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Silverstone Saturday Notebook

John Dagys’ Saturday notebook from Silverstone…

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

***There were nearly three seasons of weather in a single day today, with sleet and snow in the morning turning in light rain by late morning, prior to clearing skies in the afternoon for the four-hour European Le Mans Series race. Forecasts for tomorrow call for mostly sunny skies with a high near 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

***The pole for the No. 7 Audi R18 of Marcel Fassler and Andre Lotterer was remarkably Audi’s first in WEC competition since Fuji in 2013, also achieved by the same driving crew. Porsche had an 11-race consecutive pole streak that was broken on Saturday.

***Audi’s all-new R18 has received structural updates since its run at The Prologue, when the tub of the No. 7 car was damaged. Audi Sport Team Joest technical director Joerg Zander told Sportscar365 they’ve reinforced the suspension pickup points, which had caused the tub damage in France.

***Toyota is planning a 30-hour endurance test at Motorland Aragon later this month, prior to the second round of the season at Spa. Toyota Gazoo Racing technical director Pascal Vasselon told Sportscar365 they’ll test the Le Mans-spec aero package in Spain but will remain with its high-downforce package for Spa.

***It was a near-perfect day for G-Drive Racing, with Rene Rast and Roman Rusinov scoring LMP2 pole in their Oreca 05 Nissan and the Jota Sport-run squad taking a dominant win in the European Le Mans Series season-opening Four Hours of Silverstone.

***Ex-Formula One driver Will Stevens, who makes his LMP2 debut with Manor, is coming off his GT debut last weekend in the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup round at Misano in a WRT Audi R8 LMS, which was the Englishman’s first race with a roof over his head. “It’s the first time in a while where I’ve had a proper race, which was nice. In all honesty, I’m really enjoying it,” he said.

***Aston Martin Racing struggled in the wet qualifying session with its newly Dunlop-shod Vantage GTEs, having been some eight seconds off the GTE-Pro pole-time. “We are still in a learning period with our new tires and the unique ambient and track temperatures made this session extremely difficult,” Richie Stanaway said.

***It wasn’t clear-sailing for Ford in qualifying, either, with its No. 67 Ford GT battling gear selection issues. Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell qualified the car fifth in class, still ahead of two GTE-Pro class Astons.

***Patrick Dempsey has been named the honorary starter for tomorrow’s race. The Hollywood actor/racer, who drove in all but one round of the WEC last year, has taken a step away from racing this year but will still be at selected rounds this year in support of the Dempsey Proton Racing team in GTE-Pro.

***Ford hasn’t ruled out making available its Ford GT to customers in the future, according to Raj Nair, Ford executive vice president, Global Product Development. “We’re seeing a lot of interest and have had a lot of inquires on that. But right now we’re focused on the factory program,” he said.

***While not having snow tires available for this morning’s snow-stopped session, Michelin has brought a full range of dry and wet weather tires for its 16 technical partner teams in the FIA World Endurance Championship. A total of 1,600 are available over the weekend, led by a 14-man support staff. There are also 9 team advisors, 5 development engineers and 4 managers on site.

***Tomorrow’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

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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