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Silverstone Saturday Notebook

John Dagys’ Saturday notebook from the FIA WEC Six Hours of Silverstone…

Photo: Gabi Tomescu/AdrenalMedia

Photo: Gabi Tomescu/AdrenalMedia

***While Tom Kristensen’s 1:42.477 lap time was the quickest in qualifying, the defending FIA WEC champion will start second, due to the series’ unique four-lap, two-driver cumulative qualifying format that’s used to determine the starting grid. With Allan McNish hanging up his helmet, TK and Loic Duval are joined by Brazilian Lucas Di Grassi in the No. 1 Audi R18 e-torn quattro this season.

***Porsche’s 919 Hybrids are running in low downforce trim for their FIA WEC debut race. “We’re targeting a lower level because it’s more geared towards a Le Mans setup,” said Porsche LMP1 technical director Alex Hitzinger. “With a higher downforce level, we’d gain certain advantages. That’s why we had reasonably low expectations here in terms of pace. That’s why it’s even more positive what we achieved in qualifying.”

***Hitzinger admitted, though, they could be in trouble if it turns into a rain race, as currently forecast, having only done limited wet-weather testing. “We’re all in the same boat at the end of the day and we make the best out of it,” he said. “For sure, our competitors have a lot more experience. In the wet, I feel like they will have an advantage. But we will see.”

***While Porsche have opted for low-downforce trim for its 919 Hybrids, the pair of Toyota TS040 Hybrids are running a high downforce setup in anticipation of tomorrow’s rain. “We have the ‘Sprint’ car,” Toyota Racing technical director Pascal Vasselon said. “We are running reasonably high downforce, especially as tomorrow there is a reasonably high risk for rain so we don’t want to go to low downforce.”

***Vasselon said they expect to go “several steps lower in downforce” for next month’s Six Hours of Spa, and could even run the Toyota TS040s in full Le Mans aero trim in that race. Unlike last year, however, both cars would run to the same spec.

***Toyota had to change the supercapacitor on its No. 8 car this morning. Remarkably, it was the first hybrid drivetrain-related failure for the Japanese squad since Spa last year, when its No. 7 Toyota TS030 retired with hybrid failure that led to car’s brakes overheating.

***Less than 48 hours since its launch, the new FIA WEC app has already been a massive hit, topping the charts as the best-selling free sports app in France, while ranking a respectable 40th in the U.S. App Store, just three places behind the official NASCAR app.

***My daily drive to and from the Silverstone circuit on Britain’s twisty country roads has been made much more enjoyable thanks to the Audi RS 7 quattro, which Audi UK has graciously let me borrow for the weekend.

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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