Apr 20, 2014, 1:58 PM EDT
A heavy rain shower at Silverstone ended the 2014 World Endurance Championship season opener almost half an hour early with the two Toyota TS040 Hybrids claiming a 1-2 finish.
The No. 8 Toyota of Sebastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson, and Nicolas Lapierre won the Six Hours of Silverstone by a one-lap margin over the No. 7 of Alex Wurz, Stephane Sarrazin, and Kazuki Nakajima.
Porsche also earned a podium finish in its comeback to top-tier sports car racing, earning a third-place result with its No. 20 919 Hybrid driven by Mark Webber, Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley. The No. 20 finished two laps off the pace.
The turning point of the race came in the opening hour. As light rain began to fall, Wurz brought the No. 7 in for service and went on the wet tires, while Buemi in the No. 8 got the intermediate tires.
The inters ultimately allowed Buemi to take control of the lead from Wurz, who spun out and pitted again shortly afterwards.
Meanwhile, both of Audi’s R18 e-tron quattros were forced to leave the race early. Lucas di Grassi crashed the No. 1 Audi in the opening hour, and the team was unable to get it back on the track due to terminal chassis damage.
Then, later in the running, Benoit Treluyer lost control at the Copse corner and wrecked the No. 2 Audi. The Frenchman tried to get the damaged car back to the pits, but was forced to abandon it in the end.
Porsche’s second car, the No. 14, also failed to make the finish. Neel Jani entered the pits after losing the left front wheel on his 919 Hybrid, but after repairs, he was forced to go back with a hydraulic problem that would end the day for that team.
In P2, the No. 26 G-Drive Morgan/Nissan was victorious after a mid-race fight with the No. 47 KCMG Oreca that ended when the latter suffered a 10-second stop and go penalty for speeding on pit road. Olivier Pla ultimately took the No. 26 to a two-lap win over the No. 47.
GTE-Pro honors went to the No. 92 Team Manthey Porsche 911 RSR (Frederic Makowiecki, Marco Holzer and Richard Lietz), which defeated its sister car, the No. 91, for the win.
Aston Martin’s No. 97 finished third in that category, but claimed a 1-2 finish in GTE-Am. The No. 95 Vantage V8 of Kurt Thiim, Kristian Poulsen and David Heinemeier Hansson earned first, while the runner-up went to the No. 98 of Pedro Lamy, Paul Dalla Lana and Christoffer Nygaard.