The battles commence!
The flags of the FIA World Endurance Championship and the many nationalities represented within the entry list for the 6 Hours of Silverstone were flying high at the Northamptonshire circuit as the cars took to the track for the first free practice session.
Teams started the session on wet tyres but it soon dried enough for some competitors to try slicks. However, a short shower mid-way through meant that a variety of tyre options were able to be evaluated by the 31 entrants in preparation for whatever the weather brings over the weekend.
At the chequered flag the No.2 LMP1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro was on top of the time sheets, their time of 1:55.130 being just two hundredths of a second ahead of the No.1 Audi. Close behind were the two Toyota TS030 Hybrids, No.7 nudging ahead of No.8.
Quickest of the LMP1 Privateer teams was current champion, the No.12 Rebellion Racing Lola B12/60 Coupe-Toyota – four hundreds of a second ahead of the very rapid LMP2 No.26 G-Drive Racing ORECA 03 Nissan.
Between this last car and the second LMP2 in class were the No.13 Rebellion and No.21 Strakka Racing entries, a gap of 2.8 seconds separating G-Drive Racing with the No.24 OAK Racing. Just behind the French car was the No.25 Delta-ADR ORECA.
In LMGTE Pro AF Corse’s No.71 Ferrari 458 Italia, driven by Kamui Kobayashi and Toni Vilander set the fastest lap of the session with a best time of 2:12.965, 0.8s ahead of the No.92 factory-entered Porsche AG Team Manthey. The No.97 Aston Martin Racing of Darren Turner, Stefan Mucke and Bruno Senna suffered a technical problem which meant it did not run in the session.
Class champions Larbre Competition proved that they have started 2013 as they finished 2012, lapping the Silverstone Grand Prix track quicker than anyone else in LMGTE Am. The No.50 Chevrolet Corvette C6-ZR1 set a time of 2:14.020, almost a second ahead of the No.95 Aston Martin Racing Vantage V8.
The hour and a half of free practice will take place at 16:30 hours this afternoon.