***Free Practice 3 was cut 20 minutes short when sections of the Turn 3 concrete curbing came loose. Quick-dry concrete was put into place for the remainder of the day, with a more permanent fix set to be made this evening. A tire barrier was temporarily placed in the corner for the opening Porsche Carrera Cup Asia race but was removed prior to WEC qualifying.
***It was a drama-filled day for the World Championship-leading No. 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid, which first sustained shifting issues in FP3, requiring a complete gearbox change, prior to a spin by Earl Bamber on his out lap in qualifying that resulted a flat-spotted tire.
***Porsche LMP1 team principal Andreas Seidl said they’re still determining a potentially revised tire strategy for the race, as teams are only allowed four sets between qualifying and the race. “We’re still looking at what it means for tomorrow,” Seidl said. “We have two joker tires anyway, then we have to see with the other tires.”
***LMP1 teams were able to single-stint tires here last year, due up to eight sets of tires allowed for the abrasive Shanghai Circuit, as well as Bahrain. “I think the key tomorrow will be to have the right tires on at the right time,” Seidl said. “We all really don’t know where [tire degradation] goes to because no one really put two full stints on a tire set.”
***Sunday’s race will be “one step more critical” than in recent years due to the the limitation, according to Toyota Gazoo Racing technical director Pascal Vasselon, who echoed Seidl’s sentiments in saying tire selection will be the “race decider.”
***Porsche can clinch the Manufacturers’ World Championship, as well as the drivers’ title for Bamber, Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard, should the No. 2 car finish third or higher and at least one of the 919 Hybrids place ahead of a Toyota TS050 Hybrid in the race.
***With different scenarios at play, Seidl said there’s “no way” to take a conservative approach for either car. “We have to attack from the beginning because you don’t know what happens. Penalties, issues, pit stops,” he said.
***The bonus point for the pole-sitters in two classes could prove crucial in the championship, with Bruno Senna, Nico Prost and Julien Canal closing to within nine points of the points-leading Jackie Chan DC Racing trio of Oliver Jarvis, Ho-Pin Tung and Thomas Laurent in LMP2 and Aston Martin Racing’s Pedro Lamy, Mathias Lauda and Paul Dalla Lana now tied for the lead in GTE-Am with Matteo Cairoli, Christian Ried and Marvin Dienst.
***The No. 31 Vaillante Rebellion Oreca 07 Gibson seeks its third class victory in the last four races, having clawed back more than 30 points on the DC Racing entry since Mexico. “We need to start every race from as far up as possible and try to put as many cars between us and the 38 [car],” said Senna, who is sporting a mustache this weekend.
***Remarkably, AMR’s Lamy and Dalla Lana scored their sixth class pole in eight races this season, which has largely contributed to its position in the championship.
***Dalla Lana told Sportscar365 that he intends to continue driving in GTE-Am next season, although a deal has yet to be fully reached. “From what I understand there’s lots of interest in the [class], which is great news,” he told Sportscar365. “Obviously I’d love to come and fight in the championship. I’d love to come back and do more racing.”
***Sportscar365 understands that a proposal for the GTE-Am class to allow 2018-spec cars next season has been denied, although 2015 and older cars will no longer be eligible, potentially opening the door for the adoption of the auto-BoP system that debuted in GTE-Pro this year.
***In addition to Dalla Lana’s likely return, it’s believed there could be two other customer Aston Martin Vantage GTEs on the grid next season, with both TF Sport and Beechdean considering programs.
***Watch the WEC Six Hours of Shanghai across the FOX Sports family of networks, beginning Saturday at 11 p.m. ET on FS2, before moving to FS1 at 2:30 a.m. ET for the run to the checkered flag. Eurosport, meanwhile, will show the final 90 minutes of the race, with Mark Cole anchoring English-language coverage beginning Sunday at 7:30 a.m. GMT.
***Click Here for the full international TV distribution for the race.