A Weekend Away at WEC

Easter weekend normally sees me in one of two locations; on a rugby pitch or at Oulton Park for the British GT’s! This year, I pushed myself outside my comfort zone and headed to Silverstone for the World Endurance Championship’s six hour race.

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After the heartbreak of last year’s Le Mans 24 hours, Toyota were looking to start fast.Β 

As I was only able to travel down to the circuit on Friday, I did miss out on marshalling it in its entirety. Instead, I used the time I had to engross myself in the occasion and familiarise myself with the circuit that I would be calling home for the next few days. Something I would recommend to any marshals if they are venturing to a new circuit.

After acquainting myself with the track, the cars and the occasion, I turned my attention to the real reason I was down at Silverstone. To marshal the World Endurance Championship (WEC). Whilst some think of Formula One as the pinnacle of a marshal’s year, for me the WEC has always been one on my radar which I’ve never volunteered for.

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Darren and myself taking in the grid walk in our downtime. (Paul Williams)

The whole occasion of the event really did sweep me away and blow my mind as to how brilliant the World Endurance series is. I was fortunate enough to be posted on the right section of track, so once I got downtime, I was able to head to the pits and the grid. Whilst this allowed me to look at the cars in more detail, so if the time came and I needed to recover one I knew where the lifting points were on the car, I found myself overwhelmed by my location.

You may think that a six hour race is the exact opposite of appealing for a marshal, but it isn’t so! The longer period of racing means that you need to be ready for action at any point in the race, being stood on the bank for three hours may be tough, but having the ability to get to a stricken vehicle or to apply a blue flag with such precision that only a GT car reacts to the signal, really does make you a better marshal and one which enjoys the shorter races more when you return to club meetings.

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With the best view in the house we really were ready for action. (Paul Williams)

The six hour or, in the case of the European Le Mans Series support race, four hour race you can be surprised how close the racing can be. As a marshal, the car fanatic with the best view in the house, should surely be getting excited when a six hour race boils down to the last 15 minutes of racing. If you find the footage of the race and locate the marshals on Club corner, one of which being me, you will see the excitement.

 

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The excitement of the start is always something to behold. (Paul Williams)

The excitement doesn’t just stop at the racing itself, but more towards what is actually racing. The cars vary from the Le Mans Hybrid Protoypes of Porsche and Toyota to the GT cars of Ford, Ferrari, Porsche and Aston Martin. The four different classes have differing speed and engine note, making the race a symphony of speed and precision.

 

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The multi-discipline events makes the racing good to follow and Β exciting to the chequered flag. (Paul Williams)

Another reason to marshal at the WEC Weekend is the amount of track activity there is. Unlike the Formula One there is far less down-time between sessions, meaning there is more of a chance for you to have to deal with an incident.

Finally, the last thing that should swing the balance in favour of going to Silverstone to marshal this event is the welcome that you get when you are there. Unlike the British Touring Cars and the Formula One, the marshals this year were invited into the Silverstone Wing building, which stretches the length of the International Pitlane. There you can kick back and talk about the days that everyone has had.

If the six hour race is suddenly up your street and you want to be a marshal at the event, then it is something you should definitely apply for. If you want to know how to become a marshal so you can get closer to these events, then follow the link here, to find out more.

If you still aren’t sold on endurance racing, or you want to know what it’s like to marshal for an entire day, then be sure to keep your eyes peeled for a blog about the 24 hours of Nurburgring.

Written By – Robert Lee (@RobLee559 – Instagram/Twitter)

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