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Nürburgring Saturday Notebook

John Dagys’ Saturday notebook from Nürburgring…

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

***Porsche’s new 2017-spec GTE car will be launched at the LA Auto Show in November. Head of Porsche Motorsport Dr. Frank Steffen-Walliser would not confirm technical details of the car, which is widely believed to be rear-mid-engined and feature a normally aspirated engine. Walliser told Sportscar365 the decision on the engine was made prior to the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which saw a dominant performance from turbos.

***The Equivalence of Technology for LMP1 has been confirmed through next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, with only minor changes to the K technology factor and a 0.2-liter increase in fuel capacity for the diesel-powered Audi R18. “I don’t think we have anybody contesting the system,” ACO Sporting Director Vincent Beaumesnil told Sportscar365.

***Both Audi and Toyota will utilize its high-downforce aero kits for the remainder of the season, while Porsche is undecided on whether it will bring back its Silverstone kit — essentially last year’s version — for the selected races. “We saw last year that people were alternating with their kits. Fuji is a track that we’d definitely look into both options,” Porsche team principal Andreas Seidl told Sportscar365.

***Audi’s high-downforce aero kit is between 80 to 85 percent new compared to the kit utilized at Silverstone, according to its Head of Aerodynamics, Jan Monchaux. Monchaux told Sportscar365 that only the nose and elements of the front fender have been carried over in terms of aero.

***No timeline has been established to fill Porsche’s LMP1 technical director position, which was vacated by Alex Hitzinger in March and has been filled on a temporary basis by team principal Seidl. “We have no rush to make any changes,” Seidl told Sportscar365. “We have a very strong team with the right spirit pushing day by day. I think we’ve made all the decisions for the ’17 and ’18 [cars], which is obviously a big challenge at the moment because you have to do it in parallel, plus performing in the 2016 season.”

***Audi’s new Head of LMP, Stefan Dreyer, revealed they explored different options to replace Benoit Treluyer this weekend but ultimately opted to keep the No. 7 Audi R18 with just Marcel Fassler and Andre Lotterer. “The two-driver solution was the best, in our opinion,” Dreyer told Sportscar365. “I don’t think it will have a big influence on the operation.”

***Both Rene Rast and Filipe Albuquerque have previous Audi LMP1 experience but have full-season rides in LMP2. While Rast was the team’s reserve driver for Le Mans, an Audi spokesperson confirmed they do not have a designated reserve driver for the remainder of the season.

***A decision on a possible change to the Pro-Am driver enforcement for LMP2 could be determined next month, according to ACO Sporting Director Vincent Beaumesnil, who confirmed that it will be discussed at the next Endurance Sporting Working Group meeting. Beaumesnil said the European Le Mans Series will remain Pro-Am next year.

***With David Markosov uncertain to return to SMP Racing this year due to personal and family issues, it’s understood Mikhail Aleshin has been tipped to join Nic Minassian and Maurizio Mediani in the No. 27 BR Engineering BR01 Nissan once the Verizon IndyCar Series season ends in late September.

***No decision has been made on SMP’s plans for next year. A return to LMP2 with its BR01 is unlikely, due to the large disparity in performance between 2017-spec LMP2 cars and grandfathered prototype machinery.

***Germany’s three-time Olympic Champion, two-time World Champion and overall Alpine Skiing World Cup Champion Maria Höfl-Riesch has been honorary starter for tomorrow’s race. Höfl-Riesch is attending the weekend as a guest of Audi.

***An increasing amount of WEC teams are now on Snapchat. Porsche GT launched its channel this weekend (PorscheRaces) while RGR Sport (RGRSport) has been providing trackside updates as well.

***FOX Sports 1 will provide live, lights-to-flag coverage of the Six Hours of Nürburgring beginning Sunday at 7 a.m. ET, with Bob Varsha and Calvin Fish on the call. North American and international viewers can also follow the action via the WEC App (subscription required).

***In Europe, fans can catch live coverage on Eurosport 2, which will show the final hour live, including highlights, featuring commentators Mark Cole and Martin Haven.

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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