kristensen, in the no8 R18 e-tron quattro. Nissan have three British drivers in their two car line up with Jann Mardenborough and Max Chilton in the no23 GT-R LM NISMO and Harry Tincknell in the no22 car.
Porsche have a completely unchanged driver line up in 2015, the only thing that has changed is the numbers on the cars, with 17 and 18 on the two 919 Hybrids. Mark Webber will race the no17 car as the UK based Australian star starts his 2015 campaign at Silverstone alongside New Zealander Brendon Hartley, who is also based in the UK, and Germany’s Timo Bernhard.
The sole privateer entry for Silverstone will be the Team Bykolles CLM P1/01 AER with Swiss driver Simon Trummer the only named driver at this point.
LMP2 returns in 2015 with the largest class grid, with 10 cars entered for the 6 Hours of Silverstone representing six different manufacturers. All British team Strakka Racing finally get to run the Nissan powered Strakka Dome S103 in the WEC, with Nick Leventis, Danny Watts and Jonny Kane looking forward to the challenge ahead.
Race winners KCMG also have an all British driver line up of Richard Bradley, Matt Howson and Nick Tandy, who will be racing the brand new closed cockpit Oreca 05-Nissan.
G-Drive Racing return in 2015 with two cars, the Russian team entering a pair of the highly successful Nissan powered Ligier JS P2s. Race winners Roman Rusinov and Julien Canal are joined in the no26 car by Britain’s Sam Bird.
American team Extreme Speed Motorsports have confirmed their two car entry with Scotland’s Ryan Dalziel joining Scott Sharp and David Heinemeier Hansson in the new Tequila Patron sponsored no30 HPD ARX 04B – Honda.
The European Le Mans Series has provided some strong LMP2 competitors and this year reigning ELMS Champions Signatech Alpine will join the WEC with the Alpine A450B-Nissan. Team Morand also was a front running team in the 2014 ELMS and the Swiss team has joined forces with SARD Racing from Japan to form Team SARD Morand and Britain’s 2014 ELMS Driver’s Champion Oliver Webb will race the no43 Morgan.
In LMGTE Pro three times manufacturers champion Ferrari will once again face stiff opposition from Porsche and Aston Martin. 2014 Driver Champions Gianmaria Bruni and Toni Vilander will team up to defend their world title in the no51 AF Corse 458, while Britain’s James Calado will compete in the no71 AF Corse Ferrari with Davide Rigon.
In the no92 Porsche Team Manthey 911 RSR race winners Patrick Pilet and Fred Makowiecki will once again attempt to break the Ferrari strangle hold on the world title and they will be joined in the no91 911 by the highly experienced Richard Lietz, with Denmark’s Michael Christensen making his WEC debut at Silverstone.
The Aston Martin LMGTE Pro challenge has swelled to three cars in 2015, with the reigning LMGTE Am champions in the no95 Young Driver Vantage V8 moving up to the Pro class. Single seater ace Marco Sorensen is the lead driver in the all Danish entry for the British manufacturer. The no97 Aston Martin will start where it left off in 2014 with Darren Turner returning to continue the challenge.
In the LMGTE Am class 2015 marks the return of Chevrolet to challenge Ferrari, Aston Martin and Porsche with 2012 LMGTE Am Team Champions Larbre Competition running a single Corvette C7.
American actor Patrick Dempsey finally fulfils his dream of racing on the world stage in the no77 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR.
Aston Martin Racing will run a further two Vantage V8s, with Roald Goethe and Paul Dalla Lana heading the driver line ups in the no96 and no98 cars respectively.
Gerard Neveu, CEO of the World Endurance Championship, said, “With so much endurance racing history, Silverstone is a fantastic venue to start the 2015 WEC season. With a strong grid of 33 cars there is going to be some great racing during the 6 Hours of Silverstone. It will be very hard to predict the winners of the opening round of the year. All eyes will be British World Champion Anthony Davidson as he begins his title defence at home but there are 16 other local drivers through the grid for the British fans to cheer for. We look forward to seeing who will add their names to the 110 year old Tourist Trophy on Sunday 12 April and take the early lead in the race towards the 2015 world title.”