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Spa Wednesday Notebook

John Dagys’ Wednesday WEC notebook from Spa…

Photo: Florent Gooden/DPPI

Photo: Florent Gooden/DPPI

***A total of 30 cars are set for this weekend’s WEC Six Hours of Spa, marking an increase of three entries in the debuts of the third Toyota TS050 Hybrid and second Signatech-entered Alpine A470 Gibson, and Tockwith Motorsport’s Ligier JS P217 Gibson.

***Jose Maria Lopez has not yet been cleared to race this weekend, following the Argentinean’s heavy accident last month at Silverstone. A Toyota spokesperson told Sportscar365 that Lopez is due to meet with the FIA Medical Delegate later today with the hope of gaining clearance. His accident triggered the new-for-2017 “medical light” installed on all LMP1 cars.

***Reigning Super Formula champion Yuji Kunimoto makes his LMP1 debut in the No. 9 Toyota alongside Stephane Sarrazin and Nico Lapierre, who re-enters the top prototype class for the next two races. Romain Dumas fills in for Lapierre in the No. 36 Alpine.

***The Tockwith Ligier, meanwhile, marks the first non-Oreca car to compete in the new-look LMP2 class this year. It’s understood additional WEC races are planned for the British team, which sees ex-Formula One driver Karun Chandhok join Nigel Moore and Phil Hanson for this weekend and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

***Tockwith is receiving engineering and technical support from United Autosports this weekend, which gave the Ligier its maiden victory last month at Silverstone. Richard Dean will be among the personnel from the Anglo-American team that are at Spa.

***Aside from Ben Hanley, who subs for Matthieu Vaxiviere in the No. 28 TDS Racing Oreca, due to a training injury, are no other driver changes compared to last month’s season-opener at Silverstone.

***Jota Sport did a ceremonial handover of the “Mighty 38” (pictured above) from its Gibson 015S Nissan to the No. 38 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca 07 Gibson, which the British squad operates. Harry Tincknell handed over the “key” to DC Racing driver Ho-Pin Tung, who is coming off LMP2 class victory at Silverstone with co-drivers Oliver Jarvis and Thomas Laurent.

***The “Mighty 38”, which retired from active competition after last year’s European Le Mans Series season-ending round at Estoril, has two class victories in the Spa WEC race (2012, 2015) and failed to finish off the podium in a total of four attempts. The chassis is owned by Simon Dolan, who is currently on a sabbatical from driving.

***The pair of Vaillante Rebellion Orecas have remained in its Silverstone colors for this weekend, despite the recent unveil of an updated livery, which will debut on the cars at Le Mans. The new livery is expected to be on display this weekend in the Spa paddock on one of the team’s Rebellion R-One prototypes.

***Andrea Bertolini is expected to be confirmed as the third driver in the DH Racing Ferrari 488 GTE car alongside Tracy Krohn and Nic Jonsson for Le Mans. The Italian driver is no stranger to the Krohn/Jonsson pairing, having previously made starts in the team’s Ferraris in IMSA competition.

***Teo Martin Motorsport could take part in the 2019 Le Mans 24 Hours with a BMW M8, with the International GT Open squad evaluating a step up to the world’s stage with the Bavarian manufacturer’s new GTE car, should it become available to customers.

“We have asked [BMW] to run it next year. Unfortunately for us, it will only be a factory program in 2018,” Martin told Endurance-Info. “I’m keeping it in the corner of my head. If the opportunity comes in 2019, then we will seriously consider it.”

***Rain is likely to be a factor in this weekend’s event, with a 70 percent of showers forecast for tomorrow, with a chance of rain on Friday as well. Teams were greeted to intermittent rain today, which has oftentimes become a norm at the historic Belgian circuit.

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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