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Silverstone Saturday Notebook

John Dagys’ Saturday FIA WEC notebook from Silverstone…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

***Teams were greeted to an extreme change in weather conditions Saturday, which began in a rain-soaked, windy and cold Free Practice 3, prior to the circuit drying out entirely in time for qualifying by noon, which saw sunny skies. Current forecasts call for a 0 percent chance of rain on Sunday, although given it’s England, that can quickly change!

***The majority of FIA WEC drivers have praised the revised qualifying format, which takes the single best lap from each qualifying driver instead of the previous two laps. “It’s nice that we can try and bang one lap,” said pole-sitter Brendon Hartley. “This is something not easy to do as a driver when you get one opportunity.”

***Another change to the format comes in the Pro-Am-enforced LMP2 and GTE-Am classes, which mandates one of the two qualifying drivers be of Bronze or Silver rating for LMP2 and Bronze for GTE-Am. It resulted in series stalwarts Ricardo Gonzalez and Paul Dalla Lana contributing to their team’s pole-winning qualifying efforts for the first time.

***Beginning today, Toyota’s global motorsports activities have been merged under the “Gazoo Racing” banner. A personal initiative of Toyota President Akio Toyoda, the Gazoo name, which translates to “image” in Japanese, will be used in its FIA WEC, Super GT and new-for-2017 World Rally Championship programs, among others.

***While the FIA WEC team will begin to be known as “Toyota Gazoo Racing” next year, as its registered team name cannot be changed in 2015, a Toyota spokesperson confirmed Gazoo decals will be on the car beginning at Spa, with new teamwear and transporter graphics at Le Mans.

***Nissan LMP1 team principal Ben Bowlby and NISMO’s Global Head of Brand, Marketing & Sales, Darren Cox, joined reporters at Silverstone Saturday via teleconference from its U.S. base in Indianapolis, updating the media on the state of the GT-R LM NISMO’s development.

***Testing of the GT-R LM NISMO will continue next week at NCM Motorsports Park in Bowling Green, Ky., with the next six days of testing focused on endurance runs. The car has so far completed 3,800 kms, while Bowlby admitted the hybrid system has been “a headache” and the component they’ve struggled the most with.

***Riley Motorsports completed a shakedown of its Le Mans-bound Dodge Viper GTS-R Friday at Road Atlanta. Ben Keating carried out driving duties of the GTE-Am car, which currently sits as the first reserve for the race in June. Keating would be joined by Jeroen Bleekemolen and a third, to-be-announced driver should the car be given an entry.

***Sunday’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

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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