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Bahrain Thursday Notebook

John Dagys’ Thursday notebook from Bahrain International Circuit…

Photo: John Dagys

***Saturday’s Six Hours of Bahrain will mark the 50th FIA World Endurance Championship race. Three drivers: Andre Lotterer, Darren Turner and Christian Ried, have competed in all 49 races to date, which dates back to the first race at Sebring in 2012.

***Porsche has a chance to surpass Audi for all-time WEC LMP1 wins. Both manufacturers are currently tied with 17 victories apiece since the championship’s launch in 2012. Porsche, however, has a higher win percentage ratio, 48.6 percent over Audi’s 41.4 percent.

***This weekend will mark the final event for Denis Chevrier, who has resigned as FIA Technical Delegate. It comes as the latest shakeup in FIA/WEC staff, following FIA Technical Director Bernard Niclot’s departure in September and Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones’ stepping down as President of the FIA Endurance Committee. 

***Owen-Jones, however, is expected to be present this weekend, for his final race as well. Rumors, meanwhile, have persisted of another top ACO/WEC executive’s departure by years’ end as well.

***The level of interest in the future LMP1 regulations has been higher than expected. Sportscar365 has learned there has been at least five manufacturers involved in recent working group meetings, including representatives from Toyota, Ford and McLaren. 

***The FIA and ACO have set a deadline of next March to determine the shape of the regulations and year of its introduction. It was previously understood details of the 2020/21 regulations would be presented at the next World Motor Sport Council meeting on Dec. 6, and still could be.

***According to a document distributed to teams during the Shanghai weekend, the two main guidelines for the new regs is a reduction in budgets and maintaining the technical innovation at the “heart of endurance racing.” An effort will also be made to create closer competition between factory and privateer teams.

***Additionally, it’s been revealed that only WEC teams competing in the entire 2018/19 ‘Super Season’ will be invited to both 24 Hours of Le Mans races that season. The only exception would come in the case of force majeure at the FIA/ACO’s discretion.

***Porsche LMP1 driver Brendon Hartley has been confirmed in a full-time Formula 1 seat for 2018. Hartley was a surprise debutant for Scuderia Toro Rosso at the United States Grand Prix last month, but has impressed enough to secure a drive for 2018, marking a return to single-seaters upon the closure of the Porsche program.

***World Series Formula V8 3.5 title contender Egor Orudzhev has not traveled to Bahrain after coming down with acute tonsillitis. Orudzhev had been in contention to appear in the Rookie Test on Sunday as a prize for a top-three finish in the single-seater support series.

***The champion will be rewarded with a test in the Porsche 919 Hybrid, with the runner-up and third-place finisher getting tests with the LMP2 and GTE-Pro champion teams respectively. Backed by SMP Racing, Orudzhev had also been due to help launch the new BR Engineering LMP1 car on Friday evening.

***USF2000 driver Rinus VeeKay is set to turn laps in one of the Jackie Chan DC Racing x Jota Sport Oreca 07 Gibsons on Sunday. The 17-year-old Dutchman is backed by the JUMBO supermarket chain, which sponsors Racing Team Nederland’s Dallara P217 Gibson in the European Le Mans Series.

***Steven Armstrong, the group vice president and president of Ford Europe, Middle East and Africa, will be in attendance on Saturday, in support of Harry Tincknell and Andy Priaulx, who will be in contention for the GT Drivers’ World Championship in the No. 67 Ford GT. Armstrong shares a similar role in the region to the newly promoted Raj Nair, who heads up Ford North America.

***The Lola Technical Center, which includes its wind tunnel, is being put up for sale. Former Lola Group owner Martin Birrane currently owns the complex, which has continued to be utilized for motorsports development, including recent wind tunnel time for Multimatic’s Mazda RT24-P.

***The 24 Hours of Le Mans official film will premiere next Thursday at the Mega CGR Saint-Saturnin in Le Mans. A nuymber of drivers, including this year’s winners Earl Bamber, Thomas Laurent and Ho-Pin Tung, will be in attendance. 

Luke Smith contributed to this report

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John


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