***Despite the gloomy weather, and a chance of rain later this afternoon, fans have turned out in full force for today’s season-opening Six Hours of Silverstone, proof coming from this morning’s packed autograph session. The race gets underway at 12 p.m. local (7 a.m. ET) with live coverage on the new FIA WEC app and at http://live.fiawec.com. Be sure to follow @Sportscar365 on Twitter for live race updates.
***Teams will be coming to grips with new safety car and full course yellow procedures for the first time today. The FIA WEC has adopted an ALMS-style safety car procedure, which includes wave-bys. However, as explained in Friday’s team manager’s briefing, it will be up to each team to take the wave-by at their own discretion, but are subject to a penalty if performed incorrectly.
***As for the new full course yellow procedure, drivers will be alerted to the FCY via a new in-car flagging system and must immediately slow to 80 kph and maintain their gap to the rest of the cars. Their speeds will be tracked by on-board GPS systems, along with the monitoring of split times. A similar procedure was imposed here during last year’s race but has now officially been put into the regulations.
***Aston Martin is out in force this weekend, running a total of 25 cars in three different series at two circuits across the U.K. Four Vantage GTE cars will take part in Sunday’s FIA WEC season-opener, while there are a total of nine Vantage GT3/GT4s at the British GT opener at Oulton Park, along with a dozen Vantages in the one-make GT4 Challenge.
***With the Silverstone Circuit being less than half the length of Le Mans (3.6 vs 8.5 miles), each of the published hybrid energy subclasses are reduced for today’s opening round. Both the Porsche and Toyotas can use a maximum of 4.02 MJ per lap, while the Audi will be maxed out at 1.34 MJ.
***While both Porsche and Toyota are running with the mandatory two fuel flow meters, Audi’s R18-etron quattro is equipped with three of the units. If one meter is deemed faulty during the race, the FIA can request for it to be replaced during a pit stop.
***FIA WEC boss Gerard Neveu said the series has signed only a one-year extension for its race at Circuit of The Americas, leaving the option open for a change of venue in 2015, should the event not live up to its expectations.
***Despite having initially only been confirmed for a partial season schedule, Ram Racing’s Mark Patterson will contest all rounds in the No. 53 Ferrari F458 Italia except for next month’s Six Hours of Spa, due to a pre-existing commitment. No word has been given on who Patterson’s replacement for Spa will be.
***After testing with the team at Paul Ricard, James Rossiter is expected to be confirmed as the third driver in Ram’s GTE-Pro Ferrari for Le Mans next week. He’ll join full-season drivers Matt Griffin and Alvaro Parente in the No. 52 Ferrari, which is currently running to last year’s specification but could be upgraded to 2014-spec post-Le Mans.
***The battle in GTE-Pro could come down to tire degradation, as Porsche’s 911 RSR is not expected to be able to double-stint, while the Ferraris and Aston Martins are potentially able to. This could play a factor, but only if the rain stays away.
***Simon Dolan has been discharged from the medical centre after his shunt during yesterday’s ELMS race. Dolan suffered some scrapes and bruises, but fortunately escaped serious injury.
***Jota Sport’s Sam Hignett told Sportscar365 the tub suffered damage in the accident, but the extent is not yet known. The plan is to be at Spa in two weeks, most likely with the team’s second tub.