Looking Back – Circuit Of The Americas & WEC Review

Audi, with 9-time Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen and teammates Allan McNish and Loic Duval, took overall & P1 honors at the FIA World Endurance Championship race at the outstanding Circuit of the Americas in Austin on September 22.

After a spirited battle with the Toyota TS030 Hybrid of Anthony Davidson, Sebastien Buemi and Stephane Sarrazin, the Audi R18 e-tron quattro was victorious, extending Audi’s lead in the manufacturers championship and adding to the winning drivers points lead as well. The second Audi R18 e-tron quattro of Andre Lotterer, Benoit Treluyer and Marcel Fassler rounded out the podium finishers.

The Rebellion Racing Lola B12/60 Coupe of Nicolas Prost, Nick Heidfeld and Mathias Beche took privateer P1 honors and fourth overall, as the only car it’s class, while Roman Rusinov, John Martin and Mike Conway took P2 honors with their Oreca 03 – Nissan.

LMGTE Pro and Am divisions were won by Aston Martin and their quite striking Vantage V8, with the Pro car driven by Bruno Senna and Frederic Makowiecki while the winning Am entry was driven by Stuart Hall and Jamie Campbell-Walter.

The weather was perfect as could be, with comfortable temperatures in the 80’s and not a cloud in the beautiful Texas sky. An enthusiastic crowd of sports car fans turned out to see the only US appearance of the FIA WEC series, and one could tell from their questions and comments for the drivers during the autograph session on pit lane prior to the race that these people were hardcore and knew their stuff. This round of the WEC has been confirmed on the FIA WEC schedule for next season, and one hopes that as word spreads about this series and this incredible facility, larger crowds will make the trek to Austin to enjoy the Texas hospitality and the great cars and drivers of the FIA World Endurance Championship.

I have been to many race tracks in my career, but one would be very hard pressed to find a better racing circuit anywhere – not only in the US, but anywhere in the world. The facilities are state of the art, there are outstanding views virtually everywhere around the 20-turn track and not enough can be said about the friendliness of the staff, volunteers, workers and fans at the Circuit of the Americas. Throw in the incredible 230-foot tall tower which sits in the middle of the facility, and you have one hell of a racetrack.

Austin and all of Texas should be proud of the Circuit of the Americas. They have quite a gem there and I, for one, am looking to making many more visits to this outstanding track. You should mark your calendar for September 19-21, 2014, the date of next year’s sports car doubleheader, which will again feature the FIA WEC race along with the new Tudor United Sports Car Series.

But, hey, why wait until next year? You can still make arrangements to see the Formula One United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas on November 15-17 of this year. Once you visit this place, you will want to return again and again.

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