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Spa Friday Notebook

John Dagys’ Friday notebook from Spa-Francorchamps…

Photo: Vincent Wouters

Photo: Vincent Wouters

***ACO Sporting Director Vincent Beaumesnil confirmed to Sportscar365 that the spec engine to be used in the FIA WEC, European and Asian Le Mans Series beginning in 2017 will not be from an OEM but rather from an independent engine builder, in order to allow team-specific engine branding.

***Beaumesnil would not confirm the number of licensed LMP2 chassis constructors for 2017, with full details of the regulations to be revealed next month at Le Mans. The ACO’s initial proposal called for a limitation to four constructors (with at least one being North American), although it’s believed there’s been consideration to increase that number.

***The 2016 GTE regulations, meanwhile, are “99 percent complete” according to Beaumesnil, with a formal presentation likely to be made next month as well. Major changes include an increase in power, new safety measures, such as an roof escape hatch, as well as a tighter control on waivers.

***Aston Martin’s double pole on Friday marked its 10th sweep of the GTE pole positions in the last 18 FIA WEC races, a record dating back to the start of the 2013 season. The last time the British manufacturer was able to translate that into a double race win came at Sao Paulo last year.

***The GTE-Pro pole-sitting No. 99 Aston Martin Vantage of Fernando Rees, Alex MacDowall and Richie Stanaway is running in Hanergy colors this weekend. The unmistakable yellow and red livery was on the No. 97 Aston of Darren Turner and Stefan Muecke at Silverstone, which has since reverted to its traditional Gulf blue.

***Hanergy will remain on the No. 99 Aston for the remainder of the season except for the Circuit of The Americas round, which will see it go back to the Valero colors and the No. 97 car re-adopt the yellow and red for that one race only.

***Spa marks the first race the Toyota TS040 Hybrids are running decals featuring the newly rebranded “Toyota Gazoo Racing” moniker. All of the Japanese manufacturer’s global motorsport activities have fallen under the new team name, which roughly translates to “image.” Its official entry, however, remains as Toyota Racing for this year as it’s unable to be changed after the start of the season.

***Jacky Ickx and Eddie Merckx, two legendary names in Belgian sporting history, will be on hand for Saturday’s race. The six-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner, along with five-time Tour De France champion Merckx, are guests of honor this weekend.

***Be sure to download Andy Blackmore’s NISMO Spotter Guide, featuring a number of race-specific updates, including the new Tequila Patron ESM Ligier JS P2 Hondas, third entries from Audi and Porsche, as well as the revised liveries on the Aston Martins. Andy’s guides are a must-have, whether you’re at the track or following from home.

***Saturday’s FIA WEC Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps will be broadcast live and in its entirety between FOX Sports family of networks, beginning at 8:30 a.m. ET on FOX Sports 1. Coverage will also be available via the FIA WEC Second Screen App, with radio coverage on Radiolemans.com.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

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