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Spa Pre-Race Notebook

John Dagys’ pre-race notebook for WEC 6H Spa…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

***Some of the fastest laps from the No. 50 Larbre Competition Corvette C7.R, No.78 KCMG Porsche 911 RSR and No. 88 Abu Dhabi Proton Racing Porsche in qualifying have been disallowed due to the drivers exceeding track limits.

***It’s reshuffled the starting order in GTE-Am, with the No. 86 Gulf Racing Porsche now starting fourth, ahead of the KCMG Porche and the Larbre Corvette moving from fourth to sixth in class. Click Here for the final grid.

***A half-dozen drivers have been reprimanded for taking too long to slow down during the red flag in Friday’s LMP1/LMP2 qualifying session. The list includes pole-sitter Timo Bernhard, Kamui Kobayashi, Anthony Davidson, David Cheng and Roman Rusinov.

***Post-qualifying scurtineering found both the No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE and No. 66 Ford GT to have been able to start its engines with and without the fuel coupling attached, which is a breach of article 402 of the GTE technical regulations. Both cars, however, will be allowed to race.

***With warmer than expected temperatures, tire degradation has been a talking point this weekend in the LMP1 camp, which is limited to only five sets of tires for qualifying and the race. Michelin has brought three different dry weather compounds for the class: ‘soft cold weather’, ‘soft hot weather’ and ‘soft hot weather +’

***The Balance of Performance in GTE-Pro has again been a major talking point this weekend, with Ferrari 488 GTEs showing the edge and both the Ford GTs and Porsche 911 RSR not showing pace anywhere close to the turbocharged Prancing Horse. Aston Martin has showed improvements since its 20kg weight break, given to the manufacturer prior to the weekend.

***ACO Sporting Director Vincent Beaumesnil told Sportscar365 that the BoP in GTE is likely to change prior to Le Mans, following analysis of the performance this weekend and factoring in each manufacturer’s Le Mans-specific aero kit.

***The WEC holds the right to change the BoP in the production-based ranks at any time, and can also make changes between the Le Mans Test Day and race. Beaumesnil said cars are also subject to in-race penalties if they do not meet the target performance levels, monitored through the FIA’s data logger systems.

***The design of the Audi R18’s low downforce aero kit, which has received some criticism for its boxy look, was purely technology driven, according to Audi Sport technical director Joerg Zander. “It’s purely driven by efficiency and that’s presumably what you get as a result. That’s the concept,” he said.

***Chip Ganassi, who is attending his first WEC race as a team owner this weekend, returns to Spa-Francorchamps for the first time in 36 years. Ganassi raced in 24 Hours of Spa in 1980 at the wheel of a Toyota Corolla GT.

***Ganassi told Sportscar365 he hopes to attend one or two additional WEC rounds following Le Mans.

***Billy Johnson, the only American driver in Ford’s WEC program, has a virtually non-stop jet-setting schedule over the next four weeks. Johnson will be in three different simulators (Multimatic in Canada, Ford in Charlotte, ACO in Paris) two tests (Monza with Ford GT WEC team, New Orleans with Ford production car development) all prior to the Le Mans Test day on June 5.

***Watch today’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. Motors TV, 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 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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