***Saturday’s Gulf 12 Hours will feature a 24-car field, down from the projected 40 entry cap that was provisionally reached in September. Event promoter Andrea Ficarelli, of Driving Force Events Ltd., said they were realistically anticipating around 30 cars this weekend due to limited garage space because of the event’s expanded support races.
***However, event promoters were faced with a handful of late withdrawals, including one high-profile factory effort. Clearwater Racing (Ferrari), Triple Eight (BMW), Leipert Motorsport (Lamborghini) were also planning to be present, as well as up to four Ferrari 458 Challenge cars from Kessel Racing.
***Despite the smaller-than-expected entry, the overall event is 50 percent larger than last year, thanks to the addition of the Audi R8 LMS Cup and Toyota TRD 86 Cup, although it’s resulted in many Gulf 12 Hour teams sharing garages. Ficarelli said all teams will have their garages next year, with the headline event taking priority before finalizing the support package.
***GT3 cars are running to a modified set of Balance of Performance regulations based on the FIA’s ruleset this weekend. Minor changes have been made since last year, with the event promoters having taken into account results from other GT3 championships worldwide.
***CN cars are running with an increased ride height compared to last year. The Italian manufacturer Wolf lobbied to use the underfloor tunnels on the grounds of safety after not being permitted to use the aerodynamic device on their Wolf GB08s last year.
***Ficarelli said there’s a possibility of a CN/Prototype standalone race here next year, to leave the Gulf 12 Hours for GT3 and Porsche Cup cars only. The proposed support race could be between two to three hours in length and be eligible for CN cars, Radicals and other junior-level prototypes, although there are no plans to include LMP3 machinery.
***The No. 45 Avelon Formula Wolf GB08 is the only two-driver lineup this weekend, with Ricardo Teixeira being a no-show in the CN entry. As a result, the car has faced an eight position grid penalty due to the aggregate style qualifying format.
***Next year’s Gulf 12 Hours has been confirmed for next December, although with a to-be-determined date. Ficarelli said this year’s event was moved from its traditional Friday race day to Saturday to accommodate the larger support series package. No decision has been made on the timetable of the 2015 event.
***AF Corse, Avelon Formula and Kessel Racing are the three teams that took part in all four editions of the Gulf 12 Hours. They are also the three teams that secured pole positions in the past, prior to today’s pole-run by McLaren GT.
***Live streaming video of the Gulf 12 Hours will be available for the first time. The race starts Saturday at 8:50 a.m. local time (Friday, 11:50 p.m. ET) and runs until 2:50 p.m. (5:50 a.m. ET). Segment 2 starts Saturday at 6 p.m. (9 a.m. ET) and runs until 12 a.m. local time, (3 p.m. ET). Click Here to view the live stream, as well as live timing and scoring.
Marcel ten Caat contributed to this report