The checkered flag has been waved at the Total 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps! Check out this video and photos to find out what happened at the first round of the 2018-2019 Super Season of the World Endurance Championship (FIA WEC).
At qualifying for the Total 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, the #8 Toyota TS050 Hybird took the pole in LMP1. In the LMP2 class, Signatech Alpine's Alpine A470-Gibson clinched pole position; in LMGTE Pro, the #67 Ford GT took the pole; and in the LMGTE Am class, the Dempsey-Proton Racing team's two Porches 911 RSRs started from the top two spots.
The safety car deployed early on after an incident for Gulf Racing's #86 Porsche.
Relive the start on-board Porsche GT Team's #91 Porsche 911 driven by Gianmaria Bruni.
The first refueling for the lead car, the #8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid, took place at the end of the 17th lap, and the #1 Rebellion R13-Gibson followed suit. The #8 Toyota opted for a high downforce aerodynamic kit whereas the #7 went with the kit the two TS050 Hybrids will use at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Signatech Alpine Matmut's Alpine A470-Gibson, pole-sitter in the LMP2 class, incurred a penalty for non-compliance with the start instructions. Nicolas Lapierre completed a drive-through and gave the wheel of the Alpine to Pierre Thiriet 45 minutes into the race.
One hour into the race, Toyota Gazoo Racing's #8 Toyota TS050 shared by Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Fernando Alonso was in the lead, trailed by the #1 Rebellion R13-Gibson and the #3 sister car.
The LMP2 was dominated by Racing Team Nederland's #29 Dallara P217-Gibson ahead of DragonSpeed's #31 ORECA 07-Gibson and Jackie Chan DC Racing's #38 ORECA 07-Gibson.
In LMGTE Pro, the #66 Ford GT led the #91 and #92 Porsche 911 RSRs; and in LMGTE Am, the #98 Aston Martin Vantage held the lead.
The #67 Ford GT driven by Harry Tincknell fell victim to a stunning incident at the Raidillon de l'Eau Rouge. The British driver was unharmed but race direction immediately deployed the safety car.
Tony Kanaan's reaction to his teammate Harry Tincknell's incident: "We don't know what happened. Harry had new tires. He's ok. The Ford GT is a very safe car."
Racing Team Nederland's #29 Dallara P217-Gibson, leader in the LMP2 class since the start, made a pit stop as the car was experiencing alternator and battery troubles. Jackie Chan DC Racing's #37 ORECA 07-Gibson snatched the lead. Dutch driver Giedo Van Der Garde was unable to hide his disappointment.
Fernando Alonso took the wheel of the #8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid leading the race. The Spanish driver is doing his first laps in race conditions in the World Endurance Championship (FIA WEC). He will participate in the 24 Hours of Le Mans with TOYOTA GAZOO Racing.
3:03 p.m. local time: after 25 minutes of neutralization, the safety car returned to pit lane and the race resumed.
The Rebellion Racing team's new Rebellion R13-Gibsons held second and third positions 15 seconds behind the #8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid. The team cheered on its drivers on social media and made sure to point out their zebra-striped coveralls. The Swiss outfit has a good sense of humor!
In LMGTE Pro, the #91 Porsche 911 RSR #91 was leading the race as its #92 sister car was in third position. The top three in the class were all within two seconds of one another!
Two hours into the race, the top remained the same. The #8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid led the #1 and #3 Rebellion R13-Gibsons. In LMP2, G-Drive Racing's #26 ORECA 07-Gibson took the lead ahead of Jackie Chan DC Racing's #38 and #37 ORECA 07-Gibsons.
In the LMGTE Pro class, the battle was on between the #91 Porsche 911 RSR, the #66 Ford GT and the #92 911 RSR. The LMGTE Am class was dominated by TF Sport's #90 Aston Martin Vantage.
The Dempsey-Proton Racing experienced some troubles as the #77 Porsche 911 RSR, third in LMGTE Am, returned to its pit with a fuel problem and the #88 driven by Giorgio Roda had an incident at the Fagnes turn. Fortunately, the Italian driver emerged unscathed.
Here is a look back at the first moments of the Total 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, the first round of the 2018-2019 World Endurance Championship (FIA WEC) Super Season.
Stéphane Sarrazin, driver of Russian team SMP Racing's #17 BR Engineering BR1-AER, admitted: "We are currently fourth. It's difficult because the wear on our tires is getting worse as we gain ground during each stint. So we have to managed that. Our strategy is good, the car is running well. It's really a new challenge for us."
The other BR Engineering BR1-AER, the #11, was in eighth position.
The battle continued in LMGTE Pro as the #66 Ford GT driven by Billy Johnson overtook the #92 Porsche 911 RSR of Michael Christensen and slipped into second position in the class.
The Total 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps marked the debut of BMW Team Mtek's two BMW M8 GTE in the World Endurance Championship (FIA WEC). The #82 was in sixth position in the LMGTE Pro class and the #81 was ninth.
Great slow motion pictures of the Rebellion Racing team's two Rebellion R13-Gibsons in second and third positions overall. Remember, this non-hybrid LMP1 was built in six months by ORECA. The #1 was driven by Neel Jani, André Lotterer and Bruno Senna as Mathias Beche, Thomas Laurent and Gustavo Menezes shared the #3.
At mid-race, the #8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid was still leading the Total 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps ahead of the #1 Rebellion R13-Gibson. The other Toyota TS050 Hybrid, the #7, slipped into third position after leaving pit lane. The LMP2 class was dominated by G-Drive Racing's #26 ORECA 07-Gibson.
