Lone Star Le Mans – because why wouldn’t you combine the world’s most technologically advanced racing series with the cowboy-boot-studded state? Combine the WEC (World Endurance Championship) with the Tudor United SportsCar Championship and you have the recipe for this racing fan’s favorite weekend!
Hosted at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, the Lone Star Le Mans embodies the Spirit of Le Mans…complete with a Ferris wheel, night racing, and night partying! This is the third year WEC has come to COTA and the second year the six-hour race has finished at night! We all know by now that my love for racing used to solely revolved around F1. Then I was introduced to WEC. As a fan of fast cars, I don’t see how you could not love it? You have the glitz and glamour with drivers like Mark Webber, Nick Heidfeld, and Patrick Dempsey and yet still get the access that every fan craves. Walking the Paddock, you see wide-eyed kids peeking in garages trying to get a glimpse of their favorite drivers. At any given moment you could run into Leena Gade or André Lotterer. COTA was buzzing with excitement and anticipation. Hearing the roar of the engines. FEELING the rumble of the cars. Racing series like these are great for the fans because the ability to get close to the cars, drivers, and teams is unlike any other. It’s like being allowed to stand on the sidelines of an NFL game.
It was hot. Of course, this is central Texas in the summer after all. That didn’t seem to bother the fans that came out all day and night. Saturday started off with the Tudor United SportsCar Championship race complete with a beautiful tribute car (and tribute lap) to Justin Wilson by Michael Shank Racing. A shimmery Union Jack adorned the No. 60 Ligier Honda with a custom nose featuring the likeness of Justin’s helmet and #BADASSWILSON. The car started second and narrowly missed the podium, finishing in fourth in the 2 hour 40 minute race behind No. 01Chip Ganassi Racing, No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette, and No. 90 VisitFlorida.com Corvette.
Mark Webber has driven COTA four times now; twice as a Formula 1 driver and twice in the Porsche 919 for WEC. Well, apparently the fourth time is the charm! The No. 17 Porsche finished first with the No. 7 Audi only 1 minute 6 seconds behind him. How can you not love that? A six-hour race came down to 66 seconds. Think about that. The LMP1 podium was complete with the No. 8 Audi finishing third. Dempsey Racing barely missed the podium for GTE Am, finishing fourth—behind the No. 72 Ferrari, No. 88 Porsche, and No. 83 Ferrari.
Austin did a great job welcoming the WEC to Texas yet again. Cheers to a successful third year!