FIA WEC

ELMS: Greaves Leads Gibson 1-2 At Silverstone

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It is time to add Greaves Motorsport to the serious contenders list for the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans’ LMP2 division. It makes perfect sense since this squad has won there in the past, but over the past two years the team had begun to fade toward mid-pack status among the LMP2 prototype regulars at both Le Mans and in the European Le Mans Series. Based on their efforts Saturday afternoon in the Four Hours of Silverstone, the season opening round of the 2015 ELMS championship, it appears the British-based squad is back to its former self. The event showed that the upgraded Gibson (formerly Zytek) O15S provides hope for at least one more season of victory contention among the traditionalists and old guard of sports car racing who do not want to see the open top, spyder format of prototype crumble under the increased number of coupe styled cars that have increased in popularity throughout the globe.

Although Gibson is expected to join the coupe club for the 2016 campaign, the car that they now offer, coupled with a Nissan V-8 turbo is capable of success. In addition to sweeping the front row in qualifying on Saturday morning, Jota Sport would follow Greaves to the flag to secure a 1-2 race result for the re-badged challenger. Although this Battle of England fell to the spyders, the closed top coupes showed Saturday afternoon in Silverstone that are getting closer to taking over. Thiriet by TDS Racing, who was second fastest in the Spring Training tests two weeks ago in France, rounded out the podium in their debut effort with their ORECA 05 coupe.

Also managing a solid run on Saturday was the American-based Krohn Racing Ligier coupe, coupled with Judd V-8 power. Tracy Krohn, Nic Jonsson, and Oswaldo Negri, Jr. They drove a clean race from start to finish to claim a fourth place finish in their first prototype effort on the European continent. The lime green and blue liveried entry was not expected to feature greatly in England this weekend, since the team had to lease another car from a competing squad to participate in Spring Training at Paul Ricard due to the test taking place less than a week after the 12 Hours of Sebring in Florida. Eurasia Motorsport also provided a surprise by rounding out the first five with their ORECA 03R open top, impressive for a team that is not contesting the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.

History was made at Silverstone Saturday, as the newest sports car division LMP3 made its long awaited debut in the ELMS opener. Netherlands-based Team LNT, who has had the most track time with the new form of race car, dominated the proceedings on Saturday going 1-2 in qualifying with their Nissan-powered Ginettas and going on to an easy victory in the four hour timed distance that followed, also sweeping the top two finishing positions. The University of Bolton squad rounded out the class podium.

Still hopeful of a promotion from the Le Mans reserves list to the official entry list, Gulf Racing UK showed its potential Saturday by claiming victory in a highly competitive battle in the GT Endurance division with their customer Porsche 911 RSR. AF Corse, who is entering cars in both the ELMS and FIA World Endurance Championship events at Silverstone this weekend, would claim runner-up honors on the day with a Ferrari 458 Italia, while Team VDS Racing placed their BMW Z4 GTE in the top three, despite facing a speed disadvantage when compared to most of their GTE rivals.

Finally in GT Challenge, TDS Racing claimed a class win to go next to its podium run in the overall battle, entering a BMW Z4. AF Corse would also settle for second place here likewise with one of their two Ferrari 458 GT3s that were entered in the ELMS opener.

Stay tuned to Rubbings Racing for a recap of qualifying for Sunday’s Six Hours of Silverstone FIA WEC event.

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About Matt Embury

Matt Embury is the Senior SportsCar Writer at Rubbings Racing and can be followed on Twitter (@MattEmbury) for the latest sports car news and opinions. A native of Mishawaka, Indiana, he has been following sports car racing for nearly 20 years.

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