In LMGTE Pro, the #91 Porsche 911 RSR led the #66 Ford GT and the #92 Porsche 911 RSR. The #98 Aston Martin Vantage of Aston Martin Racing led the LMGTE Am class ahead of another Aston Martin Vantage, the #90 fielded by the TF Sport team. MR Racing's #70 Ferrari 488 GTE rounded out the top 3.
Fernando Alonso certainly enjoys driving the #8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid he shared with Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima. He describes his two stints to the pit reporter for the FIA WEC.
A great look for the #98 Aston Martin Vantage driven by Paul Dalla Lana, leader in the LMGTE Am class.
According to TOYOTA GAZOO Racing, the amount of energy recuperated by the TS050 Hybirds after three hours of racing could power a hair dryer for 144 hours or for two years if used 10 minutes a day.
After losing time early in the race due to a defective alternator, Racing Team Nederland's #29 Dallara P217-Gibson fell in the overall standings to 33rd position with a gearbox problem.
Four hours into the race, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing's two Toyota TS050 Hybrids held the top two spots in the overall standings, with the #7 trailing the #8. The #3 Rebellion R13-Gibson rounded out the top three. In LMP2, G-Drive Racing's #26 ORECA 07-Gibson held the lead ahead of the #36 Alpine A470-Gibson and Jackie Chan DC Racing's #37 ORECA 07-Gibson.
No change in the LMGTE Pro class with the #91 Porsche 911 RSR still in the lead ahead of the #66 Ford GT and the #92 911 RSR. The #98 Aston Martin Vantage of Aston Martin Racing held the top spot in LMGTE Am.
There was quite a battle between Jackie Chan DC Racing's two ORECA 07-Gibson's for third position in the LMP2 class.
A collision occurred in pit lane between AF Corse's #51 Ferrari 488 GTE EVO and Team Project 1's #56 Porsche 911 RSR. The mechanics took the Ferrari back to its pit with damage to its front left suspension.
Stints and refuelings continued flawlessly for the #90 Aston Martin Vantage fielded by British team TF Sport. The car driven by Salih Yoluc, Euan Alers-Hankey and Charles Eastwood was in 24th position overall but more importantly in second in the LMGTE Am class.
Things heated up on the track between Matevos Isaakyan (#17 BR Engineering BR1-AER) and Thomas Laurent (#3 Rebellion R13-Gibson), fighting for third position overall. Isaakyan seemed to have the advantage.
Thomas Laurent took advantage of traffic to overtake Matevos Isaakyan and slip his #3 Rebellion R13-Gibson into third position.
One hour and 10 minutes from the checkered flag, Fernando Alonso once again took the wheel of the #8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid. Will the rookie endurance driver win his very first race in the discipline?
As the fifth hour came to an end, the safety car was deployed in the wake of a violent incident for the #17 BR Engineering BR1-AER driven by Matevos Isaakyan at the Raidillon de l'Eau Rouge. The car was severely damaged. Stéphane Sarrazin, Isaakyan's teammate, explained: "We don't know what happened. Matevos is fine but the car was destroyed and so our race is over. It's a shame because we were a contender for the third step on the podium which was great for the team."
The competitors of the Total 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps went into the final hour of the race with the #8 Toyota TS050 Hybird shared by Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Fernando Alonso still in the lead. The #7 TS050 Hybrid held second position ahead of the #3 Rebellion R13-Gibson. Status quo in the LMP2 class with G-Drive Racing's #26 ORECA 07-Gibson leading the #36 Alpine A470-Gibson and Jackie Chan DC Racing's #38 ORECA 07-Gibson.
The LMGTE Pro was still dominated by the #91 Porsche 911 RSR driven by Gianmaria Bruni at the time. It led the #66 Ford GT and the #92 Porsche 911 RSR. In LMGTE Am, Aston Martin dominated with the #98 Aston Martin Vantage leading TF Sport's #90. Clearwater Racing's #61 Ferrari 488 GTE rounded out the top three.
The #66 Ford GT took the lead in the LMGTE Pro class thanks to an exquisite overtaking of Richard Lietz by Olivier Pla.
Check out this on-board video of the #8 Toyota TS050 driven by Fernando Alonso.
In LMGTE Am, the #98 and #90 Aston Martin Vantages are neck and neck. First place in the class is up for grabs.
The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing engineers warned Fernando Alonso (#8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid) the temp of the gearbox was increasing significantly, with only 12 minutes left in the race. Will the car make it to the finish line?
Meanwhile the battle raged on between the #98 and #90 Aston Martin Vantages in the LMGTE Am class.
Side by side! Davide Rigon (#71 Ferrari) pushes Richard Lietz (#91 Porsche) from third position in the LMGTE Pro class.
Checkered flag! The #8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid driven by Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Fernando Alonso wins the Total 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, the opening round of the World Endurance Championship (FIA WEC), finishing ahead of the #7 TS050 Hybrid and Rebellion Racing's R13-Gibson. For its first race, this new car claimed a podium finish thanks to an impressive performance.
In the LMP2 class, victory went to G-Drive Racing's #26 ORECA 07-Gibson.
Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK's #66 Ford GT won the LMGTE Pro class.
In LMGTE Am, Aston Martin Racing's #98 Aston Martin Vantage reached the top step on the class podium.
The competitors of the World Endurance Championship (FIA WEC) will now focus their attention on the upcoming 24 Hours of Le Mans set to take place on June 16th and 17th after Test Day on Sunday, June 3rd.
PHOTO (Copyright - Pascal Saivet/MPS Agency): The competitors of the World Endurance Championship (FIA WEC) at the start of the Total 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps.