***While this weekend’s Six Hours of Silverstone marks the first race in FIA World Endurance Championship without Audi in the LMP1 ranks, the German manufacturer is not completely absent from the paddock, as Audi has continued as the safety and medical car provider.
***It’s understood Audi has fulfilled the final year of its contract with the WEC to provide vehicles for all regular season six-hour races. As previously announced, BMW will supply vehicles for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, as part of a new agreement.
***A total of 27 race cars are set for this weekend’s season-opener, with no changes to the entry list other than the late confirmation of ByKolles’ driver lineup, which sees James Rossiter and Dominik Kraihamer added alongside Oliver Webb.
***ByKolles team director Boris Bermes told Sportscar365 that he hopes that Robert Kubica, who stood down from his planned full-season program, will be able to return later this year. The German squad completed a day-long “surprisingly good” test with its revised Nissan-powered CLM P1/01 on Tuesday at Snetterton, according to Bermes.
***No fewer than eight drivers are set to pull either double or triple duty this weekend, between the WEC and European Le Mans Series races at Silverstone and the British GT Championship season-opener in Oulton Park, which runs on Saturday and Monday.
***Nico Lapierre, Nicki Thiim, Christian Ried, Matteo Cairoli and Darren Turner are listed for both the WEC and ELMS races, with Jonny Adam set to undertake the WEC and British GT events. Duncan Cameron will hop back and forth between Silverstone and Oulton Park for ELMS and British GT, with Matt Griffin adding the WEC race as well, as the only triple-duty driver.
***AF Corse has eight cars entered in three series this weekend: two in GTE-Pro and another two in GTE-Am (Spirit of Race and Clearwater Racing), with two additional Ferrari 488 GTEs in the ELMS, while also operating the AT Racing Ligier JS P3, as well as a British GT entry.
***Reigning Michelin Le Mans Cup champions TF Sport, meanwhile, will make its ELMS debut, as well as enter two cars in British GT.
***Further details of the Ginetta LMP1 were revealed during a well-attended technical briefing on Thursday. Representatives from both Rebellion Racing and KCMG were among those on-hand, with Bart Hayden revealing to Sportscar365 an interest of returning to the top prototype class, given the right circumstances.
***A total of ten Ginettas are set to be built, including one factory test car that is slated to be on the ground by September, along with three spare tubs and six race cars. According to technical director Ewan Baldry, approximately 35 percent of car’s design is already complete, with wind tunnel testing set to begin in June.
***The Ginetta’s Mecachrome engine is derived from its 3.4-liter V6 turbo powerplant currently used in GP2, which has been run for more than 7,000 km in testing. The LMP1 version, however, will feature direct injection.
***Paolo Catone, the architect of the Peugeot 908 and more recently the BR01 LMP2 car, has joined Ginetta as a technical consultant and, according to Ginetta Chairman Lawrence Tomlinson, is currently spending five days every two weeks in the constructor’s workshop in Leeds.
***Rebellion’s Hayden told Sportscar365 that the pricing on Ginetta’s LMP1 program is “very competitive.” The British constructor announced Thursday that its new-for-2018 car will be on sale for $1.67 million, with a $744,282 per year engine lease/support package. Rebellion is only one of two teams to have fielded LMP1 Privateer entries under the current regulations.
***Hayden said they currently have no plans for additional IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship races beyond the previously confirmed Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen and Motul Petit Le Mans. The team expects to take delivery of its third Oreca 07 Gibson chassis just prior to Le Mans, with a decision yet to be made if the new car would head straight Stateside, or replace one of the two existing WEC chassis.
***Longtime Audi UK motorsports press officer Martyn Pass turned up into the Silverstone media center with Porsche apparel on Thursday, with Pass brought on board to support the sister brand’s LMP1 activities this year. He also remains employed to Audi for its GT racing programs.
***Luca Pignacca, Head of Design at Dallara, recently visited the University of Moscow with GP2 ace Sergey Sirotkin to discuss the new Dallara/BR Engineering LMP1 program. Students from Russian universities will be part of the BR1 project, with Sirotkin set to play a role in the car’s development, alongside countryman Mikhail Aleshin.
***A European-based historic series, featuring Le Mans-eligible prototype and GT cars from 1995-2011, will launch later this year. A pilot six-hour race, with eligible cars from the FIA Sports Car Championship, European Le Mans Series, American Le Mans Series, Intercontinental Le Mans Cup and Le Mans Series, is set for Sept. 15-17 at Spa, followed by a six-round series in 2018. Nic Minassian has been named the series director for the championship, which will be run by Masters Historic Racing.
Jake Kilshaw and Laurent Mercier contributed to this report