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Sao Paulo Saturday Notebook

John Dagys’ Saturday notebook from Interlagos…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

***Could Sunday’s Six Hours of Sao Paulo be Porsche’s day for its breakthrough first overall victory? The German manufacturer has been bullish on its chances after sweeping the front row. “It’s our best chance to win,” polesitter Mark Webber said. “We know we’ve got a very, very hard race tomorrow and we’re going to give it our best shot.”

***Toyota’s TS040 Hybrids are running at a 50 horsepower deficit compared to Bahrain, due to the higher altitude for the 3.7-liter naturally aspirated V8, compared to the turbo options from Audi and Porsche. The disparity has been increased because of the new LMP1 regulations, as the previous air restrictor method limited power output. “We are quite happy to not be that far away,” Toyota Racing technical director Pascal Vasselon said.

***OAK Racing’s plans for a LMP1 car haven’t been completely shelved, with Jacques Nicolet confirming a targeted race debut in 2016 for the Onroak Automotive-developed prototype. Team principal Philippe Dumas told Sportscar365 that design work of the car is nearly complete.

***Drivers have raved about the high level of grip this weekend, thanks to the Interlagos circuit having recently been repaved. “I think here, thanks to the asphalt being higher grip, the tire degradation is a lot less,” Porsche’s Neel Jani told Sportscar365. “I think tomorrow you’ll see one of the best races in the WEC.”

***Following Fernando Alonso’s visit to Bahrain, Felipe Massa is the latest Formula One star to make a visit in the FIA WEC paddock. The Brazilian, fresh off a runner-up finish in last weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, arrived at the Interlagos circuit Friday to catch up with friends, including Rebellion Racing’s Nick Heidfeld.

***Tom Kristensen received a standing ovation during his last driver’s briefing on Friday. The nine-time Le Mans winner and reigning FIA WEC champion announced his retirement last week. “For me, that’s the very best respect you can get from fellow competitors,” Kristensen said.

***Longtime ACO Chief Scrutineer Daniel Perdrix is retiring following this weekend’s race. Pedrix, who had been with the French organization since 1982, including the Group C era, will be replaced Thierry Bouvet, formerly of Onroak Automotive.

***Paolo Ruberti and Gianluca Roda are poised to continue in the FIA WEC next year, potentially again with AF Corse, although the pairing could also contest the European Le Mans Series in the GTC class as well.

***Construction work has begun on a temporary pit lane that will be used for national races prior to the completion of the all-new paddock, which is due to be completed prior to next year’s Formula One race. The temporary pit lane is located on the outside of Turn 3.

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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