ORECA drivers Nicolas Lapierre and Olivier Panis claimed victory in the AUTOSPORT 1000km at Silverstone on a day when Aston Martin Racing clinched the Le Mans Series title.
Lapierre and Panis won the race aboard the sole ORECA-AIM 01 by just over 50 seconds from the Speedy/Sebah Lola-Aston Martin B08/60 driven by Andrea Belicchi, Nicolas Prost and Marcel Fassler. Third place was enough for AMR drivers Stefan Mucke, Jan Charouz and Tomas Enge to wrap up the LMP1 drivers' crown.
The ORECA duo were in control for much of the race, but appeared to have lost victory at the final pitstop when the team was forced to change the car's nose because a front louvre had broken. That gave Fassler what looked like an unassailable lead until Speedy/Sebah was told by the race officials that it also needed to mend a broken louvre. This reversed the positions, giving ORECA its first LMS victory since the Silverstone race in 2005.
"We had a big gap; the situation was under control," said Lapierre. "Then we had to change the louvre, but it was only right that Sebah had to do the same thing."
The lead AMR Lola-Aston Martin had a conservative run to third place. The team stressed that sealing the title was its priority at Silverstone.
"Our pace wasn't perfect today, but that wasn't the key to our success," said Mucke. "We again had a consistent and reliable car, and that's what wins you championships."
The second AMR Lola-Aston finished fourth in the hands of Darren Turner and Harold Primat. Turner held second place until three laps from the end when he had to make a final, splash-and-dash, pitstop.
The fastest car in the AUTOSPORT 1000km was the Pescarolo-Judd 01 in which Jean-Christophe Boullion vaulted from the back of the grid to the lead of the race over the course of the opening stint. A transmission problem, which forced the team to change the gear cluster, resulted in a long delay and no points for a team that arrived with an outside chance of the championship.
The Speedy/Sebah team claimed an easy LMP2 class victory with its Judd-powered Lola B08/80 driven by Jonny Kane, Benjamin Leuenberger and Xavier Pompidou. It ended up four laps ahead of the second-place RML Lola-Mazda, which notched up its first finish of the season in the hands of Tommy Erdos and Mike Newton. The ASM Ginetta had looked faster, but was an early retirement. Drivers Olivier Pla and Miguel Amaral were already champions in their class as the rival Racing Box crew decided not to enter the finale.
GT1 honours went to the Gigawave Aston Martin driven by Ryan Sharp and Peter Kox. The car could not match the speed of the Larbre Saleen in the hands of Laurent Groppi early in the race, but the British team took control of the race once the Frenchman climbed out of the car.
The British JMW Motorsport Ferrari squad notched up another GT2 victory at Silverstone, but it was not enough to prevent the Felbermayr-Proton team and Richard Lietz and Marc Lieb from wrapping up the class title. The two factory Porsche drivers drove most of the way with a misfire, but seventh place was enough to give them the title by one point.