***Head of Audi LMP1 Chris Reinke has spoken out on the single-lap qualifying format, which favors LMP1 cars with high energy retrievals. “We think this is completely stupid,” he told Sportscar365. “It’s an eight-point bonus for Porsche at the beginning of the season and we have to run for that.”
***The No. 18 Porsche 919 Hybrid qualified second following an engine change made this morning due to a broken throttle linkage. Porsche technical director Alex Hitzinger told Sportscar365 they will make the engine available again, should it need to be used in Bahrain.
***Remarkably, Brendon Hartley’s pole-winning 1:42.621 lap time in qualifying was only four-tenths slower than the fastest lap set in April’s F1 race by Lewis Hamilton.
***Ben Keating’s confirmed return to IMSA competition has ruled out the team taking part in the FIA WEC full-time with Keating’s Dodge Viper GTS-R. However, Bill Riley told Sportscar365 they’ll still be submitting an entry request for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
***Proton Competition team boss Christian Reid told Sportscar365 they’re planning to return to the GTE-Am class with two Porsche 911 RSRs next year. Reid said they had evaluated a GTE-Pro entry but has ruled it out due to costs.
***Should Porsche Team Manthey not return, as rumored, it may result in no Porsches represented in the GTE-Pro class next year. Porsche is expected to announce its 2016 program at its end-of-year awards night dinner next month.
***Paul Dalla Lana is planning a return to the FIA WEC next year, although his exact program has yet to be finalized, in the wake of the Aston Martin’s recent struggles with Balance of Performance. “It’s hard,” he told Sportscar365. “I’m just trying to make sure we have a fighting chance. I’m hoping it gets worked out.”
***Be sure to download Andy Blackmore’s NISMO Spotter Guide, featuring all 31 starters for Sunday’s race.
***The Six Hours of Shanghai will be broadcast live on the FOX Sports family of networks, beginning Saturday at 11 p.m ET on FOX Sports 2 before moving to FS1 Sunday at 3:30 a.m. ET for the final 90 minutes.
***British Eurosport will also carry the race live, with commentary from Mark Cole, Tom Gaymor and Damien Faulkner. Coverage runs from 4-10:15 a.m. British time. Click Here for the full worldwide broadcast schedule.