***Further news on the 2016 Gulf 12 Hours is expected to come tomorrow. Andrea Ficarelli of Driving Force Events Limited told Sportscar365 they plan to introduce new incentives for teams, among other changes.
***Ficarelli said he expects to retain the same date for the race, despite it clashing with the Sepang 12 Hours this year. “We’re not going to move the date just because of Sepang,” Ficarelli told Sportscar365.
***As has been the case in previous years, Friday’s race will be split up into two six-hour segments, with a 2 hour and 15-minute intermission with service allowed to cars. The total lap count will carry over into Part 2 but the single-lap gaps will be neutralized.
***A total of 18 cars set times in qualifying, with the No. 55 AF Corse Ferrari having remained in the garage undergoing repairs from Jack Gerber’s crash in Free Practice 3. Repairs are expected to be completed for the race tomorrow.
***The lone CN car in this year’s race, the No. 23 CRM Wolf GB08, battled gearbox issues on Wednesday. The car features a number of upgrades, focused on reliability, compared to recent years for the event, which has seen GB08s represented in all five editions to date.
***Friday’s race will be the first endurance race for the Renault RS01 running in GT3 trim. A car took part in last month’s Six Hours of Rome at Vallelunga, without the GT3 kit, although battled reliability issues. It has been classified with GT3 cars this weekend due to the event’s extended interpretation of the GT3 rulebook, in line with the GT Tour regulations in France.
***Charles Espenlaub and Charlie Putman make their Gulf 12 Hours debut this weekend, following a globe-trotting season in Creventic’s 24H Series. The American duo are joined by Xavier Maassen in the Porsche Cup class pole-sitting No. 2o MRS-GT Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car.
***Espenlaub and Putman plan to mount a full-season 24H Series attack next year, as well as returning to the Nurburgring 24. They are also in discussion with Automatic Racing for selected IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge events in 2016.
***Among the supercars in the paddock this weekend is an Aston Martin Vulcan, one of only 24 produced. The left-hand-drive model has been on display next to the Oman Racing Team villa. The car, which has seen extensive development from AMR factory driver Darren Turner, retails for $2.3 million.
***Pirelli World Challenge drivers Jack Baldwin and Jeff Courtney are taking part in this week’s Maserati Trofeo World Series as both eye a potential switch to GT4-spec GranTurismo MCs for the GTS class next year.
***Follow the 5th running of the Gulf 12 Hours with live coverage on Radio Le Mans. The race gets underway Friday at 9:30 a.m. local time (12:30 a.m. ET), with full commentary from John Hindhaugh and the team on-site at Yas Marina Circuit for the first time.