***After two days of pre-season testing for the European Le Mans Series, FIA World Endurance Championship teams took over the Monza paddock in preparation for this weekend’s Prologue. A total of 27 cars are set to take part. Click Here for the latest entry list.
***Toyota and Porsche will unveil its LMP1 challengers tomorrow, although both the 2017-spec TS050 Hybrid and 919 Hybrid have already been caught in the flesh. Spy shots of the Porsche surfaced last weekend during a test at Paul Ricard, while portions of the Toyota were revealed in the paddock at Monza today.
***A number of drivers are missing this weekend’s test due to their Formula E commitments in Mexico City, including Sebastien Buemi, Jose-Maria Lopez and Stephane Sarrazin (Toyota), Nelson Piquet and Nico Prost (Rebellion), Alex Lynn (G-Drive), Jean-Eric Vergne (Manor) and Sam Bird (AF Corse).
***Both Buemi and Lopez will fly directly to Mexico following tomorrow’s launch of the new TS050 Hybrid. New signings Yuji Kunimoto and Nico Lapierre, meanwhile, are listed to test the Nos. 7 and 8 Toyotas, respectively, with Romain Dumas in the No. 36 Signatech Alpine A470 Gibson in the place of Lapierre.
***John Martin is listed to test the No. 26 G-Drive Racing Oreca 07 Gibson alongside full-season drivers Roman Rusinov and Pierre Thiret. Martin has been linked to a 24 Hours of Le Mans drive with DragonSpeed, which operates G-Drive’s European Le Mans Series entry.
***Only a single Manor Oreca is present, although the British team, now running under the CEFC Manor TRS Racing banner, is expected to have both cars for Silverstone. The Chinese-backed entry is carrying Russian colors this weekend, which could indicate the team has come to a deal with Vitaly Petrov, who has been linked to the final seat.
***All of the Orecas have opted for the regular-season, high-downforce aero this weekend. An ORECA spokesperson told Sportscar365 that all teams had the opportunity to test the low-downforce Le Mans aero kit in previous tests, with the French constructor making available kits for teams to evaluate.
***ORECA’s strategy for the test differs from Dallara, which had a car in a low-downforce kit during the ELMS Prologue.
***The Prologue marks the first time Toyota will have tested its LMP1 car at the famed Italian circuit. The Japanese manufacturer was last present here in 2010 for a Formula One Pirelli tire test, with its most recent race action being one year earlier, also in F1.
***Porsche, on the other hand, has utilized Monza for LMP1 testing on multiple occasions, the most recent coming in Sept. 2015, utilizing the non-chicane layout. This weekend’s test will be held on the full F1 circuit, the same layout used for the Blancpain GT Series.
***GTE manufacturers are set to meet with the FIA and ACO on Friday to finalize terms for a new “automated” Balance of Performance system that will debut next month in Silverstone. It’s understood details on the new scientific-based system are still being determined, with the initial BoP not to be released until early next week.
***Dempsey-Proton Racing and Gulf Racing have announced a switch to Dunlop tires in GTE-Am, which along with the No. 98 Aston Martin Vantage GTE puts the British tire manufacturer with the majority of the grid in the class.
***Both Proton and Gulf Racing Porsches are running to 2015 specification this weekend, despite GTE-Am rules permitting an upgrade to the 2016-spec 911 RSR. Proton is prepping one of the same chassis it used in the ELMS test earlier this week, while the Gulf car is the same chassis it ran in the WEC last year.
***While the entire LMP2 class has opted for Dunlops, the ByKolles ENSO CLM P1/01 NISMO has switched back to Michelins for this year. Thirteen of the 28 full-season entries are Michelin-shod.