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FIA WEC

Shanghai Saturday Notebook

John Dagys’ Saturday notebook from Shanghai…

Photo: Audi

Photo: Audi

***A number of LMP1 teams, including both Porsche 919 Hybrids, utilized three sets of tires in qualifying to extract the maximum performance. “With the field being so tight, we had to go for the third set,” Porsche LMP1 team principal Andreas Seidl told Sportscar365. “It’s a small little downside for tomorrow for the race but it was more important to get the [bonus] point!”

***LMP1 teams are allowed to use up to eight sets of tires in the race, counting the tires used in qualifying. LMP2 teams are limited to four sets, with GTE-Pro and GTE-Am permitted six sets each. Shanghai is one of the most abrasive circuits on the WEC calendar, with tire degradation always playing a key factor in the race.

***WEC CEO Gerard Neveu said he’s targeting between 30-32 full-season entries next year, despite Audi’s withdrawal. The GTE-Pro class is set to grow by at least one entry, with the return of the factory Porsche squad, while LMP2 is set to feature all-new cars, although it’s unclear on the category’s car count at this stage.

***Neveu said Audi’s exit from the series will not put Shanghai in jeopardy, despite the German manufacturer having been one of the driving forces for the race in China. “We are looking to continue for the next three years in Shanghai,” he said. “This is not a question. We are not here only for Audi, we are here for many teams.”

***The chances of seeing Audi R18s in the hands of privateers is next to impossible, according to Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “At present I don’t see a chance that any privateer team can run one of these hybrid cars without the intense support of the manufacturer. What we build up now does not include any people that care about a WEC car,” he told Sportscar365.

***Ullrich has also ruled out a future Audi DPi program in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship due to the manufacturer’s budget cutbacks. “We have now clarified our program based on Formula E and DTM. Any other additional activities are unlikely at present,” he said.

***It’s been a big week for DC Racing, which is coming off a double victory in the Asian Le Mans Series season-opener in Zhuhai. The David Cheng and Jackie Chan-owned squad is the first mainland China team to race in the WEC in Shanghai and had more than 400 guests on hand this weekend.

***Hollywood star Chan, meanwhile, has been named Grand Marshal for tomorrow’s race. The martial arts legend is attending his second WEC race after making an appearance at this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.

***AF Corse will enter a Ferrari 488 GT3 car in January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona. Team owner Amato Ferrari told Sportscar365 they have yet to confirm the driver lineup for the GT Daytona class effort but has ruled out a return in GT Le Mans for the WeatherTech Championship season-opener.

***Watch the Six Hours Shanghai live on the FOX Sports family of networks. The first three hours will be carried on FS2, beginning Saturday at 11 p.m. ET before switching to FS1 Sunday at 2 a.m. ET.

***Eurosport will carry the final 90 minutes of the race, including what-you-missed highlights, with Mark Cole and Martin Haven, starting at 7:30 a.m. BST. Eurosport International viewers can also see it love in Asia and Australasia.

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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