Race: 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps
Race time: Saturday 1430 CEST
TV: FOX Sports 1&2 in the USA , MotorsTV/Eurosport in Europe
(See local listings for details)
The FIA WEC began round 2 of the championship from Spa-Francorchamps today with two opening practice sessions.
For those who don’t routinely follow the series, despite the tens of thousands of kilometres and many hours of testing the LMP1 teams do, the Spa-Francorchamps round of the FIA WEC (The Six Hours of Spa) plays an important part in preparation ahead of 24 Heures Du Mans. The LMP1 teams of Audi Sport Team Joest and Porsche AG bring additional car entries and the Le Mans aero packages will be used by Audi and Toyota for the first time this season.
Unfortunately the weather conditions also caused issues today with an accident involving both Toyota Gazoo Racing and Audi Sport Team Joest occurring during Free Practice 1. The accident occurred on the Kemmel straight with Kazuki Nakajima, the pilot of the #1 Toyota TS040, emerging from behind an LMP2 car, hitting the rear of a slow moving #8 Audi Sport Team Joest entry driven by Oliver Jarvis in extremely poor visibility conditions. As a result of the accident, Kazuki Nakajima is ruled out for the weekend having suffered a fractured vertebrae.
With respect the cars involved, Audi is currently repairing the #8 entrant with plans for the car to be on track during FP3 tomorrow. The #1 Toyota requires a change of monocoque following damage sustained in the accident.
Porsche saw a strong opening day at Spa with the team fastest in both sessions. Romain Dumas, Marc Lieb and Neel Jani went fastest in the first session, whilst Nico Hulkenberg’s debut race weekend with teammates, Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber set the pace in the second session. Given the very poor weather and limited running, the times are not indicative for the remainder of the weekend.
Two P2 entries join the FIA WEC field for Spa, a single car from Team SARD-Morand, and also a single car entrant from Jota Sport. Jota also has GP2 star, Mitch Evans, in the car this weekend, whilst US based Extreme Speed Motorsports has changed from the pair of aging HPD ARX 03 the team ran at Silverstone to a pair of Ligier JS P2’s.
The GT ranks remain static from Silverstone with regards to the number of cars as well as the models in competition.
Porsche AG Team Manthey, however, does see driver changes with Kevin Estre and Sven Muller piloting the #91 entry. The reason for the change is commitments by Porsche to a third car in the LMP1 team taking Earl Bamber and Nick Tandy whilst additionally this weekend, Porsche North America requires Patrick Pilet and Michael Christensen to pilot the GTLM entrants in the Tudor United Sportscar Championship’s Laguna Seca round.