***There’s been increased talk about the possible addition of a ninth round for 2016, which has received mixed reactions in the paddock. Privateer entrants, such as Rebellion Racing’s Bart Hayden voiced concerns for an expanded schedule, while it’s believed at least two manufacturers are in favor of an additional round.
***The 2016 schedule will be released on Saturday at the earliest, with WEC CEO Gerard Neveu still working on finalizing one undisclosed event, which may or may not be tied to the rumored additional round for next year.
***Tequila Patron ESM showed considerable improvements in Free Practice 1, with the pair of Ligier JS P2 Hondas ending the session second and third quickest in class, and only a half-second adrift from the pace-setting KCMG Oreca 05 Nissan. Scott Sharp proclaimed it being their best session of the season.
***A proposal has been put forth for further tire limitations for LMP1 competitors next year, which could see the prototypes only allocated four sets of tires during a six-hour race, the same limitation currently enforced in LMP2.
***LMP1 teams currently are allowed six sets of tires at most rounds, with the exception of Shanghai, Bahrain and the Nürburgring, where up to eight sets are permitted. The proposal also calls for a reduction to only three sets of tires for Free Practice.
***Marco Seefried and Khaled Al Qubaisi gained experience of the circuit last week in a test at the wheel of a Dempsey Porsche 911 GT America GTD car. It marked Seefried’s first laps of the 3.427-mile circuit. A handful of other IMSA teams were also in attendance.
***Toyota’s Kazuki Nakajima makes his first trip to COTA this weekend, after missing the last two outings. Mike Conway filled in for the Japanese driver, who had Super Formula commitments last year, while Toyota fielded only a single LMP1 entry in 2013.
***Nic Minassian is here this weekend, although not driving. The Frenchman is supporting his SMP Racing team, which currently leads the GTE-Am championship. Minassian told Sportscar365 the Russian squad continues to evaluate a U.S. debut for the BR01 prototype at Daytona, and possibly Sebring as well.
***Reinhold Joest has has received the Golden Pin of Honor of the Bergstraße County for his achievements and commitment to his native Odenwald region of Germany. Joest has recorded 15 victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans as a team owner, including 11 with Audi.
***The Mayor of Austin hosted a reception last night at City Hall, which featured a number of WEC and IMSA dignitaries, including series boss Gerard Neveu, WEC North American representative Andrew Craig, as well as various WEC drivers and team principals.