***Oliver Jarvis scored his first pole in his nine-year Audi career on Friday, in the Englishman’s likely final race as a factory driver. Jarvis had a four-year stint in DTM before moving to GT3 and then onto LMP1 in 2012, all with Audi. He’s spent the last two seasons full-time in the WEC.
***Jarvis’ No. 8 Audi underwent an engine change following Free Practice 3, when the car came to a halt on track. It’s believed the team reverted to a previously used engine, as the car had already utilized all five of its allowed powerplants for the season.
***The No. 5 Toyota TS050 Hybrid used up its fifth engine several races ago and has been rotating between two high-mileage engines in recent rounds, with a different engine to the one run in Shanghai having been installed for this weekend. “We are just using the one that has the lowest mileage as we have no other choice,” technical director Pascal Vasselon told Sportscar365.
***Sportscar365 has learned that a working meeting took place last week between GTE manufacturers to simplify the Balance of Performance process. It comes after the 10th BoP change of the season made ahead of this weekend’s final round, which saw the Ford GTs given a 20kg weight increase and a 4 percent boost reduction.
***It’s understood the goal of the meeting was to initially find a new solution for 2018 but all manufacturers agreed that changes need to be made for next year, due to the alleged large disparity in the current BoP regulations. The ACO has yet to officially comment on the matter.
***The turbocharged Fords and Ferraris are running with an atmospheric pressure adjustment of 1013 millibar, compared to the race-day level of 1018 millibar in Shanghai. Note that the atmospheric pressure adjustment is not considered a BoP adjustment, per the FIA and ACO, but rather to compensate for different types of engines.
***The FIA has given the Ford GT a waiver on its homologation for 2016, as the car has not yet met the requirement of at least 100 road car units being produced before the last competition of its first WEC season, which is this weekend’s race in Bahrain. FIA technical delegate Denis Chevrier told Sportscar365 they “knew it from the beginning” that Ford would not meet the requirement.
***Chevrier said the FIA and ACO have inspected Ford’s production facilities, in Canada, most recently prior to the COTA weekend, and have been assured the car will go into production. “We have seen their plans, their schedules and all equipment in place to be capable to produce [cars] at a suitable rate,” he said. “There’s no trick. It’s not a prototype, where only 20 will be done. We are very far away from that.”
***Mark Webber’s extended entourage in Bahrain includes his protégé Mitch Evans. The Kiwi, a front-runner in GP2 and signed to Jaguar’s new Formula E program, has previously raced in the WEC with G-Drive and was in contention to race the Jagonya-Ayam backed ESM car this weekend before Tom Dillmann was confirmed.
***Marcel Fassler is driving this weekend with luminescent strapping on his right arm due to ‘tennis elbow’ which has caused him consistent pain. “You can feel it’s a kind of problem, during the day you don’t feel it so much but then when you go to bed or then you wake up, then you can feel it, so I had to work on that. But [the luminescent colors] look good, no?”
***David Heinemeier Hansson is likely to move back to LMP2 next year, after a season in GTE-Am in the Abu Dhabi Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR. The Dane told Sportscar365 that he’s evaluating options to remain in the WEC. He last drove in LMP2 in 2015 with Tequila Patron ESM, and before then in 2012-2013, with OAK Racing, prior to his one-year GTE-Am championship-winning stint with Aston Martin Racing in 2014.
***Heinmeier Hanssson’s co-driver, Khaled al Qubaisi, meanwhile, is likely to be testing with Aston Martin Racing in Sunday’s Rookie Test. It’s understood al Qubaisi is unlikely to return to Proton, due to the uncompetitive nature of the Porsche in GTE-Am.
***Proton team boss Christian Ried told Sportscar365 he’s unsure how many cars they’ll have on the grid next year. The German squad currently fields three Porsches, with the Dempsey-Proton entry definitely not returning in GTE-Pro, but Ried indicating they may end up with only one GTE-Am entry for himself as a driver.
***Richard Lietz expressed concerns that the uncompetitive BoP for the Porsche could result in it disappearing from the GTE-Am class altogether next year. “If you have a BoP and you make one car so slow, then no customers will come,” he told Sportscar365.
***With uncertainty in the Porsche camp and Francois Perrodo moving to LMP2, the GTE-Am grid could only feature a handful of cars next year. Only Paul Dalla Lana’s Aston Martin has been confirmed.
***Rebellion Racing is targeting an entry for January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, although team manager Bart Hayden said the program has not been confirmed and could depend on car availability. Hayden said a decision will be taken before the Dec. 2 entry deadline. The team has so far announced the purchase of two Oreca 07 Gibsons, but not a specific race program(s).
James Newbold contributed to this report