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Monza Friday Notebook

Sportscar365’s Friday notebook from the first day of track action at Monza…

Photo: MPS Agency

***Peugeot unveiled its 9X8 presentation car to the press on Friday afternoon, following its virtual launch last week. Peugeot’s Le Mans Hypercar project leaders were joined by senior figures from the FIA World Endurance Championship for the reveal.

***Peugeot expects to receive its first LMH monocoque in September, three months before track testing is due to start. “We don’t design the monocoque in-house,” Peugeot technical director Olivier Jansonnie told Sportscar365. “We do all the specification and we follow very closely our suppliers. At this stage, the monocoque lamination has started.” Jansonnie wouldn’t disclose the monocoque supplier.

***Cetilar Racing’s AF Corse crew spent Friday afternoon and evening working to repair front-end damage to its No. 47 Ferrari 488 GTE Evo after a crash for Roberto Lacorte at the second Lesmo during Free Practice 1. The team stated that there was a “technical problem”, while Lacorte was unhurt and seen walking around the paddock after the session.

***Jim Glickenhaus explained why his team’s No. 709 SCG 007 LMH stopped during FP1: “There was an electrical connector that just shut the system down,” he told Sportscar365. “For safety, we told him to go outside and look at the car because he was getting a fuel pressure indication. We just wanted to check that there wasn’t a leak. We switched to a different fuel pump and it was fine.”

***The recently announced Bahrain double-header, which will close out the current WEC season, has garnered interest from some guest teams in the paddock, based on the cost-saving provided by doing back-to-back races in the Gulf island nation.

***Asked about potential post-Le Mans outings, Risi Competizione LMP2 team manager Gary Holland said: “The Bahrain double-header is interesting now because there’s an awful lot of track time for what will be relatively good value for money, with the rookie test as well. It’s on the horizon but nothing is confirmed. We’re going to concentrate on this weekend.”

***Neel Jani is set for his first race at Monza since the 2005 GP2 Series round, where he took a win. The Porsche GTE-Pro driver represented the German marque’s LMP1 team in the 2017 WEC Prologue at Monza but has not competed at the venue in 16 years.

***Four other WEC drivers – Alpine’s Nicolas Lapierre, Glickenhaus pilot Olivier Pla, Toyota’s Jose Maria Lopez and AF Corse’s Toni Vilander – raced against Jani on the 2005 GP2 Monza grid.

***The No. 709 Glickenhaus LMH is sporting one of Goodwood’s recognizable silver stickers following its participation in the Festival of Speed last week. That chassis also conducted SCG’s most recent test at Paul Ricard, while the No. 708 chassis was rebuilt to account for a 20 kg weight saving that was made after the vehicle’s crash test.

***Ryan Briscoe is on-site supporting Glickenhaus this weekend despite being shuffled out of the team’s Hypercar lineup after the 8 Hours of Portimao. The team’s Le Mans crew is set to be decided after Monza.

***Toyota’s pre-Le Mans shakedown test at Spa is currently a “question mark” according to the team’s technical director Pascal Vasselon, in light of recent severe flooding in Belgium. “At the moment it’s a bit of a question mark because Spa city has been damaged by the flooding and the circuit itself has been flooded again,” Vasselon told Sportscar365.

***Vasselon reckons that traffic management should be easier for the Hypercars on Monza’s long straights compared to Portimao. “It was very difficult in Portimao,” he said. “The leading car spent six laps behind the leading LMP2. Here it should be easier.”

***Lamborghini’s head of motorsport Giorgio Sanna visited Monza on Friday morning. The Italian manufacturer, which is based just 200 km southeast of Monza in Sant’Agata Bolognese, has been evaluating an LMDh program in recent months.

***The Rinaldi Racing Ferrari 488 GTE Evo is a new chassis that the German outfit took delivery of six weeks ago, according to team boss Michele Rinaldi. The chassis belongs to Bronze-rated driver Pierre Ehret. Rinaldi tested the car at Paul Ricard and Monza prior to its WEC debut this weekend. It is running the car without external support, using members of its GT3 crew.

***Juan Pablo Montoya is keen for DragonSpeed to take its first LMP2 Pro-Am win after finishing third at Spa and second at Portimao: “We’ve been in positions to win races and we’ve kind of thrown them away,” said the 2019 IMSA DPi champion. “It’s been kind of painful to say that we’ve thrown away some results. We’ve been doing a lot of work and changes on the car and it’s been nice.”

***The WEC is running a competition with three Michelin ‘fan packs’ up for grabs. The packs include signed winners’ caps from the Hypercar category. Details on entering the competition, which ends on July 23, can be found here.

***Former LMP1 driver Charlie Robertson is joining the Eurosport commentary team for Sunday’s race. Robertson, who contested part of the 2019-20 WEC season with Team LNT and Ginetta, will work alongside Mark Cole and Tom Gaymor. Eurosport is broadcasting the race in full.

***Saturday’s track action starts with Free Practice 2 at 9:30 a.m. local time (3:30 a.m. EST). The 90-minute session will be followed by FP3 at 2 p.m. (8 a.m. EST) and qualifying at 6 p.m. (12 p.m. EST).

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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