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Bahrain Notebook

John Dagys’ pre-race notebook from the FIA WEC Six Hours of Bahrain…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

***Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich celebrates his 20th year as Head of Audi Motorsport this weekend. Ullrich’s illustrious career began with the German manufacturer’s involvement in touring car racing, prior to its move to sports prototype racing, initially with the R8R in 1999 before more than a decade of success with various LMP1 prototypes.

***Porsche debuts its updated 911 RSR this weekend, which features revised aerodynamics, particularly in the front and rear, as well as modifications to both axles. According to Hartmut Kristen, Head of Porsche Motorsport, roughly 30 percent of the car is new. Testing with the new chassis began in early September.

***More than three quarters of the race will be run in the dark, although aided by the recent installation of lights in anticipation for an F1 night race here next year.

***The No. 8 Toyota TS030 Hybrid will be skating on thin ice today, after the Sebastien Buemi-driven LMP1 car overtook while under a red flag in practice on Thursday. As a result, the team has been handed a $2,700 (2,000 Euro) fine and will be excluded from the event for another flag-related violation.

***After a successful six-year relationship, which has included back-to-back overall wins at the Petit Le Mans, numerous podiums and two consecutive FIA WEC LMP1 Privateer Championships, Rebellion Racing will run its final race with Lola machinery this weekend. The Anglo-Swiss squad is set to debut ORECA-built Rebellion R-One prototypes in LMP1 Privateer next year.

***ACO President Pierre Fillon and WEC boss Gerard Neveu do not expect there to be any changes to the series’ qualifying format for 2014. The new system, which incorporates the average four best lap times from two drivers, was introduced at Silverstone earlier this year with generally positive reviews.

***8Star Motorsports is unlikely to return to the WEC next year, as team boss Enzo Potolicchio has become in high demand due to his newly classified Bronze driver ranking status. The Venezuelan driver says he’s already received offers from three GTE-Am teams for 2014. A Bronze-rated driver will be required for all GTE-Am entries next year.

***Longtime Risi Competizone engineer Rick Mayer has joined Krohn Racing for this weekend, marking the third different race engineer in the last five races for the U.S.-based squad. It’s understood Risi will play an increased role within the team, which hopes to kick off its 2014 program at the Rolex 24 at Daytona with its GTE-spec Ferrari 458 Italia.

***The newly announced LMP3 category will not be part of the WEC, according to Neveu, who also confirmed that there are no plans for a Super Endurance Weekend with the Asian Le Mans Series in 2014, but would not rule it out for the future.

***Watch lights-to-flag coverage of the Six Hours of Bahrain at http://live.fiawec.com, beginning Saturday at 7 a.m. ET.

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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