An open door must be really annoying at race speeds, as Andy Priaulx in the No. 67 Ford GT lost a position to the No. 91 Porsche during today’s 6 Hours of Silverstone after his Ford’s door kept popping open in the first hour of the race.
Yo! You’re racing, not shooting a show-off video for Hoon of the Day. Priaulx’s door kept popping open in left-hand turns, when sideways G-forces mid-turn swung the door out. The door swung back shut when Priaulx turned right.
World Endurance Championship commentator and Le Mans prototype legend Allan McNish thinks they may have just hit a bump or a rough curb on track, and that could have caused the door to pop open. He described it as highly irritating and distracting at speed, as the pressure inside the car changes due to the air that’s now allowed to rush in. In a car that’s very much designed around winning endurance races like the Ford GT, an open door borks the car’s aerodynamics as well.
It’s a race, though—you can be annoyed and deal with less than ideal aerodynamics so long as you win. Obviously, this was distracting enough to make the Ford lose a position to one of its rival teams—not to mention a safety issue the stewards won’t take kindly to. It was bad enough that it caused Priaulx’s Ford to fall back within reach of the Ferraris even further down the field.
Ford didn’t want to lose race time for a fix, either, so they opted to wait to bring its car in. They pitted for a possible door change several laps afterwards, but determined the door was fine and re-slammed it shut. We’ll see if that holds, as they could be flagged back in for a door fix by officials if it doesn’t.
The 6 Hours of Silverstone continues until 1:00 p.m. ET in the United States, and it’s always an interesting race as we all try to figure out who’s got the car for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Porsche is already running the low-downforce aerodynamic kit they’ll use for Le Mans, leading many to speculate that they’re using the early races of the season as an extended test. (Silverstone typically sees a mix of low- and high-downforce kit, for what it’s worth.) And of course, beleaguered McLaren-Honda-Of-Privateer-LMP1-teams ByKolles broke approximately fifteen minutes of the race.
Rain is starting to fall at Silverstone, which should shake things up even more.
Update: In the second hour of the race, the No. 26 G-Drive Oreca LMP2 was told to pit by race officials for the same issue as the Ford: the car’s door wouldn’t stay shut. They had tried to tape it shut during a pit stop when they noticed the door was loose, but clearly, the tape didn’t hold.
Update: Hilariously, the No. 67's door came loose again right at the very end—just in time to win the race with its door flopping open.