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Paul Ricard Wednesday Notebook

John Dagys’ first notebook from FIA World Endurance Championship Prologue…

Photo: John Dagys

***The majority of FIA World Endurance Championship teams unloaded in preparation the start of the Prologue, which kicks off on Friday. Rebellion Racing’s new Rebellion R13 Gibson has yet to arrive at the circuit, while only a single Ginetta G60-LT-P1 Mecachrome was present on Wednesday.

***The two-day test includes the first-ever 30-hour endurance test, which runs from 10 a.m. on Friday through 4 p.m. on Saturday. Thirteen cars are registered to take part in the endurance test, including one car each from Toyota Gazoo Racing and Rebellion, ByKolles’ ENSO CLM P1/01 NISMO and both of the SMP Racing BR Engineering BR1 AERs.

***Porsche GT Team has registered both of its Porsche 911 RSRs for the full test, with one car each from BMW Team MTEK and Aston Martin Racing. None of the seven LMP2 cars, meanwhile, are set to take part in the full 30-hour test. Cars not registered are prohibited from running between 6 p.m. on Friday until 9 a.m. on Saturday.

***A number of drivers and handful of teams will remain at Paul Ricard next week for the European Le Mans Series pre-season test and season-opening Four Hours of Le Castellet. TDS Racing, Signatech Alpine and Gulf Racing have all submitted one-off entries for the race.

***TVR is poised to reveal a tie-in with Rebellion tomorrow, with the British manufacturer having tweeted a rendering of what appeared to be a Rebellion R13 in disguise. The post, which has since been deleted, created a stir on social media, leading to speculation over the extent of TVR’s involvement.

***DragonSpeed completed a successful rollout of its BR1 Gibson last Friday at Dallara’s test track in Varano, with Ben Hanley at the wheel of the new LMP1 contender. “Everything ran smooth from our point of view; we couldn’t expect any more,” he told Sportscar365, noting key differences in the car and engine compared to the team’s LMP2 car.

***Hanley is joined by Henrik Hedman and Renger van der Zande this week, with Pietro Fittipaldi, who will sub for the Dutchman at Spa and Fuji, unavailable due to his impending Verizon IndyCar Series debut at Phoenix this weekend. Ford Chip Ganassi Racing’s Tony Kanaan is also missing the Prologue due to his IndyCar commitments.

***Toyota, meanwhile, has a revised lineup at Paul Ricard due to three of its six full-season drivers also being unavailable due to other racing commitments. Both Kamui Kobyashi and Kazuki Nakajima are taking part in the Super GT season-opener at Okayama this weekend, with Fernando Alonso in action in the Bahrain Grand Prix.

***It’s resulted in both Anthony Davidson and Alex Wurz stepping into action this weekend, alongside Mike Conway, Jose Maria Lopez and Sebastien Buemi. Davidson has been assigned to test and reserve driver duties this year, with Toyota ambassador Wurz set to come out of retirement, yet again, for 

***Technical details of the updated Toyota TS050 Hybrid will be revealed tomorrow, although the 2018-spec LMP1 contender features few changes from last year’s model due to essentially a freeze in development for the ‘Super Season’.

***Gulf Racing is expecting to take delivery of its second new Porsche shortly, potentially this weekend, according to Ben Barker. Barker and co-driver Alex Davison got their first laps in the mid-engined car during a three-day test at Vallelunga last month.

***A total of eight Porsches have been allocated to customers this year, with the German manufacturer providing increased support to the privateer squads, in both WEC and the ELMS.

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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