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Spa Friday Notebook

John Dagys’ Friday notebook from Spa-Francorchamps…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

***Porsche has changed the chassis on its No. 1 entry since its race-ending accident last month at Silverstone. “It was not a nice hit, because of the angle. So we went on the safe side,” team principal Andreas Seidl told Sportscar365.

***Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard’s pole put the No. 1 Porsche on the points board for 2016, following their retirement in Silverstone. The defending World Champions head into tomorrow’s race with a 24-point deficit to their sister No. 2 entry of Neel Jani, Romain Dumas and Marc Lieb.

***Both Porsche and Audi are running its designated low-downforce aero packages this weekend. LMP1 manufacturers are limited to up to three different aero configurations over the course of the season with adjustability levels, such as gurneys, allowed, in each package.

***Porsche’s Seidl and Audi Sport technical director Joerg Zander both told Sportscar365 they have optimized their packages for Spa this weekend, with small elements, such the addition of gurney flaps. “You probably won’t see a big [visual] difference in Le Mans,” Seidl said. “It’s still a wide range you can adjust with the rear wing itself.”

***Zander told Sportscar365 that Audi’s pre-race simulations showed a 0.5-second per lap advantage with the low-downforce package in dry conditions, hence the German manufacturer’s decision to go that route this weekend. Toyota remains with the same high-downforce package it had in Silverstone.

***The front axle drivetrain failure that forced the No. 8 Audi to sit out FP2 was due to a “high-mileage” component that broke, Zander said, and had nothing to do with the car’s hybrid failure at Silverstone, which was triggered by a systems reset after encountering initial issues.

***Analysis of the No. 7 Audi, which lost its victory in post-race scrutineering due to its front skid block being too worn, concluded a number of factors for the excessive wear, including the lack of dry running time prior to the race. “We have to be honest with ourselves. We were probably a little bit low with the car and a bit ambitious,” Zander said.

***After testing at the Spanish track last month, Audi and Porsche will both return to Motorland Aragon in two weeks for a further pre-Le Mans test.

***Former Porsche Supercup and GT driver Pedro Couceiro has replaced Thierry Veyrie as the WEC safety car driver this weekend. The Portuguese will be at the wheel of the Audi R8 V10 plus. It’s unclear if Couceiro will have additional outings this year.

***G-Drive Racing has a spare Oreca 05 chassis with them this weekend. The chassis, in car, in full G-Drive livery, has been spotted in its garage. Rebellion Racing also carries a spare chassis with them to WEC races for its two-car LMP1 Privateer effort.

***Check out the official Spotter’s Guide for this weekend’s WEC Six Hours of Spa, featuring all 34 cars, including the No. 38 G-Drive Racing Gibson 015S Nissan, which joins the full-season entries.

***Watch Saturday’s race live across the FOX Sports family of networks. FS1 will cover the start from 8:30-9:30 a.m. ET, with the final three hours live on FS2 from 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. ET. The entire race will be streamed live on FOX Sports GO. Bob Varsha and Calvin Fish will again be on the call.

***Eurosport will also be live from Spa, with Mark Cole and Tom Gaymor presenting the final 90 minutes of the race, beginning at 6 p.m. BST. MotorsTV, meanwhile will cover the first two hours and final hour of the race live.

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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