Driver insight with Alex Wurz: 6 Hours of Silverstone

by Alex Wurz on 18th April 2017

Alexander Wurz gives his inside take on the 6 Hours of Silverstone

What an immense battle it was. It went down to the wire, we had just a few seconds between first and second, winner was Anthony Davidson, Kaz Nakajima and Sébastien Buemi. I think I lost a little bit of weight during that race...

We had wet conditions, technical issues, the traffic produced very intense battles and an overtaking move with just six minutes to go. It was really great stuff.

Traffic and the tyre conundrum

Toyota led the way opening a gap up to six or eight seconds, sometimes more. I could see that Toyota couldn't pull away any more, Porsche had found its rhythm and through the traffic the net car performance was eliminated. It was then a case of managing the boost and the fuel cuts. At the end of the day both teams have been on a similar pace. We had a similar phenomenon last year, Toyota was never as good as the others in qualifying but was always there in the race. We can expect really cool races to come, it's a very intense battle. It was down to the drivers, especially in rainy conditions. We saw different strategies unfolding, Porsche opted for intermediate tyres while Toyota stuck with slick tyres. The reason for that wasn't really for different strategy, Toyota would have gone for inters if it hadn't just had a pitstop two minutes before the rain came. There was no other choice other than for Anthony to man up. He did a sensational job, kept the car on the track, didn't lose too much time and saved a pitstop. In the end it was a zero game, both cars came out and there was a 20sec gap. 

Hartley v Buemi – the difference

José Maria Lopéz got caught out on a damp patch at Stowe. He went to hospital, it was nothing serious but he had pain in his back. It's a routine check, hopefully he'll be back soon – he's needed for an endurance test in the next few days! Porsche did a very clever strategy by staying out with Brendon near the end, a splash-and-dash and then it was a race between Brendon and Séb. They are friends, they have lived together for a few years, it was interesting to watch them. They were tough with each other through three and four, Seb had the upper hand with newer tyres and more speed – he went for a real good move. He brought the car home, with rain again to come. I really enjoyed the LMP1 race, it's good publicity and a giod show for the sport. It was fought very hard, I can't wait until Spa.

Aero packages

WEC is a fascinating sport, the technology is mind-blowing. We have way more than 1,000hp, four-wheel drive but also strict rules that limit the money being spent by the manufacturers. This year we are allowed two different aero packages, the main one is low-downforce for Le Mans and its high-speed track, the other tracks is high downforce. We've seen a very different approach this year where Porsche has done no work on the high-downforce package, they have utilised the entire winter for its low-downforce circuit set-up and arrived at Silverstone with that. Toyota brought out its high-downforce package during testing and for this race. That's maybe the reason why Toyota had the upper hand, more downforce on all the high-speed flowing corners. 

The next race prospects

Spa is a track that is in between the two downforce packages, the gap is going to be really tight there. Le Mans, both teams will go low downforce and from then on I'm very curious as to what Porsche brings. The reason they are doing this is to spend more time in the windtunnel to optimise that package. The championship is going to really unfold later in the season. It's not just about downforce though. The amount of aerodynamics you carry is the amount of drag you have, that influences your fuel efficiency and the fuel you use, more drag means more fuel so more fuel cuts. It means you go fast around the corner, that however needs less fuel... It is really, really complex, small subtle changes have a large effect on our machines and it is still down to the drivers. 

Read: Toyota wins 6 Hours of Silverstone

Download Wurz on Silverstone and Karun Chandhok on the Bahrain Grand Prix podcast

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