G-Drive Racing dominated the opening round of the 2016 European Le Mans Series season at Silverstone after taking the lead on the very first lap.
The trio of Harry Tincknell, Simon Dolan, and ex-F1 driver Giedo van der Garde led for most of the race, only surrendering the lead to LMP2 debutant Fabien Barthez during a yellow flag period caused by spin for Olympic gold medallist Sir Chris Hoy, who was also making his first LMP2 start.
The Jota-run G-Drive entry quickly caught up to the 1998 Word Cup winner and passed for the lead once more, never surrendering the top spot.
The SMP Racing entry of Stefano Coletti, Julian Leal, and Andreas Wirth with Lombard Racing's Jonathan Coleman, Vincent Capillaire and Oliver Lombard taking third. Barthez, along with Paul-Loup Chatin and Timothe Buret looked set for a certain podium finish until technical problems saw them drop to ninth.
LMP3 was dominated by United Autosports who took a one-two finish on their first ELMS start with Graff taking third.
The LMGTE class was won by the JMW Ferrari of Robert Smith, Andrea Bertolini, and Rory Butcher which fended of Aston Martin Racing's Andrew Howard, Darren Turner, and Alex MacDowall with the sister Aston Martin of Roald Goethe, Stuart Hall, and Ritchie Stanaway denying the AT Racing Ferrari the final podium spot in a dramatic final lap.
UPDATE: After the race the JMW Ferrari was excluded for a splitter irregularity, handing the win to the Beechdean Aston Martin of Howrad, Turner, and MacDowall. The AT Racing Ferrari Alessandro Pier Guidi, Alexander Talkanitsa Sr., and Alexander Talkanitsa Jr was elevated tot he final podium position as a result
Image: Dominik Wilde