Saturday 16th April 2016, 17:00
Manor Endurance Racing has its first ever race this weekend as the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship opens with the 6 hours of Silverstone near Northampton, England.
Manor is competing in the LM P2 class of the WEC with two Oreca 05 chassis, powered by Nissan engines.
Since the announcement of Manor’s entry into the championship in February, the team has drawn on its extensive history, reuniting both drivers and team members under the Manor name. With the team having recently moved into a new base at Silverstone, the race is truly a home event for the team.
Both cars ran well in Free Practice 1 and 2 yesterday but with snow forcing Free Practice 3 to be cancelled, Qualifying would be the first time that the team had run the cars in anything other than dry conditions. With only 20 minutes available for Qualifying, and the need to include a driver change for each car, the session was guaranteed to be full of action.
Tor Graves took the wheel of Car 44 at the beginning of the session, with Matt Rao at the helm of Car 45. Both cars went out on full wets, and after both drivers had set representative times, they came in to hand over to Will Stevens and Richard Bradley respectively.
As the track was drying, the team opted to fit intermediate tyres for the second run and Richard and Will continued to improve their lap times up until their last lap. Car 45 was classified 6th in the session, Car 44 was 8th.
John Booth, Team Principal
“It has been a very solid start to our 2016 campaign. I’m very happy with how the cars have been running; the team has gelled remarkably in the short time we’ve been together. Our initial aim is to earn the respect of our peers, and I think our solid midfield performance shows that we are well on the way to achieving that. We have come into the WEC to race, and although it was difficult to generate enough heat in the intermediate tyres, I’m glad we took that approach. We are looking forward to the race tomorrow and whatever happens we will have gained a wealth of valuable knowledge.”
Matt Rao, Driver Car 45
“Those were probably the worst conditions possible for my first WEC qualifying -we didn’t really have any experience of running this type of car or tyre in the wet, I did one flying lap on full wets, but made a mistake on my final lap, so rather than keep pushing, I came in early to give Richard more time on intermediates. It’s a long race tomorrow, so I think we are in good shape.”
Richard Bradley, Driver Car 45
“I think the team did really well, having had so little time to get the operation up and running. I’m also very happy with my pace on intermediates. I think I was the fastest on those tyres so we appear to be in good shape for tomorrow’s race.”
Will Stevens, Driver Car 44
“I am a little bit disappointed with the result in qualifying. It was always going to be difficult as this was the only running we had done in the wet. I think we were just on the wrong tyres at the wrong time, as the track was so cold it made it really difficult to get any temperature in the tyres. 6 hours is a long race so we will see what happens but I am confident after the running we did here yesterday that we have the pace.”
Tor Graves, Driver Car 44
“I’m not quite sure why we both struggled to get any heat into the tyres, it’s something we can look into for the next time we have bad conditions. Otherwise I’m quite happy and I’m looking forward to the race tomorrow.”