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Fuji Friday Notebook

John Dagys’ Friday notebook from Fuji Speedway…

Photo: Adrena Media/FIA WEC

Photo: Adrenal Media/FIA WEC

***Friday’s pre-event press conference took on a different feel when children from the Ashigara Elementary School joined the international media in asking questions to a FIA World Endurance Championship drivers, including local hero Kazuki Nakajima.

***Children from a number of local schools have made visits to Fuji Speedway this week, with their racing-inspired artwork on display throughout the paddock and media center.

***Audi has debuted a revised nose for its R18 e-tron quattro this weekend. LMP1 rival Porsche, meanwhile, tested its 919 Hybrid in both low and high downforce configurations on Friday.

***The WEC will be selecting three drivers that will get a chance to test for Audi, Porsche and Toyota in next month’s LMP1 Rookie Test in Bahrain. “The criteria is to create a real ladder and show that for drivers there’s a real opportunity to race in endurance,” ACO Sporting Director Vincent Beaumesnil told Sportscar365.

***An announcement on the driver selection is expected for tomorrow. Beaumesnil told Sportscar365 that all cars taking part in the Six Hours of Bahrain will be eligible to test, with teams from the other classes not having any restrictions on drivers.

***Beaumesnil confirmed minor changes in the regulations for LMP1 and LMP2 cars for next year, including added safety measures, such as revised rear view mirror and larger wheel cut-outs in the wake of further FIA safety studies.

***AMR team principal John Gaw has supported the latest round of Balance of Performance changes to the GTE class, which sees the Aston Martin Vantage V8s gain back some of its post-Le Mans restrictor reduction. “Hopefully, it will lead to another fantastic race and we can see ourselves battle it out with the Ferraris, Porsches and Corvette in both GTE classes,” Gaw said.

***With changing conditions expected this weekend, including an 80 percent chance of rain on Sunday, Michelin is expecting its LMP1 technical partner teams to utilize up to four different types of tires.

***The French tire giant has brought soft ‘high temperature’ and ‘low temperature’ slicks, in addition to its Michelin Hybrid for damp/drying conditions, as well as Wets and Full Wets for LMP1 machinery this weekend.

***Four different Michelin tire constructions will be on offer in GTE-Pro and GTE-Am, with all three classes permitted to use no more than six sets of dry tires in the race. Michelin has 2,300 tires available for its partner teams this weekend in the WEC.

***Audi has provided a refreshed line of safety and track cars to the FIA WEC, which debuted at the Nürburgring. Surprisingly, the cars have yet to be used in race action in the two races since.

***P1 Groupe has partnered with Morand Racing to become the team’s official U.S. motorsports partner for contract dealings. The Orlando-based firm brokered the deal to put Chris Cumming in the team’s Morgan-Judd for the final three races of the season and are already in discussions on placing other North American-based drivers for 2016.

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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