Home Heroes: Who are the Brits at this year's 6 Hours of Silverstone?
The World Endurance Championship has made its way back to the UK for the third round of the championship – the 6 Hours of Silverstone. This year the grid features a heap of hugely talented British drivers for fans to support. Looking for a home-grown hero to cheer for? Look no further…
Mike Conway – Toyota Gazoo Racing, LMP1
Always at the sharp end of the LMP1 field, you’ll find Mike Conway. Hailing from Bromley, Conway has been a fixture in the Toyota crew since 2014 and has a knack for putting in blazing lap times. Despite the fact that his car hasn’t won a WEC race since Fuji in 2016, Conway is definitely one to watch as he tries to help hit Toyota’s target of an entire season of 1-2 finishes.
"We weren’t sure what to expect," Conway responded when questioned about Silverstone's new tarmac. "When F1 came here, they were complaining about the bumps and so on, but there have been no issues for us really. All feels good, the balance is quite good, just picking the right tyres for the race is going to be key. Rebellion look quick, I think it’ll get closer probably as the weekend goes on."
Did we mention it’s his birthday on Sunday?
Jenson Button – SMP Racing, LMP1
Everybody loves Jenson right? With enough charm to match that massive racing talent, it’s not hard to see why. This will be Button’s second start in the World Endurance Championship following his debut at Le Mans in June, and the former F1 champion is looking forward to jumping back into the BR1. The team is running their high downforce kit this weekend, a first for Button, and he's anticipating a lot of work for the team this weekend.
“It’s been two years since I raced in the UK, it’s nice to be back in something very different to what I’m used to.” Said Button in Friday’s press conference. “It’s been a lovely experience racing in WEC so far. Obviously in at the deep end at Le Mans, and I feel I’m up and running with the car a lot more here, a lot more at home in the team and looking forward to the challenge.”
Oliver Webb – ByKolles, LMP1
If you’re on Instagram and you like photos of fast cars in beautiful locations, chances are you’ve already come across Oliver Webb. It’s rare that Webb is ever out of a supercar and as a result, he’s honed a significant amount of driving skill. Driving as part of the ByKolles lineup, if the car can prove reliable, expect Webb to wring all he can get out of it.
Ben Hanley – Dragonspeed, LMP1
Manchester man Ben Hanley has plenty of experience driving prototypes, having been jumping between various teams since his first outing in ELMS with Dragonspeed in 2016. Fast forward to today, and this weekend will be Ben’s third outing as part of Dragonspeed’s LMP1 crew. The team failed to finish both at Spa and Le Mans, so a decent result is well deserved here.
Anthony Davidson – Dragonspeed, LMP2
Former Toyota LMP1 driver and fan favourite Anthony Davidson makes his debut in the LMP2 category this weekend. Having not driven the Oreca-07 until free practice two on Friday afternoon, Davidson really is jumping in at the deep end, but he’s relishing the challenge. Taking the opportunity to learn from Dragonspeed's experienced Silver driver Roberto Gonzalez, it won't take long for this endurance racing veteran to get up to speed.
“I have a wealth of experience in sportscars, nearly ten years in the category,” Davidson said in Friday’s press conference. “And I’ve been with the WEC since the beginning in 2012. So, it is a different category, but in the P2 you’re the hunter and the hunted. You have to be looking forwards but also knowing the places where you’re vulnerable for being overtaken by P1 cars.”
Sam Bird – AF Corse, GTE Pro
Fans of Formula E will already be familiar with Sam Bird – the Brit finished third in the 2017/2018 Formula E world championship back in June. This weekend he’s swapping an electric Virgin for one of AF Corse's raucous petrol-powered Ferraris, his home in the WEC for several seasons. He and teammate Davide Rigon work well together, but despite this, they haven't seen a win since Bahrain last November. Vai, signore Bird!
