Silverstone 6 Hours - The Speed Chills Preview

It was a long old wait, but after almost two months of WEC thumb-twiddling we’re finally nearing the fourth race of the World Endurance Championship, and what a race it promises to be. Because after jumping across America and Northern Europe for half a year, the fastest endurance series on the planet is once again returning to our fair island.


There’s something a bit special about motor racing in good old Blighty. It’s not just the fact that it’s our home race, or that we have pretty much the best racing heritage in history. When drivers are asked which tracks are their favourites, Silverstone almost always shares the top three with history-soaked Monaco and the underwear-soilingly quick Suzuka.

There’s a reason for this that goes further than the neck breaking forces around Maggots and Becketts, because what really makes Silverstone is all of us. In five days’ time tens of thousands of bonkers British racing aficionados are going to congregate in a featureless WWII airbase, before watching multi-million pound motors fly round (or off) a ribbon of tarmac loosely based on a series of straight runways.

We’ll bring our banners and our wellies, we’ll push other peoples’ campervans out of the muddy bits of car parks, we’ll break out the picnic rugs and ponchos, all to get the privilege of seeing some of the world’s fastest cars duking it out in the rain for points in an eight race championship. Really, we’re a bit silly.

But that’s a given. So what has the British leg of the WEC got to offer us this year? Well, for starters we’ve got a pint-sized rerun of the Audi vs. Toyota battle that promised so much at Le Mans before delivering so little; it remains to be seen whether the Japanese outfit can bring a legitimate challenge to the German endurance behemoths.


Their driver line-ups remain mostly unchanged, with the unstoppable Lotterer/Treluyer/Fassler in the #1 Audi e-tron and Wurz/Lapierre/Nakajima returning in the #7 Toyota Hybird. But the #2 Audi Ultra is a man down after the sad retirement of distinguished Dindo Capello, so ‘Mr. Le Mans’ Tom Kristensen will be attempting to rein in the brilliant yet increasingly erratic Allan McNish over 6 hours.

Most of the ‘best of the rest’ privateer LMP1 cars return from Le Mans, with the exception of Oak Racing and the embattled Pescarolo team. While Rebellion are fresh from a brilliant fourth place at the Circuit de la Sarthe, they can expect hot competition from the two British HPD Hondas of Strakka and JRM, whose drivers return hungry for a better result.

LMP2 again promises to be full of action, with a total of 15 teams signed up and ready to race. Ones to watch out for include the Oak Racing Morgan-Nissan piloted by the on-form team of Lahaye/Nicolet and Pla, fresh from victory in the ELMS race at Donington. The US Starworks Motorsports will be eager to recreate their hard-earned victory at the LM24, with Tom Kimber-Smith being replaced by French superstar Stephane Sarrazin.

If you’re still feeling patriotic after the Olympics LMP2 should be a good class to follow over the weekend, with the Brundles reprising their roles in the Greaves Zytek-Nissan, and our friend Nicolas Minassian joining Brit outfit JOTA along with local lads Sam Hancock and Simon Dolan.


The GTE Pro lot will also be providing us with some good entertainment with a straight six-way battle for supremacy, featuring the massed forces of four Ferrari 458s. AF Corse have brought both of their prancing ponies along with LM24 winners Fisichella and Bruni at the helm of their lead #51 car, but they could be challenged by the always-competitive Lieb/Lietz Felbermayer-Proton 911 and the resurgent factory Vantage V8 of Aston Martin Racing.

The troublesome GTE Am class should hopefully provide more of a racing spectacle than just being involved in high profile crashes, with nine competitors fighting it out for the chequered flag. Among these are the two highly successful Corvettes of Larbre competition as well as the usual bevy of 911s and 458s, and one of the two factory-backed Amateur versions of the V8 Vantage being driven by friend-of-Speed-Chills Stuart Hall and his mentor Roald Goethe.

Also returning to the GTE Am class is fan-favourite Krohn Racing in their lime green Ferrari 458, whose sensational third place at Le Mans indicates that they could be the dark horse here at Silverstone.

It’s almost like Le Mans is coming home; a continuation of the exhausting exhilaration provided by the planet’s favourite race. We’ll be seeing all of the same gladiators and machines, but in an arena that’s only a couple of miles from our doorstep; and all with the amazing atmosphere that Britain always magically manages to conjure up.

Of course, the 6 hour time limit of this race will make sure that we’ll see some surprises, so don’t expect the results sheet to look too much like it did back at the 24 hours. But we’re sure to see the same amount of joy, disappointment and despair at Silverstone, with action aplenty and eye-watering speed to get us back into the endurance mood. It’ll be good, you have the Speed Chills guarantee.