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Spa Friday Notebook

John Dagys’ Friday notebook from Spa-Francorchamps…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

***Stephane Ratel’s annual press conference, which typically takes place on Friday at Spa, has been canceled due to the 2016 Blancpain GT Series schedule not yet being finalized. Next year’s calendar is now expected to be announced during September’s season finale weekend at the Nürburgring.

***While there has been some talk about the Balance of Performance in the paddock during the week, no major changes were made between Paul Ricard and Spa. Both Audi models, McLaren, Bentley and BMW all lost a little bit of weight, while there were some minor ride height changes as well.

***Per the rulebook, changes to the air restrictor size cannot be made within a two-week window of an event, forcing the SRO GT Bureau to instead tweak weight and ride height, which must be confirmed within seven days of each race. Both Spa and the previous round at Paul Ricard falls under a Type B track on the SRO’s four-tier variable BoP system.

***Race Control has been very strict in enforcing the track limits. Not only did they impose stop-and-go penalties during Free Practice, around half the field had their best lap canceled due to infringements. There were two other incidents later in Night Qualifying on pit lane, which saw two undisclosed drivers clocked at 138 km/h and 121 km/h, instead of the 50 km/h speed limit.

***Belgian Audi Club Team WRT is exploring the possibility of some overseas races later this year. Nothing is confirmed yet, but an entry in in the FIA GT World Cup in Macau is being considered, as well as the Sepang 12 Hours, which is now under SRO management.

***While customer deliveries of the new Audi R8 LMS are set to begin later this year, Audi will continue supporting its existing R8 LMS ultra model. “Every customer who owns an Audi race car, we won’t make a difference between an old car and new car,” said Head of Audi Sport customer racing Romolo Liebchen. “The only thing we have to discuss is how to support out of the spare part truck at the track.”

***Ram Racing is considering a possible entry into the Blancpain Endurance Series next year. The British squad, which currently completes in the Creventic-run 24H Series with a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3, is understood to be pursuing the purchase of a new AMG GT3 for 2016.

***The FIA has opened applications for the GT World Cup at Macau. As exclusively revealed by Sportscar365 earlier this month, a total of eight GT3 manufacturers will be represented on the grid with three cars each. Manufacturers have until Sept. 6 to confirm their participation, with the official entry list to be released before Oct. 1.

***Marc VDS Racing has called in the help of DKR Engineering to support the running of the third ‘Racing Against Cancer’ Z4 GT3. For 2016, the team from Luxemburg is looking into LMP3, while not ruling out an upgrade to new GT3 material.

Vincent Wouters 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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