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Silverstone Pre-Race Notebook

John Dagys’ pre-race notebook from Silverstone…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

***Silverstone has typically been happy hunting ground for Audi, as the German manufacturer has scored three wins in the last four seasons at the circuit and will start from the overall pole today in a front-row sweep.

***While absent as a factory operation this year, Porsche is providing additional support to the Dempsey Proton Racing team in GTE-Pro. Porsche Motorsport director Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser told Sportscar365 that between one to three Porsche personnel will be with the team at each race, in addition to its normal customer support program.

***A number of top-level Ford executives are on hand for the European debut of the Ford GT, including Raj Nair, Ford’s executive vice president, Global Product Development and chief technical officer, Ford Performance global director Dave Pericak and Chip Ganassi Racing co-owner Rob Kauffman.

***The paddock has grown in size this year, with massive two-story hospitality structures for both the WEC and Ford Chip Ganassi Racing. The Ford unit, which is utilized by M-Sport in the World Rally Championship, will be at the majority of the European rounds this year.

***Slow Zones could be used for the first time outside of the 24 Hours of Le Mans today. Race director Eduardo Freitas tested the system in FP1 and according to ACO Sporting Director Vincent Beaumesnil, has the authority to use it in the race, should there be a need.

***The WEC has utilized Full Course Yellows since mid-2014 and is expected to continue to do, even with the option of Slow Zones for regular-season races.

***Beaumesnil has smashed rumors of the ACO not yet having approved quad-amputee Frederic Sausset to drive in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Sausset’s SRT41 effort was announced as the Garage 56 entrant for this year. “He’s here this weekend so it’s an ongoing process. We have no reason to say today there’s any problem. For the moment it’s going well,” Beaumesnil told Sportscar365.

***Sausset’s specially adapted Morgan Nissan LMP2 car finished 32nd overall in Saturday’s European Le Mans Series season-opener, which saw the Frenchman tackle two stints behind the wheel. Sausset is also scheduled to race in next weekend’s VdeV race on the Le Mans Bugatti circuit, in the same car, to gain further experience.

***Fifteen drivers are making their regular-season WEC debuts today: Nelson Piquet Jr, Vitaly Petrov, Gustavo Menezes, Stephane Richelmi, Will Stevens, Roberto Merhi, James Jakes, Matthew Rao, Andy Priaulx, Marino Franchitti, Billy Johnson, Adam Carroll, Ben Barker, Michael Wainwright and Yutaka Yamagishi.

***Today’s Six Hours of Silverstone will be broadcast live and in its entirety between the FOX Sports family of networks, beginning at 7 a.m. ET on FS1. Bob Varsha and Calvin Fish will lead the broadcast team for the first round of the season.

***For European viewers, Eurosport will cover the final two hours of the race, with the British commentary team of Mark Cole and Stuart Hall. Coverage begins at 4 p.m. UK time. 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. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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