Toyota scores 1-2 finish in WEC season opener at Silverstone

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A heavy rain shower at Silverstone ended the 2014 World Endurance Championship season opener almost half an hour early with the two Toyota TS040 Hybrids claiming a 1-2 finish.

The No. 8 Toyota of Sebastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson, and Nicolas Lapierre won the Six Hours of Silverstone by a one-lap margin over the No. 7 of Alex Wurz, Stephane Sarrazin, and Kazuki Nakajima.

Porsche also earned a podium finish in its comeback to top-tier sports car racing, earning a third-place result with its No. 20 919 Hybrid driven by Mark Webber, Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley. The No. 20 finished two laps off the pace.

The turning point of the race came in the opening hour. As light rain began to fall, Wurz brought the No. 7 in for service and went on the wet tires, while Buemi in the No. 8 got the intermediate tires.

The inters ultimately allowed Buemi to take control of the lead from Wurz, who spun out and pitted again shortly afterwards.

Meanwhile, both of Audi’s R18 e-tron quattros were forced to leave the race early. Lucas di Grassi crashed the No. 1 Audi in the opening hour, and the team was unable to get it back on the track due to terminal chassis damage.

Then, later in the running, Benoit Treluyer lost control at the Copse corner and wrecked the No. 2 Audi. The Frenchman tried to get the damaged car back to the pits, but was forced to abandon it in the end.

Porsche’s second car, the No. 14, also failed to make the finish. Neel Jani entered the pits after losing the left front wheel on his 919 Hybrid, but after repairs, he was forced to go back with a hydraulic problem that would end the day for that team.

In P2, the No. 26 G-Drive Morgan/Nissan was victorious after a mid-race fight with the No. 47 KCMG Oreca that ended when the latter suffered a 10-second stop and go penalty for speeding on pit road. Olivier Pla ultimately took the No. 26 to a two-lap win over the No. 47.

GTE-Pro honors went to the No. 92 Team Manthey Porsche 911 RSR (Frederic Makowiecki, Marco Holzer and Richard Lietz), which defeated its sister car, the No. 91, for the win.

Aston Martin’s No. 97 finished third in that category, but claimed a 1-2 finish in GTE-Am. The No. 95 Vantage V8 of Kurt Thiim, Kristian Poulsen and David Heinemeier Hansson earned first, while the runner-up went to the No. 98 of Pedro Lamy, Paul Dalla Lana and Christoffer Nygaard.

Have a decent tax refund coming? Buy Ayrton Senna’s 1993 Monaco-winning car

Photos courtesy Bonhams
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Are you expecting a better than normal tax refund? Did you get a very nice bonus from your company due to the new tax cut?

Well, if you have a good chunk of change hanging around and potentially can be in Monaco on May 11, you can have a chance to bid on the 1993 McLaren-Ford MP4/8A that the late Ayrton Senna drove in — and won — that year’s Monaco Grand Prix.

We’re not just talking about any race winner. It’s also the same car Senna won his sixth Monaco Grand Prix, and the chassis bears the number six.

It’s also the same car Senna piloted to that season’s F1 championship (his third and final title before sadly being killed the next year) and is the first McLaren driven by Senna that’s ever been sold or put up for auction.

The famed Bonhams auction house is overseeing the sale of the car.

“Any Grand Prix-winning car is important, but to have the golden combination of both Senna and Monaco is a seriously rare privilege indeed,” Bonhams global head of motorsport, Mark Osborne, told The Robb Report.

“Senna and Monaco are historically intertwined, and this car represents the culmination of his achievements at the Monegasque track. This is one of the most significant Grand Prix cars ever to appear at auction, and is certainly the most significant Grand Prix car to be offered since the Fangio Mercedes-Benz W196R, which sold for a world record at auction.”

How much might you need? You might want to get a couple of friends to throw in a few bucks as well.

“We expect the car to achieve a considerable seven-figure sum,” Osborne said.

The London newspaper “The Telegraph” predicts the car will sell in the $6.1 million range.”

“This car will set the world record for a Senna car at auction,” Osborne said. “We are as certain as you can be in the auction world.”

While you won’t be able to take the car for a test drive before the auction, it’ll be ready to roar once you pay the price.

“In theory, the buyer could be racing immediately upon receipt of the cleared funds after the auction,” Osborne said. “All systems are primed and ready.”