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Spa Thursday Notebook

John Dagys’ Thursday notebook from the FIA WEC Six Hours of Spa…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

***Audi was still putting the finishing touches on its three R18 e-tron quattros in the Spa paddock, with the German manufacturer having been forced to use tubs from two of its test cars this weekend following a double DNF at Silverstone. A third car has been entered for Filipe Albuquerque and Marco Bonanomi, with Oliver Jarvis on Super GT duty for this weekend as well as the Le Mans Test Day.

***The Siverstone race-winning Toyota TS040 Hybrids will be running in low-downforce aero trim this weekend, as well as the Porsche 919 Hybrid, which retains the same Le Mans-style aero package from the season-opener. The No. 3 Audi, meanwhile, will debut the latest iteration of the R18 e-tron quattro “longtail” but both Nos. 1 and 2 cars will remain in a higher downforce configuration.

***Jota Sport, one of two new entries to the FIA WEC this weekend, will run with its tried-and-trusted spare Zytek Z11SN tub this weekend following Simon Dolan’s massive accident in the ELMS race at Silverstone. Dolan is joined by Harry Tincknell and Marc Gene, who is on loan from Audi. The British squad has failed to finish off the podium at Spa in FIA WEC competition, having won the LMP2 class in 2012.

***8Star Motorsports and OAK Racing are competing on two continents this weekend, with entries in both the FIA WEC at Spa and TUDOR United SportsCar Championship at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The French squad, which operates the G-Drive Racing effort in LMP2, claimed victory at Silverstone with Roman Rusinov, Julien Canal and Olivier Pla, who is missing his first TUDOR Championship race of the season.

***AF Corse is also pulling double-duty, but with events much closer in comparison. The Italian squad is fielding Ferraris at both Spa as well as the Nurburgring, which plays host to the season-opening round of the International GT Open.

***While OAK Racing’s Pla is in Spa, Silverstone GTE-Pro class winner Richard Lietz, along with teammate Nick Tandy are on TUDOR Championship duty in Monterey with Porsche North America. The duo joined their Porsche Team Manthey season-long drivers for the FIA WEC season opener and will return for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

***Despite additional U.S. sanctions imposed on team owner Boris Rotenberg and SMP Bank this week, SMP Racing is at Spa with both of its Oreca 03 Nissans. The Russian-backed squad will be looking to improve on what was a challenging FIA WEC debut at Silverstone that ended in mechanical failure for the No. 37 entry and multiple delays for the No. 27 car.

***As seen in Silverstone, weather could play a factor at Spa, although potentially only for Friday’s practice and qualifying sessions. There’s currently a 40 percent chance for showers tomorrow, although Saturday’s forecast calls for clear skies, oftentimes a rarity in the Ardennes in the springtime.

***After 28 years, Prodrive will be moving out of its current workshop in Banbury in August to make way for a new retail complex. The legendary British squad, responsible for the Aston Martin Racing program, will move to a new base to open by next spring. The new headquarters will reman in Banbury.

***FOX Sports 1 will broadcast highlights of the FIA WEC season-opening Six Hours of Silverstone on Monday, May 5 at 2 a.m. ET. Highlights of this weekend’s Spa round will be shown on Saturday, May 18. Live coverage is planned across the FOX family of networks for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.

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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