***Last weekend’s FIA WEC Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps saw an increase in spectators, with a reported three-day weekend attendance of 54,000. It was up from 46,000 spectators in 2014, which was run a two-day event.
***The FIA WEC will return to Spa at least through 2018, following a three-year renewal of the event with circuit promoters and the Royal Automobile Club of Belgium (RACB). The deal will see the race continue to be held in May, although an exact date has not been announced.
***Fans witnessed another thrilling race, particularly with the duel between Audi’s Benoit Treluyer and the Porsche of Marc Lieb in the fifth hour. Treluyer, driving one of two Le Mans-spec R18 e-tron quattros in the race, excelled in the corners, something not expected for the low-downforce Audi, especially compared to the 919 Hybrid, which was in high-downforce trim.
***Audi’s Head of LMP1 Chris Reinke told Sportscar365 that they have not ruled out using the low-downforce configuration at other additional races, besides Le Mans, this year.
***Toyota had a weekend to forget, starting with Kazuki Nakajima’s crash that resulted in the Japanese driver sustaining a fractured back and the team being forced to rebuild the No. 1 car around a new tub. Things didn’t get much better in the race, as both cars were unable to challenge the Porsches and Audis, while defending champions Anthony Davidson and Sebastien Buemi lost more than 20 minutes with a throttle pedal issue.
***Tequila Patron ESM battled boost line failures for both of its debuting Ligier JS P2 Hondas, relegating the LMP2 coupes to 8th and 9th place finishes in class. Following the repair in the first hour, the No. 30 team turned the race into an extended test and managed to make significant gains in the setup. “I think we learned a lot and made it better. We’ll go back, review all the data and notes and come up with a better game plan for the Le Mans test,” said Scott Sharp.
***The Florida-based crew will remain in Europe through Saturday before returning home for a much-needed break before the buildup to the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
***Kevin Estre will get his first laps in OAK Racing’s Ligier JS P2 Honda during a test at Spa on May 19-20, which will see at least OAK, G-Drive Racing and Toyota Gazoo Racing in attendance. The Frenchman had a seat fitting in one of the cars last weekend in anticipation for his LMP2 debut at Le Mans next month.
***ByKolles Racing has continued to struggle with its CLM P1/01 AER, with the LMP1 Privateer entry yet to record a finish this year. While the car saw significant aero and suspension updates at Spa, brake issues resulted in a retirement for the Christian Klien, Simon Tummer and Vitantonio Liuzzi-driven car.
***The Austrian squad will face competition in LMP1 Privateer for the first time next month at Le Mans, with Rebellion Racing set to make its first start of the year with two heavily revised Rebellion R-Ones, which now feature AER power. The team is expected to roll out the first of the updated ORECA-built chassis shortly.
***Andre Lotterer dedicated his win to J.G. Mal-Voy, the former President of the Audi Club Belgium, who recently passed away. While being German-born, Lotterer grew up in Belgium and still has close ties to the motorsports community in the country.
***Strakka Racing team principal Dan Walmsley’s family received an outpouring of support from the paddock, following the premature birth of his daughter, Esme. A social media campaign was launched with the #KeepFightingEsme hashtag, while numerous drivers signed a board wishing Esme well with her fight.
***Team SARD-Morand could expand into a two-car LMP2 program following Le Mans. The Swiss team scored a podium in its FIA WEC debut at Spa after missing the Silverstone round, which was followed by the withdrawal of its second entry for the French endurance classic.