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Paul Ricard Friday Notebook

Laurent Mercier’s Friday notebook from Le Castellet…

Photo: Laurent Mercier

Photo: Laurent Mercier

***The Ultracar paddock has begun to fill at Paul Ricard, with two Lamborghini Venenos arriving this morning. They’ll join a Ferrari 599XX that’s already in place. The first track run for the new club is scheduled for Saturday at 11:20 a.m. local.

***ISR is down to a single Audi R8 LMS ultra this weekend due to Fabio Onidi not having yet been cleared to race following his accident at Monza. The team could not find a replacement driver in time, therefore resulting in the withdrawal of the No. 74 car.

***A fourth mechanic will be allowed to assist Alex Zanardi during pit stops. The Italian driver makes his endurance racing debut this weekend, and for the first time, will share a car with other drivers.

***The TDS Racing BMW Z4 GT3 suffered an accident in Free Practice this morning, although the car returned to action for Pre-Qualifying. There were issues, meanwhile, for the Marc VDS BMW during the evening session, which limited its running.

***Gianmaria Bruni will take part in the Total 24 Hours of Spa, teaming with Stephane Lemeret, Alessandro Pier Guidi and Pasin Lathouras in a AF Corse-entered Ferrari 458 Italia GT3.

***Olivier Pla has also been confirmed for the Belgian endurance classic, where he’ll join Ricardo Sanchez, Gaetan Paletou and Florian Strauss in Nissan GT Academy Team RJN’s Pro-Am Cup class entry. It will mark the Frenchman’s Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 debut.

***Bronze and Silver-rated drivers will be be eligible to take part in a Bronze Test during the Tuesday prior to the Total 24 Hours of Sa. The three-hour session is aimed to help the gentlemen drivers familiarize themselves with the circuit, following an accident-filled race last year.

***Following its success in the Blancpain GT Series, the Sean Edwards Test could be used in other championships in the future. The test, which requires all drivers to answer a series of questions related to safety, was introduced into the series this year.

Laurent Mercier (@LaurentMercier2) is the Editor-in-Chief of, the leading French-language source for the latest sports car racing news from around the world.

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