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Le Mans Sunday Notebook

John Dagys’ notebook from opening day of scrutineering at Le Mans…

***A total of 22 cars of the expanded 62-car entry to this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans completed scrutineering on Sunday at the Place de la Republique in downtown Le Mans. Among the notable teams to go through the administrative checks included Toyota Gazoo Racing, Corvette Racing and all four factory Porsche 911 RSRs.

***The majority of the field are scheduled for scrutineering tomorrow, which gets underway at 9:30 a.m. local time and runs through 5:20 p.m. Click Here for the full schedule.

***Corvette Racing is celebrating its 20th consecutive Le Mans, an all-time event record that also sees the 18th straight team start for Oliver Gavin and 16th for Jan Magnussen, in what is believed to be the Corvette C7.R’s final appearance in the French endurance classic.

***Doug Fehan, Corvette’s longtime program manager, says the scrutineering event has changed “remarkably” since their first trip to France in 2000. “You go back and look at photographs when we were down at [Place des] Jacobins. There were a lot of people there but it wasn’t as accessible. It was a smaller event,” he told Sportscar365. “It was actually more technical than ceremonial.

“You look at the tents that are set up around here now and how this has grown in the Place de Republique… this is a big deal. This is all part of the tradition that makes Le Mans, Le Mans.”

***Gustavo Menezes and Nathanael Berthon spray-painted the sponsor wall in the interview zone this afternoon, as part of Rebellion Racing’s ‘new image’ this week. Menezes sprayed his signature, while Berthon began to write the team’s tagline “We Are Rebells” but was asked to stop after “We Are”.

***Thomas Laurent admitted that the Rebellion R13 Gibsons aren’t very strong on qualifying pace after a disappointing showing at Test Day, but expects their race pace to be much better. He also hasn’t ruled out an overall win. “If we qualify 5th, 6th, 7th, I just don’t care about it. I just want a clear race and to be one of the fastest cars on track to have the possibility to fight for the win. Everything is possible at Le Mans,” Laurent told Sportscar365.

***For the third consecutive year, Jota Sport used cardboard cutouts during scrutineering, in a full-size cut-out of its longtime sporting director, Bob Friend, who was not present today but will be at the race. Last year, the team held up Ho-Pin Tung face masks during the group photo, and in 2017, a full Ho-Pin cutout was present because of the Chinese driver’s absence due to Formula E duties on both occasions.

***Tung, ironically was missing again during scrutineering for the third straight year, this time due to his Dutch Formula 1 commentary commitments. A number of other drivers missed their team photo today and are expected to go through their administrative checks process tomorrow.

***Fuel capacities for GTE-Pro and GTE-Am entries were declared last week, with no changes to either category’s Balance of Performance from the Test Day. The FIA, however, holds the right to make BoP changes in race week.

***The defending GTE-Pro winning Porsche 911 RSR will run with a maximum fuel capacity of 99 liters. Others: Aston Martin Vantage GTE (97 liters, Ford GT (96 liters), Corvette C7.R (95 liters), BMW M8 GTE (91 liters) and Ferrari 488 GTE (88 liters).

***Fuel capacities are slightly different for GTE-Am, with the previous-gen Aston Martin at 99 liters and the Porsche, Ford and Ferraris all 1 liter less than their GTE-Pro counterpart.

***For the first time in history, the legendary red, white and blue Brumos Racing colors will be displayed on race cars at Le Mans, in the pair of CORE autosport-run Nos. 93 and 94 Porsche 911 RSRs.

***Three-time Le Mans winner Hurley Haywood, who achieved much of his success with Brumos Racing, is serving as the event’s grand marshal.

***Details on the FIA and ACO’s Hypercar regulations will be confirmed during Friday’s annual ACO press conference, which is expected to be followed by confirmation of Hypercar programs from both Toyota and Aston Martin later that afternoon.

***As first reported by Sportscar365 last month, a modified version of the initial prototype-based regulations is understood to have been presented to the FIA World Motor Sport Council for approval.

***The 2019-20 WEC entry list will also be released during Friday’s press conference, with upwards of 30 full-season entries expected.

***Three drivers will celebrate their birthdays in Le Mans. Loic Duval will turn 37 on Wednesday, while on Thursday, Filipe Albuquerque will turn 34 and James Calado will celebrate his 30th.

***Prolific Jaguar test driver and 1955 Le Mans competitor Norman Dewis OBE has died at the age of 98. Dewis was responsible for developing and testing several classic Jaguar road and race models including the C-Type, D-Type, E-Type and Mk. II.

***Villorba Corse is planning to announce a new LMP3 program in addition to its current customer program with ACE1, according to team principal Raimondo Amadio.

***Amadio explained to Sportscar365 that the team’s slated ELMS entry with former World Challenge competitor Yuki Harata and ACE1 was put on the reserve list for 2019, due to the sheer number of accepted entries.

Jake Kilshaw and Daniel Lloyd contributed to this report

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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