Mark Twomey: WEC Silverstone
September 9, 2012 by Mark Twomey
I woke Saturday morning to something of a rarity, a dry morning summer morning, so I decided to make the short trip to Silverstone. Seeing as I wasn’t racing myself in Kirkistown I had to get some sort of motorsport fix and when the pinnacle of GT sports car racing is only 40 min away it would be rude not to go. So I grabbed my camera and hit the road.
When I arrived at Silverstone the last free practice session for the World Endurance Cars was underway. My first glimpse of the cars was on the wellington straight. The variety of cars and their accompanying sound tracks was great. There was the diesel Audi’s with the distinctive turbo whine, grumbling Aston V8’s and screaming Ferrari V8’s. I then made my across the infield to catch the cars going through the maggots and beckets complex. The speed the cars could carry through there was amazing.
At the end of the session I made way further infield thinking that I’d come back the garages later in the day for a look around. Luckily for me I arrived down to the new garages where the WEC cars were running from. I also arrived down in time to get in for some of the pitlane walk. As I was halfway down the garages an announcement was made that the pits would soon be closing. I still hadn’t found the Murphy Prototypes garage to get a photo of one of the Irish teams. I found them just as the announcement was made to leave the pits. Just before I was about to leave the pits I said to one of the guys in the garage that it was great to see an Irish flag in the pits. Upon hearing the Irish accent I was told to come in and have a look around and to stay as long as I wanted.
Next up on the track was the Renault World Series race and they were setting up on the pitlane, this was a one off opportunity I wasn’t going anywhere. As the preparations got under way the clouds gathered over head. The Renault race started in the dry but soon the rain poured so pitstops were required. The redbull team were operating from out side the garage I was in and a few feet away Christian Horner looked on. When the time came to pit the there was a problem with one of the wheels and the you could see and hear the frustration of the driver. The race was red flagged after a 10 cars crashed. The rain stopped for the restart so I made my way back out to see the cars in action. With half the field gone and the track soaking the race was pretty strung out.
Following on from this was the Nissan accadamy race. I only watched the opening lap as I wanted to get back to the Murphy prototype garage for quali. Watching quali form a garage is only a matter of standing watching a screen. It doesn’t sound very exciting but the atmosphere is great. The tension was high as Brandon Hartley held first in class for 5 minutes but fell to fifth as last laps were completed.
Qualifying over it was time to start making the walk back to the car park. Out on track for the walk back was the Classic Enduarance Race. The bulk of the field is made up of Lolas (T70s, T292, T298s etc) and Chevrons (B16s, B21s, B36S), and they will do battle with BMW M1s, Ford GT40s, Matra 670s, Porsche 911s, 935s and 936s. It was great to see these cars being driven in anger. They were a great close to the day.