***RGR Sport scored its first pole, in front of a home crowd, with an impressive qualifying effort from Bruno Senna and Ricardo Gonzalez. Senna’s time was 0.768 seconds quicker than the nearest competition. “Everything worked out and I’m extremely excited about this result in front of the Mexican crowd,” Gonzalez said.
***The team rebounded from engine issues in Free Practice 3, which saw its No. 43 Ligier JS P2 Nissan complete only 13 laps at the tail end of the 60-minute session.
***Audi’s 2017 LMP1 program has not yet been formally confirmed, according to Head of Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “There is no program committed for next year. It has to be done. As always, it would come in September-October-November,” Ullrich told Sportscar365.
***Ullrich said Audi’s recently announced venture into Formula E is an “additional project” to its other factory efforts in the WEC and DTM. “I hope that we can run these three programs but the decisions for the programs in the future has to be taken,” he said.
***The No. 6 Toyota TS050 Hybrid returned to action Friday after undergoing a monocoque change due to Stephane Sarrazin’s heavy accident in the Collective Test, which damaged the left-front. Toyota Gazoo Racing technical director Pascal Vasselon told Sportscar365 that the crew worked until 10 p.m. on Thursday on the rebuild.
***But all has not been right with the No. 6 Toyota since, with gearbox issues plaguing the car, which qualified sixth in the hands of Sarrazin and Mike Conway. Vasselon said the issues are not linked to the rebuild.
***Vasselon said he anticipates Anthony Davidson to return to the wheel of the No. 5 Toyota for the next round at Circuit of The Americas. “That’s the target,” he told Sportscar365. “We didn’t put any pressure on Anthony to run simply because we want him to be ready for Austin. Because in Austin we need three drivers.”
***Davidson’s accident, in a test at Magny-Cours last month, was repordidely a 30G impact that resulted in the Englishman sustaining bruised ribs. The injury typically takes six weeks to fully heal, which falls into perfect timing for COTA.
***Toyota used the test at Magny-Cours to validate new engine parts following continued reliability issues at the Nürburgring. Both cars are outfitted with new engine parts this weekend. “It was a new process to produce some engine parts,” Vasselon said. “It’s nothing affecting performance. just reliability.”
***Like Davidson at Toyota, Head of Audi LMP Stefan Dreyer said he expects Benoit Treluyer to return to race action at COTA. Treluyer is continuing to recover from a back injury from a mountain bike accident. “With the injury like that you always have to be careful. With the strength and the fitness, there’s some time needed,” Dreyer told Sportscar365.
***Dreyer stressed the importance of a three-driver lineup for COTA, due to the heat, but would not confirm considerations of a reserve driver on standby for the event. “In Austin it will be very important to have three drivers because it’s quite hot. But for here, it was the right decision,” he said.
***The No. 13 Rebellin R-One AER, the sole Rebellion Racing entry this weekend and for the remainder of the season, has consistently been the quickest car in the speed traps, having been clocked at 203 mph in FP3, some 6 mph quicker than the next quickest car, the No. 8 Audi R18.
***Rebellion team manager Bart Hayden told Sportscar365 they are running the highest downforce package available to the R-One this weekend, and will do so for the rest of the season. “It’s been quite different here operating with the one car. It’s reminded me a little bit about when we were in America,” Hayden told Sportscar365.
***The third driver for the No. 4 ByKolles Racing CLM P1/01 AER for COTA is still being determined, according to Head of Operations Boris Bermes, who told Sportscar365 they are in discussions with multiple drivers to join Simon Trummer and Oliver Webb. Team regular Pierre Kaffer will be on Blancpain GT Endurance Cup duty at the Nürburgring that weekend.
***It’s understood Manor’s second Oreca 05 Nissan may not return for COTA, despite being on the provisional entry list. The British squad scaled back a single entry this weekend due to issues with the car at the Nürburgring.
***The Six Hours of Mexico will be televised live on FOX Sports 2, beginning Saturday at 2:30 p.m. ET. Bob Varsha and Calvin Fish will provide the call, with FS2 carrying the action from 2:30-5:30 p.m. and the finish from 7-8:30 p.m. ET.
***In Europe, MotorsTV will be carrying the entire race live. Eurosport will be showing a 75-minute highlights package on Sunday at 8:30 a.m. UK time, presented by Mark Cole and Stuart Hall. Click Here for the full global TV distribution schedule.