James Calado – AF Corse, GTE Pro
Also driving an AF Corse Ferrari this weekend is 2017’s FIA WEC GTE Pro champion, James Calado. James has been driving Ferraris since he joined AF Corse in 2014 and he’s become rather good at it, scoring wins and podiums in different series around the world, including a second place finish at this race last season.
“Of course it’s always a privilege to come back to Silverstone,” Calado commented, during Friday’s conference, “it’s one of the great tracks, and with the newly resurfaced tarmac it seems to be a little bit quicker than last year.”
Andy Priaulx – Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK, GTE Pro
The first half of Ford’s Great British duo is ex-touring car ace Andy Priaulx. Priaulx has been with Ford since the manufacturer’s return to Le Mans in 2016, and his car has slowly been climbing the championship tables over the years, they finished second overall last year and will be looking for the championship win this year! The #67 Ford won here at Silverstone last year, and no doubt Priaulx will want to repeat that feat with the help of his teammate...
Harry Tincknell – Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK, GTE Pro
Harry is the second half of the British duo in the #67 Ford, and with the height difference between himself and Andy Priaulx, one often wonders how they manage to share a car! Harry started like most young drivers in single-seaters before making the leap to endurance racing in 2014. During that year he helped pilot the ‘Mighty 38’ Jota Sport LMP2 to victory at the Le Mans 24 Hours. It’s worth noting he’s also a factory driver for the Mazda DPi team in the IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship and a development/sim driver for the NIO Formula E team. This guy can drive.
Alex Lynn – Aston Martin Racing, GTE Pro
Alex Lynn is no stranger to Silverstone, having raced here many times during his careers in both single seaters and endurance racing. This year, however, is his first visit to the track as a factory driver and for home team Aston Martin Racing no less. Alex has been around the WEC paddock since 2016 but the Super Season marks his first in the GTE Pro class.
“I feel a massive privilege to be here with a brand like Aston Martin, at a home race like Silverstone. I love racing here in general, it’s my favourite circuit, and it’s good to be here as a full factory driver. A big honour.”
Michael Wainwright – Gulf Racing, GTE Am
Somewhat of an endurance racing veteran, you’ll be seeing a lot of Michael Wainwright across the weekend. Alongside teammate Ben Barker (more on him shortly), Michael is doing both the ELMS 4 Hours of Silverstone and the WEC 6 Hours of Silverstone! If nothing else these guys deserve praise for the sheer amount of driving they’ll be doing this weekend, but the Porsche is also looking rapid so watch for those familiar Gulf colours towards the front of the field.
Ben Barker – Gulf Racing, GTE Am
Ben Barker has been a busy boy so far this year. Between the dual ELMS and WEC programs, Barker has also picked himself up a class win at the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hours. He’s been driving GT cars for years and is certainly no stranger to Silverstone. Providing the Porsche stays out of trouble (in both races), Gulf Racing’s lead driver will undoubtedly be one to watch.
Jonny Adam – TF Sport, GTE Am
We’re used to seeing Jonny Adam in a factory Aston Martin effort, but a re-shuffle in Aston Martin Racing’s line-ups has seen the Scotsman placed in customer team TF Sport. A real turn up for the books for the GTE Am team as they gain a hugely talented driver with a massive bank of knowledge about both the car he’s in and the track they’re at. Keep an eye out for the stunning royal blue Aston Martin Vantage – TF Sport have got two rather rapid Brits aboard that car.
Charlie Eastwood – TF Sport, GTE Am
The youngest driver on this list, Charlie Eastwood made a name for himself in the Porsche Carerra Cup GB thanks to a championship win in 2017, before making the jump to the World Endurance Championship at the start of this year’s Super Season. Finishing second in his first outing in the car back at Spa in May, it’s clear Eastwood works well with the team and can drive well himself. We're lookingforward to seeing how well he does this time out, particularly now he has a cracking teammate in the form of Jonny Adam.
This article was originally published on Overtake Motorsport.
Shared with permission from the author.
Cover Image: FIA WEC/JEP