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Shanghai Saturday Notebook

John Dagys’ Saturday notebook from Shanghai…

Photo: Toyota Racing

Photo: Toyota Racing

***While Toyota’s 2015 driver lineup was expected to be announced prior to this weekend’s race, no news has come from the Japanese manufacturer. “We will announce it when we feel ready,” Toyota’s Pascal Vasselon told Sportscar365.

***Vasselon would not confirm whether Nicolas Lapierre’s contract offered to him for next year is for a race seat or for a testing/development role. The Frenchman has been forced to sit out the remainder of the season, leaving the championship-leading No. 8 car to a two-driver lineup.

***There could be an influx of HPD ARX-04b coupes on the grid in 2015 in the FIA WEC, as HPD Prototype Project leader Allen Miller told Sportscar365 they’re currently in discussions with up to three interested customers. No cars have been sold beyond the two already confirmed entries for Extreme Speed Motorsports.

***One of the prospective teams is Project Brabham, with team boss David Brabham confirming preliminary talks not only with HPD, but other leading manufacturers as well for its projected LMP2 program for next year. “We need to do our homework to make sure we get the right package,” Brabham told Sportscar365.

***KCMG’s Matt Howson believes there’s a flaw in the new Full Course Yellow procedure, which was used for the first time in race conditions at Fuji. “It’s very clear, if you’re doing 80 km/h when the Full Course Yellow comes out, or if you’re doing 300 km/h, obviously the person going faster gains a huge amount of time,” Howson said. “From a sporting point of view, it was very disappointing. It feels like we effectively lost the race there.”

***Howson said they lost nearly 20 seconds during the FCY procedure in Fuji, which ultimately saw he and co-drivers Alexandre Imperatori and Richard Bradley finish second in LMP2. The Full Course Yellow procedure is again in place this weekend and has already been used on multiple occasions in Free Practice.

***Could Porsche’s 911 RSRs adopt BoP adjustments similar to those made mid-season in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship this year? Head of Porsche Motorsport, Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser, revealed they are talking to the GT Commission on a confidential basis regarding the current BoP situation in GTE-Pro. “We for sure highly respect the sanctioning bodies for their freedom,” he said.

***Walliser, who acted as project manager for the Porsche 918, was reluctant to confer a new 911 RSR for the upcoming 2016 GTE regulations. “I would love to race [the 918 Spyder], no question,” he said. “But this not a GTE car. If you look at the price of a street car, it’s material, R&D costs and everything around that… It would definitely not be cheaper than the street car, for sure. This is not possible. It’s way to early to be in a position to make a decision.”

***The track layout here at Shanghai International Circuit was inspired by the Chinese character Shang, the first character in the name of the city of Shanghai, which means ‘above’ or ‘ascend’.

***Stephane Sarrazin is fresh off victory in last weekend’s FFSA Rally Cevennes in France, piloting a Ford Fiesta WRC, backed by 8Star Motorsports and Sarrazin previously drove for both teams in the sports car racing world, most recently in 2013 with the Florida-based team in GRAND-AM. The Toyota factory driver is scheduled to also contest next month’s Tour de Corse FIA European Rally Championship round with the same effort.

***Watch the Six Hours of Shanghai on the official FIA WEC App, available in the iTunes and Android stores. The race gets underway on Sunday at 11 a.m. local time, or Saturday at 11 p.m. ET for those following in the U.S. Live timing and scoring will be provided at

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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