The first round of the World Endurance Championship (WEC) saw the #7 Audi R18 e-tron quattro of Andre Lottere, Benoit Treluyer and Marcel Fassler take the chequered flag after battling with the #18 Porsche 919 Hybrid of Romain Dumas, Marc Lieb and Neel Jani to win the 6 Hours of Silverstone.
The Audi and Porsche, competing in the premier LMP1 category, were separated by just 4,61 seconds at the finish, despite the eventual winners having to endure an unplanned late stop for fuel, and a stop-go penalty for exceeding the track limits with. The Audi had more than a minute of grace over the chasing Porsche, mostly due to the searing pace of middle stint driver Lotterer and was in command of the race for the latter half.
Earlier on, Fassler and Jani were trading positions as the 919 Hybrid pulled away on the straights thanks to its extra grunt, while the Audi clearly had the advantage in the more complex sections of the UK circuit. Former F1 driver Mark Webber was also a threat in the initial stages of the race in the sister Porsche, but technical trouble retired the #17 919 Hybrid.
Despite having the pressure of the remaining Porsche chasing them down, Lotterer, Fassler and Treluyer held on to secure their ninth WEC victory.
The #1 Toyota TS040 Hybrid of Sebastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Anthony Davidson only held the lead as the pit strategies of the first two cars allowed, but was never really in contention for the win, especially after a late stop effectively put them on the remaining podium spot.
Their teammates, Mike Conway, Stephane Sarrazin and Alex Wurz were fourth, a lap behind. The #8 R18 e-tron of Lucas di Grassi, Loic Duval and Oliver Jarvis were four laps in arrears after an early stop to repair loose body panels and another to replace the nose later on in the race.
The LMP2 class saw a perfect 1-2 by the G-Drive team, with their Nissan-powered Ligiers. Sam Bird, Julien Canal and Roman Rusinov beat their teammates Gustavo Yacaman, Ricardo Gonzalez and Pipo Derani to the finish by two laps.
Gianmaria Bruni and Toni Vilander won the GTE Pro class in the #51 AF Corse Ferrari 458, while the #98 Aston Martin Vantage took top honours in the GTE Am category in the hands of Pedro Lamy, Paul Dalla Lana and Mathias Lauda.