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FIA WEC: Fuji, Race Preview Part 2, The GTEs

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LM GTE-Pro: 7 Cars
51 AF Corse Gianmaria Bruni Toni Vilander Ferrari 458 Italia
71 AF Corse Davide Rigon James Calado Ferrari 458 Italia
91 Porsche AG Team Manthey Richard Lietz Michael Christensen Porsche 911 RSR
92 Porsche AG Team Manthey Patrick Pilet Frédéric Makowiecki Porsche 911 RSR
95 Aston Martin Racing Christoffer Nygaard Marco Sørensen Aston Martin Vantage V8
97 Aston Martin Racing Darren Turner Jonny Adam Aston Martin Vantage V8
99 Aston Martin Racing V8 Alex MacDowall Fernando Rees Stefan Mucke Aston Martin Vantage V8

It’s the regular seven again with only one change to report from CoTA as Stefan Mucke rejoins the AMR squad but not in the #97 car, instead he replaces Richie Stanaway in the #99, the rapid Kiwi on GP2 duty this weekend at Sochi.

Stefan Mucke

There’s some minor tinkering with BoP for Fuji with the Porsches, almost ludicrously dominant in Texas getting a modest weight increase. The Aston Martins (Pro and Am) meanwhile get some (but not all) of the ponies back taken with a post Le Mans restrictor change.

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The utterly dominant 1,2 in Texas sees the #91 Porsche Team Manthey effort now atop the GTE Teams points battle by 6 points from the consistently pacey #71 AF Corse Ferrari with the recently troubled #51 a further 15 seconds back, the best of the Astons, the #99, sits a further 8 points more further back – 29 off the lead total.

In the Drivers standings Richard Lietz stands alone on top of the points standings nine points clear of the #71 Ferrari duo of Davide Rigon and James Calado.

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Michael Christensen sits third before we get to the defending champions, Messrs Bruni and Vilander have scored just 7.5 points at the last two rounds to Lietz’s 50! They now sit 29.5 points off the leaders total.

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Alec Mcdowall, Fernando Rees and Richie Stanaway are next up, though Stanaway will fall back from his regular team-mates if and when they score in Japan.

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Importantly though the Championship that really counts , the Manufacturers, is still led by Ferrari, but only now by 2 points, the men in red scoring exactly the same number of points in the last two races (43) that the men in white managed in just one!

LM GTE-Am: 7 Cars
50 Larbre Competition Gianluca Roda Paolo Ruberti Nicolai Sylvest Chevrolet Corvette C7
72 SMP Racing Victor Shaytar Andrea Bertolini Aleksey Basov Ferrari 458 Italia
77 Dempsey-Proton Racing Patrick Dempsey Patrick Long Marco Seefried Porsche 911 RSR
83 AF Corse Francois Perrodo Emmanuel Collard Rui Aguas Ferrari 458 Italia
88 Abu Dhabi-Proton Competition Christian Reid Khaled Al Qubaisi Earl Bamber Porsche 911 RSR
96 Aston Martin Racing Francesco Castellacci Liam Griffin Stuart Hall Aston Martin Vantage V8
98 Aston Martin Racing Paul Dalla Lana Pedro Lamy Mathias Lauda Aston Martin Vantage V8

There are a pair of WEC debutant drivers listed for Fuji:

Nicolai Sylvest replaces Kristian Poulsen for this one in the Larbre Corvette, his fellow Dane has unavoidable business commitments and the ex single seater racer and 2015 Rowe Racing Blancpain Endurance Series entrant will thus make his WEC and GTE race debuts.

In the #96 Aston Martin Liam Griffin brings British GT race winning form to the task in hand he replaces Roald Goethe here and, we believe, in China too.

Aside from an identical restrictor break for the AM Astons to their Pro class cousins the only BoP change is for the Larbre Corvette, the C7.R gets a significant 20 kilo weight break – will it be enough to turn around the poor form that Luckless Larbre have suffered?

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In the Championship standings a three race winning streak from the #72 SMP Racing Ferrari crew has given them a commanding points lead, 35 points clear of the ultra consistent #83 AF Corse 458 with the early season points leading #98 Aston Martin now a full 50 points back! We’re now into the realms of the Vantage boys needing the Ferraris to trip up, likely more than once!

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Fourth in the order is the #77 Dempsey Proton Porsche. They’re just two points behind the #98 in fourth place.

Earl Bamber once again guests in the sister #88 911 RSR.