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Silverstone Pre-Race Notebook

John Dagys’ pre-race notebook for the FIA WEC 6H Silverstone…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

***Tens of thousands of fans have flocked to Silverstone for today’s race, the opening round of the FIA World Endurance Championship season. The pit walk and autograph session was held under a capacity crowd in pit lane, with a music performance by No. 1 selling French DJ ‘The Avener,’ who was recently announced as the WEC Music Ambassador.

***Sportscar365 has learned that Hankook is preparing for an entry into the LMP2 ranks, with tire testing with a race-winning European Le Mans Series team set to begin in the next few weeks. The Korean tire manufacturer had come close to a deal to become the single tire provider of GTE-Am this year.

***The Six Hours of Silverstone also serves as the Royal Automobile Club Tourist Trophy, the oldest continuously competed motorsports event. The last two winners (Anthony Davidson/Sebastien Buemi – 2014 and Allan McNish/Tom Kristensen/Loic Duval – 2013) have gone onto win the FIA WEC Drivers’ World Championship.

***Today’s race could end up being one of the most wide open in the fight for overall honors, with Audi returning to form with its updated R18 e-tron quattro, the Porsche 919 Hybrids showing impressive single-lap pace and Toyota being closer in an ideal lap time than expected, according to technical director Pascal Vasselon.

***Porsche technical director Alex Hitzinger confirmed both Porsche 919 Hybrids are in a higher downforce package this weekend, but not as much as they could run. The car premiered here last year in what was effectively Le Mans aero trim as its high downforce package was not yet ready.

***While defending champions Toyota have found the stride for its No. 1 TS040 Hybrid of Davidson, Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima, the Japanese manufacturer has battled balance issues with the No. 2 car this weekend, according to technical director Pascal Vasselon.

***Patron ESM driver Ryan Dalziel celebrates his 33rd birthday today. Dalziel will roll off from 5th on the grid in LMP2 in the American team’s full-season debut. Look for an exclusive Sportscar365 column from the Scotsman, as well as Porsche’s Timo Bernhard and Toni Vilander of AF Corse, following each race this year.

***Aston Martin Racing Technical Director Dan Sayers confirmed that the No. 97 Vantage V8 will use the electricity generated by the Hanergy thin-film solar panel system in all of the races this season. The system was successfully tested in practice sessions at several rounds of the 2014 season.

***Project Brabham has reached the next stage of its program, with the launch of the Brabham-Digital website this week. The site enables members to keep updated via their dedicated login details, while also a gateway for new membership and news on the team, which is targeting an entry into the FIA WEC LMP2 class in 2016.

***Today’s FIA WEC Six Hours of Silverstone will be broadcast live and in its entirety on FOX Sports 1, beginning at 7 a.m. ET. Coverage will also be available via the FIA WEC Second Screen App, with radio coverage on radiolemans.com.

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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