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Monza Thursday Notebook

Sportscar365’s Thursday notebook ahead of the WEC 6 Hours of Monza…

Photo: MPS Agency

***The FIA World Endurance Championship is staging a race at Monza for the first time this weekend, for what will also be the series’ first round in Italy. The six-hour race evokes memories of the Monza 1000km which stood as a round of the World Sportscar Championship.

***Monza is the 12th different circuit to host a WEC race. It is the championship’s first visit to the Italian circuit since 2017 when the Prologue pre-season test temporarily moved from Paul Ricard to Monza.

***A total of nine teams that took part in the 2017 WEC Prologue at Monza are here this weekend. They are Toyota Gazoo Racing, Alpine/Signatech, JOTA, Porsche GT Team, AF Corse, GR Racing, TDS Racing, Aston Martin Racing and Dempsey-Proton.

***The Risi Competizione Oreca 07 Gibson broke cover in its race livery on Thursday. The car that will be driven by Felipe Nasr, Oliver Jarvis and Ryan Cullen features a familiar main color for the experienced Ferrari squad. Risi tested at Silverstone recently in preparation for its first race with the Oreca.

***Several teams remained at Monza after last weekend’s European Le Mans Series round. JOTA, Racing Team Nederland and Realteam Racing all guested during last Sunday’s four-hour race, although their Orecas are now running in the WEC-mandated low-downforce trim after operating in high-downforce spec for ELMS. DragonSpeed, United Autosports, Team WRT, Inter Europol Competition, AF Corse, Iron Lynx, Proton and TF Sport are also running back-to-back Monza gigs.

***Glickenhaus, meanwhile, has come to Monza straight from the Goodwood Festival of Speed where it sent an SCG 007 LMH up the famous British hill climb with Romain Dumas behind the wheel. Glickenhaus also tested an 007 at Paul Ricard last week ahead of its first race outing with both of its non-hybrid Hypercars.

***Monza is set to be a crucial step in Goodyear’s preparations for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, according to the company’s endurance program manager Mike McGregor: “By the end of a long straight, tire temperatures have dropped, and then they have high load going through them with braking into the chicane, the long right-handed Parabolica, or corners like Lesmo 1 and 2. Drawing the similarities between these parts of the Monza track, and the Mulsanne Straight and its chicanes at Le Mans, really helps our understanding ahead of next month.”

***The Goodyear Blimp will appear in the skies over Monza this weekend as part of its 2021 European summer tour. The iconic Zeppelin NT semi-rigid airship is set to provide aerial TV coverage during Sunday’s race.

***Le Mans Endurance Management, the umbrella organization under which the WEC is run, has appointed Mathias Monge as its head of communications. Monge previously held directorial communications roles at Nike and Lacoste.

***Beitske Visser is absent from Richard Mille Racing’s LMP2 lineup weekend due to her clashing commitments in the W Series round at Silverstone, supporting the British Grand Prix. Sophia Floersch and Tatiana Calderon are therefore competing as a pair.

***The Peugeot 9X8 prototype that was unveiled last week is on-site at Monza, along with senior figures from the French manufacturer’s 2022 Le Mans Hypercar program. Peugeot lined its four-wheel-drive hybrid racer up on the Monza grid today.

***Peugeot is committed to the WEC until 2025, meaning the 9X8 will be active for three seasons as things stand. The timing of its debut during the 2022 season will depend on the outcome of its pre-homologation testing program which is due to start in December.

***Head of Stellantis Motorsport Jean-Marc Finot said: “If we are ready for Le Mans, we will do [it]. If we are not ready, it could come after. The decision will be made at the beginning of next year, as soon as the car will be on the track.”

***Monza boasts one of the largest GTE-Am grid in WEC history, factoring in Le Mans. The 16-car count has only been surpassed by the 2020 and 2014 Le Mans editions where the category had 22 and 18 entries respectively.

***WRT team principal Vincent Vosse says the Belgian squad is pushing for improvements in the WEC, where it has yet to replicate its ELMS race-winning form so far. “We have encountered some issues both at Spa and Portimao, in the first two races, but we have also shown to have excellent pace,” said Vosse. “We can say it’s part of the learning process, but we really want to raise our game and have worked a lot on every single detail to get things right during the entire race duration.”

***Entries in Hypercar, LMP2 and GTE-Pro can use four and a half sets of tires across qualifying and the race. GTE-Am teams are permitted six and a half sets, which was the amount allocated to the top three classes for the longer eight-hour race at Portimao.

***Motortrend will broadcast the first and last 90 minutes of Sunday’s race action in the U.S. and Caribbean. Eurosport 2 is showing the race live in full across Europe, including the United Kingdom. Click here for the full Monza broadcast schedule.

***Scrutineering took place on Thursday afternoon. The first track action of the weekend – and Friday’s only session – is Free Practice 1 starting at 3:30 p.m. local time (9:30 a.m. EST).

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

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