***While LMP1 teams have racked up considerable mileage in the opening day of the Prologue, many LMP2 squads are being much more conservative, due to new cost-cutting engine regulations for 2015, which permits only the use of three engines per car for an entire season. It’s understood each LMP2 car at the Prologue must complete a minimum of 50 laps in order to have that allowance for the season.
***G-Drive Racing didn’t elect to take part in either of the day-time sessions, with the Russian-backed squad’s Ligier JS P2 Nissans turning its first laps in the two-hour night-session, alongside the No. 35 OAK Racing Ligier-Nissan, which has battled engine issues all day.
***The No. 47 KCMG Oreca 05 Nissan of Matt Howson suffered a minor accident in the opening session, damaging the front bodywork of the LMP2 contender. A quick trip to the ORECA workshop for spares, located adjacent to the circuit, saw the car back in action by the afternoon.
***ACO President Pierre Fillion confirmed to French media that four additional pit boxes will be built at Le Mans for 2016. The expansion, which will occur at pit-out, will displace Parc Ferme and will result in an expected 60-car starting field in the race.
***Porsche Junior Sven Mueller, who was recently announced as a driver for Porsche Team Manthey in the Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, got his first laps at the wheel of the Porsche 911 RSR today. The 23-year-old German spent close to an hour in the No. 91 car today, ahead of his one-off race in Belgium.
***Rebellion Racing’s updated AER-powered Rebellion R-One is expected to begin testing in mid-May, ahead of its re-entry into LMP1 competition beginning at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The cars’ tubs will be sent to ORECA shortly for adjustments to fit the twin-turbo AER powerplant.
***Both of AF Corse’s GTE-Pro class Ferrari F458 Italia GTs are carrying SMP Racing graphics, as part of an expanded partnership between the two organizations. The Italian squad is operating the No. 72 SMP Racing GTE-Am entry this year, although the Russian team’s two new BR01-Nissans competing in the ELMS will be run independently of AF Corse.
***There’s a reason behind the new numbers and liveries for the Porsche 919 Hybrids. The No. 17 car, which will sport a red livery for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, is in tribute to the Porsche 917 K – Salzburg that claimed the German manufacturer’s first overall Le Mans victory in 1970.
***Porsche’s black No. 18 car, meanwhile, is a symbol of the close technical kinship between the 919 and Porsche 918 Spyder road car, which is also hybrid-powered. It was a black-colored 918 Spyder, driven by Marc Lieb, that set a record for a street-legal production sports car at the Nurburgring in 2013.
***Both of the special liveries will only be run at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with the traditional white and black design to be featured on the Nos. 17 and 18 cars for the remaining FIA WEC rounds this year.
***Look for a major TV announcement on Monday, which will come as welcome news for U.S. fans of the FIA WEC.