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Dubai Wednesday Notebook

John Dagys’ notebook from Wednesday at Dubai…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

***Belgian Audi Club Team WRT led the way in Wednesday’s test session in Dubai, with late addition Laurens Vanthoor setting a 2:00.190 lap in the No. 19 Audi R8 LMS. The former Blancpain GT Series champion, making his 24H Dubai debut, will share the new-generation Audi with Alain Ferte, Michael Meadows and Stuart Leonard.

***While unable to match Vanthoor’s time from the first session, Optimum Motorsport led the way in the second session, thanks to a 2:00.802 lap set in the British-entered Audi. The No. 26 Konrad Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan GT3 was second on the time sheets.

***There were a number of red flags throughout, most notably a fire for the No. 7 HB Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3, in its debut race. It’s unclear if the car could be repaired for the race, as there are reports of no spare wiring loom on-site. The Austrian team has stripped the car down to its bare chassis. 

***There was also an accident for the No. 202 Red Camel-Jordans.nl MARC Mazda 3 V8, with heavy damage sustained to the front of the Australian-built silhouette.

***One of the big talking points has been Balance of Performance, particularly with the new-generation GT3 cars. The new Audi R8 LMS is currently running at a minimum weight of 1300kg and 38mm restrictor, with the Lamborghini Huracan GT3 using the same restrictor size by 40kg lighter.

***The Mercedes-AMG GT3, which makes its 24-hour debut this weekend, is at 1350kg with a 33.2mm restrictor, nearly 5mm smaller than the Audi and Lamborghinis. It is also 15kg heavier than when it ran its only two previous races, in VLN, last year.

***More than a dozen drivers are set for the January 24-hour double, in taking part in both around-the-clock enduros in Dubai and Daytona. It includes: Jeroen Bleekemolen, Maro Engel, Matteo Cressoni, Frank Stippler, Rolf Ineichen, Fabio Babini, Franz Konrad, Marc Basseng, Christopher Mies, Connor De Philippi, Renger van der Zande, Alexandre Premat, Sven Mueller and Santiago Creel.

***Competitors were greeted to a Dubai oddity — rain — today, with a few sudden downpours around noon-time and light drizzle reported during the test session. Normality is expected to resume tomorrow, with sunny skies forecast for the remainder of the week.

***Both Ram Racing and Black Falcon took delivery of their new AMG GT3s just prior to Christmas, with 2015 24H Series A6 Champions Ram completing a shakedown in the UK prior to making the trip to Dubai. Black Falcon, meanwhile, shook its two cars down at a German airfield and tested here on Saturday.

***AMG has yet to disclose how many of its new cars have been sold, although no fewer than eight Mercedes-AMG GT3s are set to be delivered this month. Four are bound for Australia, with two to Japan and a pair of cars to the U.S., for the new Weistec Engineering team in Pirelli World Challenge.

***It’s understood AMG has the capacity to deliver additional cars to the U.S. by mid-year, with the target of seeing the AMG GT3 debut in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship before the end of the year, ahead of a full customer support program in 2017.

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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