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Bahrain Wednesday Notebook

John Dagys’ Wednesday notebook from Bahrain International Circuit…

Photo: Jose Bispo/JB Photo

***A total of 31 cars are set for this weekend’s 6 Hours of Bahrain following the withdrawal of the No. 46 Team Project 1 Porsche 911 RSR-19 due to lack of available funded drivers. The German squad is working to field the car in next weekend’s eight-hour season finale.

***This weekend’s event serves as the replacement round for the canceled 6 Hours of Fuji, resulting in the first time in WEC history there will be races held on consecutive weekends at the same circuit.

***Gabriel Aubry has been a late addition to the No. 1 Richard Mille Racing Oreca 07 Gibson in what had initially been intended to be a two-driver lineup with Sophia Floersch and Beitske Visser. Tatiana Calderon is unavailable this weekend due to her Super Formula commitments in Suzuka but is slated to return for the eight-hour.

***Aubry will become only the second male driver to be part of the female-led Richard Mille Racing initiative. Andre Negrao took part in the opening two European Le Mans Series races of the season last year following Katherine Legge’s pre-season testing accident.

***It now means all 11 of the LMP2 entries will feature three-driver lineups this weekend.

***Saturday’s race, which runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. local time, marks the first Bahrain event to be run entirely during daytime hours, with heat expected to play a factor. Ambient temperatures are forecast to be in excess of 32 degrees Celsius (90 degrees Fahrenheit).

***Toyota Gazoo Racing is poised to clinch the Hypercar World Endurance Championship title this weekend with a third place finish for one of its Toyota GR010 Hybrids. The Japanese manufacturer holds a 51-point lead over Alpine Endurance Team, with a total of 65 points on offer in the final two races.

***It would mark Toyota’s third consecutive world title, although the points race in the Hypercar World Endurance Drivers’ Championship will go down to next weekend, with only nine points separating the 24 Hours of Le Mans-winning crew of Jose Maria Lopez, Kamui Kobyashi and Mike Conway from the No. 8 car of Brendon Hartley, Kazuki Nakajima and Sebastien Buemi.

***Legge is set for her second WEC start of the season as part of Iron Lynx’s No. 85 Ferrari 488 GTE Evo, replacing Michelle Gatting, who contested the races in between in the all-female lineup.

***Porsche GT Team will utilize its typical two-driver lineup in GTE-Pro this weekend before expanding to three-driver rosters for the eight-hour, which sees Fred Makowiecki (No. 91) and Michael Christensen (No. 92) rejoin the team after previous outings in Portimao and Le Mans.

***AF Corse does not have third drivers currently planned for the eight-hour finale next week.

***Only 13 points separate the top four teams in the LMP2 championship, currently led by the No. 28 Jota Sport trio of Stoffel Vandoorne, Sean Gelael and Tom Blomqvist. A total of 23 drivers and eight teams are still in mathematical contention for the championship.

***As was the case in Portimao, next weekend’s race will pay out 1.5x points.

***In addition to the previously announced Jamie Chadwick and Alice Powell, Alpine Elf Europa Cup driver Lilou Wadoux will also take part in the Bahrain Rookie Test in Richard Mille Racing’s LMP2 car.

***Teams have until Sunday to nominate drivers with the entry list being released by the WEC on Tuesday. 

***The 2021 season prize-giving ceremonies will be held in the Bahrain paddock following the conclusion of next Saturday’s race. A large structure is currently under construction that will be used for the event.

***Bahrain’s traditional BBQ welcome party did not occur Wednesday evening due to COVID-19 protocols. All credentialed people working the event were subject to a PCR test upon arrival at the airport, with additional testing every five days while in the country.

***The WEC is operating under Version 4 of its COVID-19 health protocol this weekend, which includes minor tweaks specific to Bahrain. The Kingdom is currently in the ‘Green’ phase of its COVID-19 alert levels, meaning the rolling 14-day testing average of new cases is below 2 percent.

***In-person press conferences will return to the WEC for the first time since the onset of the pandemic. Previously, pole-sitting and winning driver interviews were recorded by the FIA and WEC media delegates and streamed live to the media.

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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