***A total of 31 cars are set for this weekend’s season-ending Six Hours of Bahrain, in what marks the end of an era on two fronts, with Mark Webber’s final race, as well as the final outing for Audi’s factory prototype program after a 18-year run.
***There’s been a handful of driver changes since the last round in Shanghai, particularly in LMP2, with Tom Dillmann and Giedo Van Der Garde in the No. 30 Extreme Speed Motorsports Ligier JS P2 Nissan and Julien Canal and Roberto Merhi in the No. 45 Manor Oreca 05 Nissan.
***Additionally, Jonny Adam will make his first start with Aston Martin Racing since the 24 Hours of Le Mans, in the No. 97 Vantage GTE.
***European Le Mans Series LMP3 standout Thomas Laurent will test the Signatech Alpine A460 Nissan in Sunday’s WEC Rookie Test. The 18-year-old Frenchman, who won ELMS Rookie-of-the-Year honors, also drives for DC Racing in the Asian Le Mans Series.
***Mike Guasch and Alex Brundle will test one of the Manor Oreca 05 Nissans on Sunday, courtesy of their ELMS LMP3 championship with United Autosports. Guasch is flying directly from this week’s IMSA test in Daytona after driving the Ligier JS P217 Gibson for the first time.
***Guasch told Sportscar365 he’s in discussions with United Autosports on the possibility of being part of the team’s 24 Hours of Le Mans effort in LMP2 next year, having helped secure the auto-invite due to he, Brundle and Christian England’s LMP3 title.
***Paul-Loup Chatin may end up holding the honor of driving the Audi R18 for the final time in official capacity, as the Frenchman has been selected to test the diesel-powered LMP1 hybrid on Sunday. Gustavo Menezes and Pipo Derani will test for Porsche and Toyota, respectively.
***Others set to test on Sunday include Mazda Road to Indy drivers Patricio O’Ward and Will Owen in the RGR Sport Ligier JS P2 Nissan, Tom Jackson and Felix Serralles in G-Drive’s Oreca 05 Nissan and no fewer than six drivers between two Aston Martin Vantage GTE cars.
***G-Drive’s Oreca Nissan is sporting a revised livery this weekend, with the addition of DHL. The worldwide shipping carrier has a major distribution center based in Manama.
***Head of Audi LMP, Stefan Dreyer has admitted that the 2017-spec Audi R18, codenamed RP7, was nearly complete prior to the decision to end its factory program. “Obviously it had not tested yet but it was very far in development and very far in getting it built,” Dreyer told Sportscar365. “I think it would have been the car to beat.”
***Through the 500-plus staff that have played a part in Audi’s 18-year run in prototype racing, a total of nine people have been with the program since its start at Sebring in 1999: Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, Reinhold Joest, Ralf Juttner, Ulrich Baretzky, Hubert Neumann, Michael Schlemmer, Michael Werner and Siggi Hausberger and PR rep Martyn Pass.
***Aston Martin has made available a collector set of its “wings” used in the WEC this year. Limited to 250 pieces worldwide, each collection is framed and includes all nine iconic ‘WEC’ wings badges mounted on a clean white mount. They are priced at £3,750 GBP and available via the Aston Martin online store, Aston Martin dealers or the marque’s London Mayfair boutique at No. 8 Dover St.