Next stop for WEC is Round One: Silverstone

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

With the two days of extensive testing and posing for official pictures at the series Prologue now complete, all of the teams the remaining attention will now be firmly fixed towards the first round of the 2017 World Endurance Championship which starts at Silverstone just next weekend.

Aston Martin Racing had all three of their 2016 specification V8 Vantage GTE's (two in Pro and one in Am Class) at the Prologue test along with a full contingent of drivers (three drivers per Pro car for the first two rounds plus Le Mans) in readiness for the all important opening round to the championship.

Like most other teams AMR had already conducted extensive testing in America, France, Spain and Portugal over the winter so what was achieved by the team at the Prologue? Apart from obeying with the Sporting regulation of the Series that demands their attendance possibly (and from a fan point of view) next to nothing really - well apart from seeing the teams new livery and clothing design in the flesh but obviously there was a technical programme of events that the team would have worked through with their technical partners.

Looking at the timing charts since made available, it would be too easy to become disgruntled by the fact that the #95 and #97 Pro cars always appeared at the foot at each of the four day time sessions that they participated in at the Prologue, but then there are no prizes for being fastest at a test and there certainly are no prizes for destroying your race car just two weeks before the opening race either!

The weather would have played a significant part with rain arriving at the Monza circuit just in time for the evening session and into Sunday but relevant data can always be acquired whatever the circumstance.

If there is one thing we have all learned is that these times/places are largely irrelevant to the bigger picture - the most important lap times (certainly in the first half of the new season) will be those in Qualifying at Silverstone followed by those at Qualifying at Le Mans!! History has demonstrated that some may 'sail close to the wind' when it comes to displaying their cars full potential when you don't have to and we have no reason to think differently this year either - what with Porsche and their new GTE!!

Still, differences in lap times to the rival Porsche's, Ferrari's and Ford was never more than 1.5seconds so you'd have to assume that most were running to a plan and wholly within themselves over the 533 laps the team ran and of course, its not just the drivers who need a bit of practice!

From the events in Monza we do expect to see the return of the blue and yellow Valero livery at Silverstone and at other races during the season (most likely at CoTA) and it was bizarre to see the #97 car change its guise overnight between the Saturday and Sunday from the Valero colours back to its factory greens. Why? - well why not, thats what we say!

We understand that this was achieved simple by changing side, boot and bonnet panels and repaving the wrap on the roof.

With all pre season testing now complete the 27 full season WEC entries will now be collecting their gear together ready for the journey to Silverstone.

First track action from Silverstone will be Free Practice 1 over midday on Friday 14th April with Qualifying just after lunch on the Saturday and the race itself starting at 12:00Hrs on Sunday.

Photo credits - AMR / Dunlop / WEC
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