Thirty-three cars will make up the field for the 6 Hours of Silverstone, opening the 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship season on 12 April. All four categories are well represented on the grid but there will be just one winner of the Royal Automobile Club Tourist Trophy.
Who is in the running to take Toyota’s title? One thing’s for sure – it won’t be Rebellion Racing, who announced last month that they would miss the British round of the championship following a change of engine supplier. However it’s anyone’s guess who will take the honours from a wide-open field set to fight a closely-contested race in all classes (entry list).
In LM P1, Toyota Racing will be looking to defend not only the Tourist Trophy won last year but also the honour of being the current manufacturers’ World Endurance Champion. Audi meanwhile will be attempting to reclaim a trophy that Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer and Benoît Tréluyer – last year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans winners – were the last team to hold aloft for the marque. After announcing that the 2014 season would be very much a learning curve, Porsche is undoubtedly looking to build on the victory chalked up right at the end of the season to achieve greater things this time round. Expectations are also hotting up around Nissan, making its racing debut with the GT-R LM Nismo.
The LM P2 category, a little thin last year, has been beefed up to the largest class grid this season with no fewer than ten cars and six different manufacturers represented. Ligier, Honda, Alpine, Morgan EVO, Strakka Dome and Oreca will all be vying to take the class title won by Morgan at Silverstone last year.
The LM GTE Pro class does not boast the largest field but it is undisputably the most hotly contested. Ferrari, winner of the 2014 World Endurance Cup for GT Manufacturers, will be determined to seek revenge over Porsche, who claimed a double last year at Silverstone, while Aston Martin will also be looking to make a good impression on home soil.
The same three constructors will also be fighting for the LM GTE Am title, but with private teams and mostly amateur drivers, the most famous of which is undoubtedly Hollywood actor Patrick Dempsey.
The season’s opener always gives a few clues as to where the teams’ relative strengths and weaknesses lie even though success on British soil does not often have a bearing on who will drive to victory in Le Mans two months later, as the 24 Hours continues to be one of a kind.
In addition to the opening round of the FIA WEC season, Silverstone’s spectators will also have the opportunity to see the start of the European Le Mans Series season as well as three races in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship, a rung on the ladder towards Formula One for some of the world’s most talented up-and-coming drivers (Timetable).
Tickets are already on sale with day ticket prices ranging from £10 to £35, or a three-day ticket available for just £40, with free admission for children aged 15 or under. All tickets include parking, admission to the grandstands (no allocated seating) and access to the autograph session and the village.
Cécile Bonardel / ACO - Translated by David Goward