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COTA Wednesday Notebook

John Dagys’ Wednesday notebook from COTA…

Photo: John Dagys

***This weekend’s Six Hours of Circuit of The Americas is likely to be the final for the FIA World Endurance Championship at the Texan venue. While there’s still a to-be-confirmed date in the 2018/19 ‘Super Season’ schedule, Sportscar365 understands it has likely gone to Silverstone, with an announcement expected this weekend.

***It comes after talks broke down with Ricardo Gonzalez, the promoter for the Mexico City race, who elected not to continue funding the Six Hours of Mexico for a third season, with a return to Interlagos also reportedly not materializing as well. WEC CEO Gerard Neveu told Sportscar365 that three venues were in contention for the February 2019 slot, which is now set to be moved up to August 2018, prior to the Asian leg of the ‘Super Season’.

***The COTA entry list remains largely unchanged since Mexico City, with the exception of the No. 8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid, which sees Stephane Sarrazin replace Anthony Davidson, due to “personal reasons” for the Englishman, who struggled for pace in the most recent round.

***It marks Sarrazin’s third WEC race of the year, all coming in different Toyota LMP1 entries. The Frenchman was in the No. 9 Toyota at Spa, prior to swapping seats with Jose Maria Lopez at Le Mans, which saw him move to the No. 7 car.

***The No. 97 Aston Martin Vantage GTE of Darren Turner, Jonny Adam and Daniel Serra returns to Valero colors this weekend (pictured above) as it traditionally has for the UK and British rounds. It’s believed COTA could be Serra’s final outing in the car this season.

***The Astons are carrying #AstonRed10 graphics this weekend, in support of the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund. One of the ten new Aston Martin Cambridge-commissioned Vanquish S Red Arrow cars is being raffled off, with all donations going directly to the fund. Click Here for more information.

***Prodrive Managing Director of Motorsport John Gaw said the WEC’s ‘Super Season’ schedule shouldn’t give them much of a challenge with the development curve of its yet-to-be-announced new Vantage GTE car, which was recently caught testing. “If there was a rumor of a new car coming next year, then surely a [delayed start to the season] might help, because it would give you more time,” Gaw told Sportscar365 in Mexico.

***Technical stewards have cracked down on the refueling times in GTE, having released a bulletin confirming that the complete refueling time must be 35 seconds for GTE-Pro and 45 seconds for GTE-Am. Each team is now responsible for testing and finding the refueling restrictor on their own, instead of a specific size for each manufacturer mandated by the FIA.

***Should refueling be deemed quicker than the minimum time, the car will be reported to the stewards, for a likely penalty.

***After the travel dramas many UK-based drivers and support staff faced getting to Mexico, a number of German-based crew, including senior-level Toyota staff, arrived in Austin one day late following a Houston-bound Lufthansa flight that returned to Frankfurt due to engine issues. Toyota Gazoo Racing technical director Pascal Vasselon was among those on the flight.

***WEC teams will operate without the American-style pit wall at COTA for the first time for the entire weekend. The wall was in place for the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and IMSA support events in previous years before being removed between races.

***This weekend also marks the first standalone WEC race in the U.S., with the four previous shared events with IMSA at COTA in 2013-16 and the combined race with the American Le Mans Series at Sebring in 2012.

***The WEC, however, still has a strong support bill, in the World Series Formula V8 3.5, Ferrari Challenge North America and the F4 U.S. Championship powered by Honda.

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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