***Thursday’s opening day of track activity at Spa was a wet one for FIA World Endurance Championship competitors, who took to the historic circuit for two rain-soaked 90-minute Free Practice sessions. More rain is forecast for tomorrow, although Saturday’s Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (8:30 a.m. ET, Live! FOX Sports 1) is expected to be dry.
***While Kazuki Nakajima has been ruled out of the weekend after sustaining a fractured vertebra, Audi’s Oliver Jarvis escaped injury in the Thursday’s two-car accident. Unlike the Toyota, the No. 8 Audi R18 e-tron quattro has not required a tub change but has underwent a complete rebuild of the rear-end, according to Head of LMP1, Chris Reinke, including the gearbox, suspension and bodywork.
***Tequila Patron ESM had a rather quiet first day with its two new Ligier JS P2 Hondas, which combined to complete 35 laps, with no representative lap times but no issues reported. The team sat out most of FP2 focusing on driver comfort, including finalizing seat molds for the new car. “It is more important at this point to be prepared for Friday and Saturday,” Ryan Dalziel said.
***Jonny Adam was a late addition to the No. 95 Aston Martin Vantage V8, as the Scot completed laps on Thursday in order to gain experience of the GTE-spec car. Adam is taking part in this weekend’s British GT race at Rockingham in the Beechdeam AMR Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 with Andrew Howard, who recently purchased a GTE Aston that will debut at the Aston Martin Festival at Le Mans in June.
***The No. 95 Aston, which Adam turned laps in, is actually one driver short this weekend, with Nicki Thiim on Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland duty in Hockenhiem, leaving just Marco Sorensen and Chrisoffer Nygaard to driving duties. Nygaard, meanwhile, is nursing a bad back.
***After missing the season-opener due to a rib injury, Johannes van Overbeek has returned to Tequila Patron ESM for his first start of the FIA WEC season. “I had never missed a race in my life for any reason,” van Overbeek told Sportscar365. “It was tough. “Sitting at home while Silverstone was going on was absolute torturous.”
***Corvette Racing program manager Doug Fehan has revealed that there are no current plans to field factory Corvette C7.Rs in any additional FIA WEC races beyond the 24 Hours of Le Mans this year. The Pratt & Miller squad ran a works entry at Circuit of The Americas in 2014. “Le Mans works very well for us and makes the statement we need to make,” Fehan told Sportscar365.
***Fehan, however, has praised the FIA WEC’s new North American TV package with FOX Sports, which saw flag-to-flag live coverage of the entire Six Hours of Silverstone. “I think that series is gaining momentum and interest, certainly in the U.S. with their brilliant television coverage,” he said. “We’ll see how that goes.”
***The Silverstone coverage on FOX Sports 1 delivered strong numbers, with 122,000 viewers tuning into the opening round of the season. It compared favorably to other sports car races on the network, including the Twelve Hours of Sebring, which drew 172,000 viewers during its comparable time slot on FS1, or the next-day recap of the race, which had 80,000 viewers.
***UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has appointed FIA President Jean Todt as his Special Envoy for Road Safety. Todt, who has spearheaded the FIA’s Action for Road Safety campaign, will assist the UN in establishing a sustained political commitment to the initiative, as well as being an advocate on road safety practice.