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Shanghai Friday Notebook

John Dagys’ Friday notebook from Shanghai International Circuit…

Photo: James Moy/Toyota

***The No. 71 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE returned to action in Free Practice 2 after a fuel leak prevented the Miguel Molina and Davide Rigon-driven entry from taking part in FP1 this morning. A Ferrari spokesperson confirmed to Sportscar365 that the fuel tank was patched between sessions.

***Molina was among several drivers to have faced travel delays due to visa issues, with the AF Corse driver having initially been granted permission to miss drivers’ sign-on and briefing, although the Spaniard made it in time for both on Friday morning.

***It’s understood several other drivers, including Thomas Laurent, received visas on-arrival due to delays as well.

***As has been the case in each race this season, drivers of the No. 88 Dempsey Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR have received €1,000 fines for late driver announcements. This weekend, it goes to Will Bamber and Angelo Negro, who were confirmed alongside Thomas Preining on late Thursday.

***Aston Martin Racing’s Nicki Thiim said in Friday’s pre-event press conference that he was “fighting for three or four laps [with] the Toyota Aygo, or whatever it was”  in reference to the 1000-horsepower, per LMP1 regulations, Toyota TS050 Hybrid, which has been severely hampered by success handicap this weekend.

***In addition to success handicap in LMP1, GTE-Am teams are coming to grips with success ballast, which was also introduced for this season. The class championship-leading No. 83 AF Corse Ferrari is carrying 40 kg of additional weight, with the Fuji class-winning No. 90 TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage GTE in at 25 kg this weekend. 

“With the extra weight, you suffer in places, especially in braking places,” said TF Sport’s Jonny Adam, who is coming off the team’s first class win at Fuji. “I think this will be quite a hard circuit on tires, even if you didn’t have the weight in the car.”

***Mike Conway is making his 40th WEC start with Toyota Gazoo Racing this weekend.

***Among the drivers spotted in the paddock that are not racing this weekend include Stephane Ortelli, who is a coach for the all Monegasque-crewed No. 78 Proton Competition Porsche, as well as Alexandre Imperatori, who is resident of Shanghai.

***Imperatori joined Kevin Estre and Earl Bamber, who are all racing in next weekend’s FIA GT World Cup in Macau with Porsche, in a pre-event press conference in Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific’s hospitality suite on Friday afternoon.

***United Autosports managing director Richard Dean has not ruled out running a second Oreca 07 Gibson in the 6 Hours of Spa, in preparation for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, should the Anglo-American team secure two invites. “It’s possible. But it would have to be a really good reason to do it that doesn’t distract to ELMS,” he told Sportscar365.

***Ferrari has no current plans to roll out with a ‘double evo’ version of its 488 GTE car, in the wake of the updated 488 GT3 Evo 2020 that was unveiled last month at the Ferrari Finali Mondiali at Mugello.

***The FIA will induct the first World Endurance Championship drivers into its Hall of Fame next month during a ceremony at the Automobile Club de France in Paris. The Dec. 2 event is expected to feature nearly every WEC champion in attendance, dating back to Bob Garretson, who won the first WEC drivers’ title in 1981. 

***Launched in 2017, the Hall of Fame currently sees 33 inductees from Formula 1, including Mario Andretti, Jim Clark and Michael Schumacher, and 17 from the World Rally Championship.

***Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific has launched the Porsche Sports Club China, a series of multi-disciplinary events featuring GT2, GT3, GT4-spec Porsche race cars, as well as production cars. The first event took place at Shanghai International Circuit last month, featuring 80 road cars and 20 race cars, with more 4,000 visitors in attendance.

“This was the layer that was missing in the pyramid,” said Head of Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific Alexandre Gibot.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

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