In a dramatic turn of events, both Toyota Gazoo Racing cars, up until a few hours the winner and second of the 6 hours of Silverstone, have been disqualified after a post-race inspection unveiled a breach of the technical specifications in relation to the deflection of the front part of the mandatory skid block.
In the GTE Pro category, the Porsche 911 RSR of Gianmaria Bruni and Richard Lietz, which finished second, has also been disqualified.
An uncontested lead
For a few happy hours, the three drivers of Toyota Gazoo Racing #8 celabrated their third consecutive victory of the World Endurance Championship. Both Toyotas exerted an uncontested lead from beginning to end. #7 which left the grid in first position, seemed to be destined for victory until human error resulted in his companion #8 overtaking him seconds before the last pit stop.
After a small collision at the start of the race, Serrainz’ SMP and Beche’s Rebellion seemed to have run dry of options to reach the podium. A short while later, local SMP hero Jenson Button was forced to retire because of a broken turbo.
A breech of regulations
The sudden Toyota disqualification has given victory to the #3 Rebellion Racing Squad of Gustavo Menezes, Thomas Laurent and Mathias Beche. Second place has also gone to Rebellion’s #1 Neel Jani and André Lotterer and SMP Racing’s #17, Stephane Sarrainz and Egor Ordzhev have moved to third position.
Toyota later recounted events in a press release:
“Both cars suffered damage to their respective front floor areas during the race due to impacts against the new kerbs at Silverstone,” said the manufacturer in a statement.
“Regrettably, this also caused both cars to fail deflection tests in post-race scrutineering. As a result, race stewards disqualified both cars.
“The design and construction of the part concerned has not changed since its introduction at the beginning of the 2017 season. Since then it has successfully passed similar tests, most recently at Spa this season.
“The team is now evaluating its next course of action.”
It’s now up to Toyota to get over their deception and take the necessary important technical decisions ahead of the fourth WEC test; the 6 hours of Fuji on October 14th.
By T.C. | Photo: EspírituRacer