The 2019/20 FIA WEC season officially got underway this morning at Silverstone, and in Free Practice 1 it was Rebellion Racing which topped the times with its No. 1 R-13 Gibson.
The driver which ran quickest for the Swiss-flagged team was one of its new recruits, Norman Nato, who topped the times with a 1m38.860s moments before the end of the session.
Early on, Toyota Gazoo Racing ran at the top thanks to a 1m39.306s set by Sebastien Buemi in the No. 8 within the first 10 minutes.
After Buemi set down his marker, the Rebellion R 13s climbed the standings and came closer with a 1m39.932s from Bruno Senna in the No. 1 entry. Nato then took the wheel of the No.1 Rebellion for the final leg of the session, and bettered the Brazilian a series of fast laps before setting the 1m38.860s to go top.
That time was 0.42s clear of the 1m39.280s set by Kazuki Nakajima in the No. 8 Toyota who had to settle for second. The No.7 sister Toyota’s fastest time, a 1m39.431s, was good enough for third, ahead of the No. 3 Rebellion.
Only one of the Team LNT Ginetta G60-LT-P1 AERs set a competitive time in the session, that being the No. 6 with a 1m40.618s from former Le Mans winner Guy Smith, to go within a second off the second Rebellion. Late signee Oliver Jarvis also got a first taste of the G60 in the session, and set a time a tenth off Smith.
The No. 5 sister Ginetta didn’t set a flying lap during the session courtesy of electrical issues. The team told RACER that it plans to have the car out setting fast times in FP2 later today.
In LMP2, WEC debutant United Autosports went top in its first ever competitive session with its No. 22 ORECA, thanks to a 1m43.066s from Filipe Albuquerque. Cool Racing, another new team, came closest to United’s best time, former Signatech Alpine man Nicolas Lapierre setting a 1m43.470s.
The top three was completed by Racing Team Nederland’s ORECA, Job van Uitert, who is standing in for Nyck de Vries here in the UK, the outfit’s fastest driver with a 1m43.776s.
In GTE Pro it was the brand new Porsche 911 RSR 19 which led the way, Gianmaria Bruni lapping the Silverstone circuit in 1m55.766s to push James Calado and the No. 51 AF Corse crew to second on the screens by three tenths.
The No. 95 Aston Martin Vantage AMR ended up third fastest, making it three makes in the top three with a 1m56.361s from Marco Sorensen.
In GTE Am, TF Sport topped the times with its new Vantage AMR, Aston factory driver Jonny Adam reeling off a 1m56.611s. The No. 98 Aston Martin Racing Vantage made it a 1-2 for the British marque, ahead of the MR Racing Ferrari that completed the top three.
The times thus far have been noticeably faster than last year, due to the track having undergone a resurfacing earlier this year. Teams and drivers are expecting times to be significantly faster than last year in qualifying tomorrow.
UP NEXT: The FIA WEC teams are set for a second Free Practice session at 4:30 p.m. local time.