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Fuji Saturday Notebook

John Dagys’ Saturday notebook from Fuji Speedway…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

***Changes in the red flag procedure are in the works, in the wake of the last round at Circuit of The Americas, which saw a number of cars held in the pitlane and lose up to two laps following the resumption of racing. Further details are to follow, with the changes to possibly take effect for the next round in Shanghai.

***Race Director Eduardo Freitas confirmed during the drivers’ meeting that Shanghai will also see the re-introduction of Slow Zones, which debuted in this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. Full Course Yellow procedures, meanwhile, were put into action twice during Free Practice this weekend and will also be used in upcoming races should conditions warrant it.

***The No. 35 OAK Racing Morgan-Judd will start from the rear of the field after it was found to have a larger-than-permitted air restrictor. The Alex Brundle, Gustavo Yacaman and Keiko Ihara-driven entry must also serve a stop/go penalty during the race on the order of the race director.

***The No. 37 SMP Racing Oreca 03 Nissan will face a three-minute stop-and-hold penalty during tomorrow’s race due to the team switching engines for the fourth time this year. Per LMP2 rules, each car is only allowed to use up to three engines per season.

***Henri Pescarolo is the Grand Marshal for tomorrow’s Six Hours of Fuji. The four-time Le Mans winner was one of the first European drivers to race at Fuji, having taken part in a race here in 1968 with a two-liter March.

***Toyota Racing’s Pascal Vasselon revealed they expect to announce their 2015 driver lineup shortly before the next round in Shanghai. He stressed the driver situation is “under control” despite rumors of at least one of its current pilots potentially headed to Nissan.

***Vasselon confirmed that Nicolas Lapierre, who is absent this weekend due to personal reasons, has been given a contract proposal for 2015. He said it’s unclear if Lapierre will return for Shanghai. Mike Conway, who made his race debut at COTA, will be in the No. 7 car at Bahrain, subbing again for Kazuki Nakajima. Vasselon said his future with the team will be decided soon.

***Toyota, meanwhile, could expand into LMP2 engine supply in the new-for-2017 global prototype regulations, with  representative from TMG having attended the recent manufacturers’ meeting. “We’re keeping an eye on the regulations,” Vasselon said. “We could have a business case to develop an engine for this category. Nothing is decided just yet”

***ACO Sporting Director Vincent Beaumesnil confirmed to Sportscar365 the initial global driver ratings list will be released at the end of November. Drivers will then have two weeks to submit an appeal, with officials from the FIA, ACO, IMSA and SRO finalizing the 2015 list by early December.

***After having received a number of proposals, Beaumesnil hasn’t ruled out a Garage 56 entry for next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, although it would have to feature technology not currently seen on the grid.  “With the LMP1 rules, we have brought the category to a very high level of technology and we will not take a Garage 56 [entry] that comes with something similar to LMP1,” he said.

***Bret Curtis, who makes his FIA WEC debut this weekend in the No. 61 AF Corse Ferrari, says a full-season program is one of his options for next year. “I think because the budgets got so big in TUDOR, it’s opened up a lot of American’s eyes to look at a series like WEC,” he said.

***The 2015 European Le Mans Series schedule will be released during next weekend’s season finale in Estoril. No major changes are expected, with Silverstone already confirmed to open the season on April 11 as part of the double-header weekend with the FIA WEC.

***Audi will announce a new motorsports program on Oct. 17 during the DTM season-ending round at Hockenheim. It’s expected not to be directly tied to any of the German manufacturer’s existing sports car programs in LMP1 and GT3 customer racing.

***Watch the Six Hours of Fuji on the FIA WEC App beginning Sunday at 11 a.m. local (Saturday 10 p.m. ET). Live timing and scoring will be available at: Be sure to download Andy Blackmore’s Spotter’s Guide for the race to help follow all of the action as well.

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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