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Nürburgring Pre-Race Notebook

John Dagys pre-race notebook for 6H Nürburgring…

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

***Rain has arrived at the Nürburgring for the first time this weekend and is expected to play a factor in this afternoon’s race. While the track is currently wet, additional showers are currently not forecast until 4 p.m. and could remain through the checkered flag.

***Sam Bird won Saturday’s inaugural Formula E race in New York City. The Ferrari factory driver, who is missing this weekend’s race, edged out Jean-Eric Vergne by 1.354 seconds, with fellow WEC drivers Stephane Sarrazin third and Lucas Di Grassi third and fourth, respectively. Of note, Alex Lynn, in his Formula E debut, scored pole for the race. Race 2 of the double-header weekend is scheduled for today.

***Porsche will utilize its new high-downforce kit for the remainder of the season, except for possibly Fuji, which team principal Andreas Seidl said could go either way. “Fuji was always a question, especially this year with the need to double-stint the tires each time,” he said. “You have to work out the effect on tire degradation and so on.”

***Toyota, however, doesn’t share the same belief, with technical director Pascal Vasselon stating they will not consider using its low-downforce kit in any of the remaining rounds. “Our low downforce is really specific to Le Mans; we have no chance to run it,” he said.

***Despite being limited to a single aero kit post-Le Mans, essentially due to a reduction from three to two total aero kits per season, Vasselon said they have a “nice range” to work with. “Between what we have done at Spa and here, there’s quite a big difference,” he explained. “In Spa, we removed downforce as much as we could, now here, we have as much downforce as we can. So we have the two extremes.”

***Vasselon revealed that Toyota Motor Corporation President Akio Toyoda’s comments, provided in a post-race statement from the Japanese manufacturer, was incorrectly translated, with Toyoda’s comment intending to say that this year’s hybrid-powered cars were not yet ready for the challenges of Le Mans, and not the race in general.  “We were amazed,” Vasselon said. “We had a look at the Japanese text and it was different.” 

***Vaillante Rebellion team manager Bart Hayden everything has gone “reasonably smoothly” as he’s had to take on extra duties this weekend in the wake of two of its senior crew members having been internally suspended due to the No. 13 Oreca 07 Gibson’s exclusion at Le Mans. “I’ve been involved in more of the debriefings, but really, we’ve planned ahead. We tried to organize ourselves so when we got here we’re more prepared for how we’ll operate,” he told Sportscar365.

***Hayden confirmed that both crew members will be back with the team for the next round in Mexico in September.

***One of the chassis of the two Porsche 919 Hybrids has been replaced since Le Mans, as part of a normal rotation of tubs, according to Seidl. “We’ll continue with the winning monocoque until the end of the season, but the Le Mans bodywork has been put aside,” he said. “It’s not cleaned and we put the shiny lacquer on it.”

***Despite the disparity in performance with the Le Mans-specific aero kits, there will be no exceptions to the regulations to permit LMP2 constructors an additional update beyond its one permitted “joker” in the four-year homologation period, according to ACO Sporting Director Vincent Beaumesnil.  “They have to decide when they will use their joker,” he said. “There is a good way to use it, for sure, so we’ll see their decisions.”

***Beaumesnil indicated the “joker” could include updates for common parts that would be used on both the standard bodywork and the Le Mans aero kit, thus giving constructors an opportunity to close the gap in performance at Le Mans, as well as regular season races.

***An engine issue in last weekend’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park for the Patrick Pilet-driven Porsche 911 RSR has not caused reason for concern, according to Marco Ujasi, Overall Project Manager for Porsche GT Works. “We do not have the engine back in Weissach as it takes a while, but we have a rough idea,” he told Sportscar365. “It’s nothing critical. As you know in racing, something could happen but I’m not nervous about it.”

***Porsche Junior Thomas Preining and Larry ten Vorde claimed victories in the invitational round of Porsche Carrera Cup Germany, which ran as part of the Porsche Motorsport Race Weekend. The support race also included several Porsche 911 GT3 Rs and other Cup car variants, with Carrera Cup drivers not scoring points due to a number of season-long competitors taking part in the Porsche Supercup event at Silverstone this weekend.

***Watch the Six Hours of Nürburgring on Sunday beginning at 7 a.m. ET on FS1, hosted by Calvin Fish and featuring the international commentary feed led by Toby Moody. British Eurosport will show highlights and the final hour from 5:25 p.m. BST, with coverage provided by Mark Cole and Tom Gaymor. Check your local listings for the Eurosport International schedule. Click Here for the full international TV listing.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. John

    July 16, 2017 at 6:29 am

    There you go — further confirmation of one “joker” per four year P2 homologation.

    Nothing prevented Ligier from using theirs at Le Mans, except the fear of playing their hand too quickly.

    What they asked for was a waiver from that rule, and to no surprise, could not get the other manufacturers to agree to it.

  2. Andy Flinn

    July 16, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    Unless you have something personally invested in a team or you have a favorite driver, WEC LMP2 is a snore.

    I don’t see anything other than Orecas sweeping all the podiums this year. I thought after all the carnage and DQs at Le Mans that the United Autosports ELMS Ligier might have a shot.

    WEC LMP2 is one part-time Ligier away from being a completely spec “world championship.”

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