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Spa Wednesday Notebook

John Dagys’ Wednesday notebook from Spa-Francorchamps…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

***Porsche’s Neel Jani, Romain Dumas and Marc Lieb were presented with the Royal Automobile Club Tourist Trophy on Wednesday. The trio inherited the overall victory in last month’s season-opening Six Hours of Silverstone following the exclusion of the No. 7 Audi R18 due to excessive wear on its skid block.

***Thirty four cars are set for this weekend’s Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, with the No. 38 G-Drive Racing Gibson 015S Nissan of Simon Dolan, Giedo Van Der Garde and Jake Dennis joining the LMP2 grid. It gives a further boost to the class, which now features 12 entries.

***G-Drive Racing is out in force this weekend, with 26 total crew between the two Jota Sport-run LMP2 entries. The team has not finished off of the podium with its Gibson 015S chassis in WEC competition at Spa, with two class victories (2012 and 2015), a runner-up finish in 2014 and third place in 2013.

***Team principal Sam Hignett told Sportscar365 they are running the Gibson and Oreca 05 Nissans out of separate garages this weekend but will run as one single team at Le Mans.

***The Porsche 919 Hybrid debuts new headlights this weekend. The Audi-esq design first ran on the LMP1 contender in pre-season testing and most recently in last weekend’s test at Motorland Aragon, where it racked up more than 7,500 kilometers. Toyota was also in attendance in Spain.

***Ford Chip Ganassi Racing WEC team principal George Howard-Chappell told Sportscar365 that its 4.5mm larger refueling restrictor, issued this week in the latest round of Balance of Performance changes, should put them back on even ground with the GTE-Pro competition. Howard-Chappell said they were 3 seconds slower on refueling at Silverstone, which affected race strategy.

***The UK-based Ford squad is coming off a successful 27-hour endurance test at Motorland Aragon last week. All six drivers shared the wheel of a single Ford GT, with no major issues reported. “We completed a run that was comfortably longer than the Le Mans 24 Hours, which gives us great confidence in the reliability of the cars,” Howard-Chappell said.

***Both Ganassi IMSA team manager Mike O’Gara and team owner Chip Ganassi will be making the trip to Spa this weekend. The O’Gara-led IMSA squad is coming off its maiden GTLM class victory last weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca with Richard Westbrook and Ryan Briscoe.

***Ford Chip Ganassi Racing, Aston Martin Racing, Tequila Patron ESM, RGR Sport by Morand and Michael Shank Racing will be among the teams present at Monza later this month for a pre-Le Mans test.

***Manor WEC team principal John Booth has joined the Toro Rosso Formula One team as director of racing on a consultancy basis. Booth remains partners with Graeme Lowdon in its new LMP2 venture. Lowdon, meanwhile, completed the London Marathon last month.

***RGR Sport by Morand Sporting Director Toni Calderon will be taking over the team’s Twitter and Facebook channels on Saturday for an interactive fan experience. Use the hashtag #rgrinsider to ask anything from race strategy to in-race updates and more.

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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