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Nürburgring Thursday Notebook

John Dagys’ Thursday notebook from the Nürburgring…

Photo: John Dagys

***The high-downforce aero kit for Porsche’s 919 Hybrid broke cover Thursday at the Nürburgring. Significant changes can primarily be seen in the nose section compared to the Le Mans kit the German manufacturer utilized in the opening three rounds of the FIA World Endurance Championship.

***Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley and Earl Bamber completed a two-day test at Barcelona with the new package, with the No. 1 car drivers set to get their first laps in the new aero during tomorrow’s pair of Free Practice sessions.

***Ford WEC team principal George Howard-Chappell said he isn’t upset at the results of the first round of auto Balance of Performance changes in GTE-Pro, which sees the Ford GT get 20kg of additional weight and the Aston Martin Vantage GTE getting a 20kg weight break and slight increase in air restrictor, compared to Spa. “You can’t [complain] about it; that’s gone away. That’s the whole intent of it,” he told Sportscar365.

***The new automated system takes into account data from the previous two WEC races, excluding Le Mans, which ran to its own event-specific BoP. The changes for this weekend, therefore, took into account the opening two rounds of the season at Silverstone and Spa.

***There’s been a number of driver changes this weekend, largely because of the first-ever clash with a Formula E event, which has taken priority for some season-long WEC drivers.

***Pipo Derani has replaced Nelson Piquet Jr. in the No. 13 Vaillante Rebellion Oreca 07 Gibson, with Filipe Albuquerque in the team’s No. 31 entry instead of Nico Prost. Jean-Eric Vergne has been replaced by Roberto Merhi in the No. 24 CEFC Manor TRS Racing Oreca, with Toni Vilander taking Sam Bird’s seat in the No. 71 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE and Ben Hanley in the No. 26 G-Drive Racing Oreca instead of Alex Lynn.

***The only two regular-season Formula E drivers to miss this weekend’s double-header in New York are Jose Maria Lopez and FE championship leader Sebastien Buemi, with both drivers unable to get out of their contracts with Toyota Gazoo Racing for the race.

***The G-Drive entry will be subject to a three-minute stop-and-hold penalty during the race, due to an incident involving Roman Rusinov and Khaled Al Qubaisi at Le Mans. Al Qubasi, who made a one-off appearance in a Proton Competition Porsche 911 RSR, has been involved in three incidents in the last six races, including two with G-Drive.

***Nine Le Mans cars turned demonstration laps in a “Legends Parade” during last weekend’s F1 Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring. Nine-time Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen was at the wheel of a 2016 Audi R18, with Guy Smith in a Bentley Speed 8, Mark Webber and Brendon Hartley in a 2016 Porsche 919 Hybrid and Neel Jani in a 1981 Porsche 916, with other cars and legendary drivers also on hand.

***The parade came just two weeks after Formula 1 CEO and chairman Chase Carey served as the honorary starter for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, in what’s marked an unprecedented level of cooperation between the two World Championships since the exit of Bernie Ecclestone.

***Porsche Team made a rare trip to its LMP1 opposition earlier this month, with Toyota hosting a pre-event media launch at TMG’s headquarters in Cologne. The No. 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid and Timo Bernhard were on hand, alongside a Toyota TS050 Hybrid with driver Jose Maria Lopez. It’s believed to be the first time a Porsche LMP1 car has been to Cologne. 

***For the second consecutive year, Ford hosted an employee event at its plant in Cologne on Tuesday, featuring demo runs, pit stops and an autograph session with Stefan Muecke, co-driver of the No. 66 Ford GT.

***It has been revealed, meanwhile, that GT Drivers’ World Championship points leader Harry Tincknell has placed an order for a Ford GT production car. The 25-year-old Englishman, who has yet to spec-out the car, said it is due to be delivered in November or December.

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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