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Mexico City Thursday Notebook

John Dagys’ Thursday notebook from Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

***Toyota’s move to its spare monocoque for the No. 6 Toyota TS050 Hybrid leaves the Japanese manufacturer with no additional spare tub this weekend. A team spokesperson told Sportscar365 they plan to air-freight a new spare tub to Austin for the next round of the championship.

***FIA WEC CEO Gerard Neveu told Sportscar365 that the 2017 schedule will be released by the World Motor Sport Council later this month. Neveu confirmed intentions of remaining with nine rounds, but there’s been persistent rumors indicating at least one possible change to the calendar.

***Neveu downplayed talk of a new event at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which has been rumored to replace Circuit of The Americas. What’s known is that the joint IMSA/WEC weekend will not continue at COTA, with IMSA having moved to a feature event in early May. The Pirelli World Challenge weekend at COTA on Sept. 1-3, 2017 will also not feature WEC, which leaves its only option as a standalone event at the Texas circuit.

***Tequila Patron decals are on the No. 43 RGR Sport Ligier JS P2 Nissan this weekend (pictured above), as part of its partnership with event promoter Invicta, which is owned by Ricardo Gonzalez.

***More than 700 guests and employees of Patron will be attending the race on Saturday. Every bottle of Patron is produced at its hacienda in Jalisco, some 350 miles northwest of Mexico City. Patron also has a number of displays at the fan village at the track.

***Drivers are predicting Saturday’s race to be one of the toughest yet, in terms of traffic, and closing speeds, particularly for LMP1 drivers. “The track has too many slow corners for LMP1 cars, which are especially made for Le Mans,” Audi’s Lucas Di Grassi said. “This is the only downside. You have these corners all in first and second gear.”

***The altitude has also affected performance for LMP2 and GTE cars, which now have nearly identical top speeds. Tequila Patron ESM’s Ryan Dalziel told Sportscar365 they’re having problems passing GTE cars on the straights, with the only realistic opportunities coming under braking.

***Mexico City marks the first of five consecutive flyaway races for WEC teams. Cars and equipment are air-freighted around the world, except for sea freight between Japan and China. Ford Chip Ganassi Racing has traveled with 20 tons of equipment, in addition to its two Ford GTs. That equates to six large pallets of air freight, or two 40-foot sea-freight containers.

***While the majority of the LMP2 grid next year is expected to run new machinery from Onroak and ORECA, it’s understood Multimatic-Riley has been in negotiations with at least two teams for potential WEC programs next year.

***At least two Dallara LMP2 cars could be on the WEC grid in 2017 as well, one potentially with a high-profile open-wheel team. One existing WEC LMP2 squad is also exploring a switch to the Italian constructor.

***A total of ten Riley Mk. 30 cars will be built by the first quarter of 2017, with an option for an additional ten to be produced by the end of the year.

***It’s understood Dome has abandoned plans to build a LMP3 car, which had initially been announced last year. It leaves five approved LMP3 constructors (Onroak Automotive, ADESS, Ginetta, Ave-Riley and Norma).

***Mark Raffauf, IMSA’s Director of Racing Platforms, is on-site this weekend, on business duties, ahead of the joint WEC/IMSA weekend at COTA later this month. Raffauf has largely been focused on development of the DPi platform, which will debut next year in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

***A handful of Mexican drivers, not driving this weekend, have been spotted at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, including Adrian Fernandez and Michel Jourdain Jr.

Laurent Mercier contributed to this report

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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