Phil Hanson reflects on the positives from Silverstone

Two early retirements in both the European Le Mans Series and FIA World Endurance Championship races was hugely disappointing but there were a number of positives to take away from Silverstone last weekend.

In both series’ practice sessions, five in total, we displayed immense pace. We were fastest in each of them.

On reflection, the downfall possibly started in qualifying. I made a few mistakes in my lap in WEC quali but at the end of the day we were still in a very good position with our new Orecas, claiming P2 starts for both races.

We were very confident as we would have had very good race pace compared to our rivals, especially across our driver line up, which would have been the crucial part.

Honestly, victory, or at the very least a strong finish in both of the races, looked like a reality on Saturday and Sunday. But our issues came quite early on in both.

At least there was a bit more action with the ELMS race with a change of weather bringing out a different strategy for us moving onto wets quite early on along with everyone else but us being the first car to go back onto slicks under a full course yellow, which meant we gained a free stop theoretically. It was a slow stop as the guys had a problem with a wheel nut but we’d still made the call at the opportune moment and were able to go on slicks as it was just starting to dry, a couple of laps before everyone else so we would have been the first car to benefit of going onto slicks in the drying track.

So that was all heading in the right direction, with strategy and pace, until we had an electrical issue, something to do with the housing of the battery and the connection between that and the loom, which meant we lost all power and all electronics causing the power steering to fail. Luckily for me it happened in a slow speed corner allowing me to just roll straight off the circuit. I had to smile to myself when I was standing beside our stricken car having taken my helmet off only to hear the commentator say over the PA that ‘Hanson had crashed off on the slippery track’. Sometimes best not to say anything if you don’t know the facts!

In WEC 24 hours later it was a similar story with an issue on the electrical side. It meant that we stopped on lap 3 on the start/finish straight which was a bit of a shame so only having completed 2 laps into the race Paul ground to a halt which was even more of a devastating result considering I think we actually had stronger pace in WEC than we did in ELMS. I think our ELMS title aspirations are over now with a DNF but we’ll be going max attack for wins in the remaining two races.

So now I think WEC is more important for the #22 team and for me, so at least that is still very much open although never a good start to have no points against people that have finished in the top 3 and will likely be our championship contenders.

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