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FIA WEC: Bahrain, Saturday Paddock Notes, 2016 Plans, & 2015 Problems

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AF Racing’s David Markozov was levied a €5,000 Euro fine after taking the checkered flag three times in Free Practice 2.

Amongst the potential 2016 WEC efforts is a doubling of the Larbre Competition Corvette effort to a 2 car squad though it seems one serious aspect of the hoped for GTE Pro effort has been stymied by the signing of the Taylor Brothers to the Corvette Racing team for Le Mans.

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The recent improved form of the Signatech Alpine team with second place in Japan in LMP2, a win in China and Pole position in Bahrain has done no harm whatsoever to securing the team’s planned return to the WEC in 2016 with a new Nissan engined Oreca 05 Coupe (with an expected Alpine rebrand!).

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As reported by DSC in Shanghai there is set to be a much closer working relationship between OAK Racing and Tequila Patron ESM next year when the US team returns for a second two car effort in the FIA WEC.

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The team will move its European headquarters from the UK to France and operate out of the OAK Racing shop.

“Our relationship with OAK Racing has grown over this year,” said Scott Sharp, owner/driver, Tequila Patrón ESM. “They have offered an unparalleled level of support including engineering assistance for the last few races of the FIA WEC. We are excited to announce we have increased our partnership for 2016. We will move our European base from the UK to Le Mans, compete with current race cars and equipment, benefit from both ESM and OAK Racing staff and rely heavier on OAK Racing’s expertise!”

“We have enjoyed a fantastic relationship with Onroak Automotive this year,” added Ed Brown, Tequila Patrón ESM driver and president and chief executive officer, Patrón Spirits International.  “It only made sense for us to utilize our great brands in a better way for 2016 together! We really look forward to our partnership with OAK Racing in 2016.”

“I’m very proud and excited to be part of this Tequila Patron ESM adventure,” said Philippe Dumas, OAK Racing team principal. “No doubt it will be an amazing story.”

That further confirms the G-Drive racing team in its current form as racing for the final time today with Roman Rusinov already understood to be confirmed elsewhere for 2016.

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The end of the 2015 FIA WEC season tomorrow sees the final race as a factory backed entrant for the Ferrari 458, the car that has represented the Prancing Horse in every FIA WEC race in both GTE Pro and GTE Am.

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The 458 GTE has scored 22 class wins in the WEC, 14 in Pro, 8 in AM and, in China, scored a double win that equalled the record total of Aston Martin with the V8 Vantage.That total includes three class wins at Le mans, two for AF Corse in GTE Pro, and one for SMP Racing in GTE Am

With Aston Martin and Ferrari tied on 22 class wins, and with Porsche on 20 (but entered in three classes, tomorrow’s race could see any of the three manufacturers set a new record breaking total in the WEC’s 32 race history thus far.

Aston Martin’s attack will be blunted by a 3 minute stop & hold penalty for the #99 car after an error saw the team use a fifth set of tyres before Qualifying.