***The FIA World Endurance Championship makes its debut this weekend at the Nürburgring, ending an 11-week summer break since Le Mans. It marks the first new track to be added to the calendar since Circuit of the Americas in 2013, while the first world sports car race at the famed German circuit since 1991, when a round of the World Sports Car Championship was held.
***That 1991 WSC race saw Derek Warwick and David Brabham claim victory in their Silk Cut Jaguar XJR-14, leading a 1-2 finish for the British manufacturer. A total of 18 cars, all prototypes, took the start, compared to the 31 entries from four classes on hand this weekend in the Eifel region.
***There have been a number of technical changes since Le Mans, including new Equivalence of Technology (EoT) for LMP1, as well as Balance of Performance adjustments in GTE. Additionally, LMP1 cars will be allowed eight sets of tires in the race instead of the typical six.
***Porsche is debuting its new high-downforce aero kit on the 919 Hybrids this weekend. The team is coming off a successful three-day test at Barcelona earlier this month, which saw Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley and Neel Jani log more than 1,200 miles.
***LMP1 rival Audi, meanwhile, has remained with a version of its low-drag Le Mans aero for the remainder of the season.
***While this weekend’s Six Hours of Nürburgring serves as a big event for Porsche and Audi, it’s also a home race of sorts for Toyota, with the Japanese manufacturer’s FIA WEC program based only 55 miles away in Cologne, the shortest journey of all LMP1 manufacturers. Check out this video highlighting the “drive” to the circuit on its simulator.
***Could the GTE-Pro class receive its own World Championship classification for drivers? Judging by recent FIA Endurance Committee meetings, the topic is under discussion for 2016. Currently, only a single set of World Champions are crowned, for LMP1, which is based on overall results.
***Mark Webber and Head of Audi Motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, are celebrating birthday today.
***Audi has been hit with significant sanctions in the wake of the DTM race at the Red Bull Ring where Timo Scheider was allegedly given orders by Ullrich to take out a competitor. Schneider has been suspended for a race and excluded from the results in Austria, while Ullrich has been banned from the DTM pit lane during qualifying and races for the remainder of the season. Additionally, Audi Sport and Phoenix Racing face a $225,000 fine.
***Eric Thompson, the first member of the Le Mans Drivers Hall of Fame, passed away last Saturday at the age of 95. The former Aston Martin works driver made four starts in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, including a third place overall finish in an Aston Martin DB2 in 1951, prior to his debut at the wheel of an HRG Lightweight in 1949.