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6H Bahrain: Rookie Test Paddock Notes

A look at the cars and drivers out on track in the post-season test

Just for a short moment, let’s look beyond the blindingly obvious story of the day and take a look at what else is going on at the FIA WEC ‘Rookie’ Test.


Three cars are running today, the #1 Porsche and both Toyotas.

For Porsche this is set to be the last outing for the 919 Hybrid at a WEC meeting.

Timo Bernhard is running to set benchmark times for Formula V8 3.5 World Series Champion Pietro Fittipaldi (featured), who won the chance to test the Porsche by sealing the final World Series Championship here this weekend.The Brazilian will get at least 30 laps during the days two track sessions.

So too will Thomas Laurent, the 19-year-old Frenchman falling just short of sealing the LMP2 Championship with Jackie Chan DC Racing yesterday when a fuel system problem forced the team to pit for an additional late race splash and dash.

It’s been a meteoric rise for Laurent, picked up by the Jackie Chan DC Racing team two seasons ago and already with LMP3 and LMP2 success behind him in the Asian Le Mans Series and now the FIA WEC.

Mike Conway is mentoring Laurent and setting benchmark times in the #7 TS050. 

As reported earlier on DSC, the sister #8 Toyota is being utilised for Fernando Alonso’s much anticipated test, the Spaniard supported by Sebastien Buemi for the day.


Five cars are present for the test, as the remainder of the field packs up for the off season.

Vaillante Rebellion is fielding the #13 ORECA for Matevos Isaakyan, the Russian finishing second in the World Series and adding a WEC LMP2 test to his part season in the ELMS, which included a race win at Paul Ricard, with SMP Racing.

TDS Racing are testing a pair of young drivers in their #26 and #28 ORECAs, 19-year-old Indian driver and 2017 Boss GP Champion Mahaveer.

Raghunathan in the #26 G-Drive car, Konstantin Tereshchenko, 2015 Spanish F3 Champions and 2017 Formula V8 podium finisher, in the #28, the

Signatech Alpine are testing 19-year-old Gabriel Aubry, the Formula Renault Eurocup race winner likely on their radar as a potential ‘Super Silver’. Nico Lapierre provides the mentoring here

And finally, Jackie Chan DC Racing are fielding both of its cars, the ‘Mighty #38’ for Ho Pin Tung, though the car was still undergoing attention to its faulty fuel system this morning.

The #37 meanwhile is fielded for 17-year-old Rinus Van Kalmhout fresh from a race win in the MRF Challenge here over the weekend whilst ex single seater racer, 22 year old Canadian Garett Grist tries out an LMP2 for the first time, after recentying taking a win at Petit Le Mans in the last ever LMPC IMSA race with BAR1.

With Thomas Laurent set to be ‘elevated’ to Gold status next season, the Jackie Chan DC Racing crew are looking for a ‘Super Silver’ replacement


Five cars are due to be out on track.

Porsche are tyre testing and are giving ‘try-outs’ to a couple of young hopefuls, Earl Bamber and Nick Tandy! The 2015 Le Mans winners, and in the case of Bamber the 2017 Le Mans and World Champion, getting some re-acclimatisation aboard a GTE car ahead of their expected 2018 programmes.

All four regular FIA WEC drivers are also listed for the test.

Three Ferraris are listed, both Pro cars and the #61 Clearwater Racing GTE Am machine.

The #61 Clearwater car is being used for Olivier Beretta and 2017 Blancpain GT driving partner Ishikawa Motoaki, the pair understood to be looking to step up to the FIA WEC in GTE Am next season.

Alfonso Celis Jr meanwhile is the third man from the Formula V8 grid to have earned a test today, his third place in the final Championship order grabbing him a GTE test. He shares the championship-winning #51 488 GTE with Miguel Molina.

Molina is also listed in the sister #71 car with Davide Rigon, Amato Ferrari slightly coy bout what was being tested, certainly not the 2018 ‘Evo’ version of the car, but rather we believe tyres and some minor systems changes.