2016 Lone Star Le Mans at COTA - Porsche Retain the Lead of the FIA World Endurance

The World Endurance Championship and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship combined to bring the 2016 Lone Star Le Mans to Circuit of The Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas from Thursday, September 15th to Saturday, September 17th.  It was a three-day thrilling event with almost nine hours of racing and entertainment, including its last night that finished under the stars with a sensational firework show presented by Texas Lottery.

The Lone Star Le Mans offered to fans the opportunity to experience two premier sports car series during a joint event that combined each of their schedules: the global FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) and the North American-based IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.  

Since 2012 the WEC has featured manufacturer teams from current World Champions such as Porsche, Audi, Toyota, Ferrari, Aston Martin, and now in 2016, they welcomed Ford GTs to WEC.  The combination of  major automotive manufacturers and some of the finest drivers ensures that spectators are privileged by watching some of the highest level endurance racing of all time at the 3.4 Mile track of the Circuit of Americas. The event this year certainly brought excitement with the return of the contagious buzz of top international sports car racing together with the heat in the heart of Texas, but with delightful temperatures after sunset.

The high profile endurance racing each year presents a family-friendly feast in Austin and the event has been gaining a splendid and extraordinary international attention.  The event offered followers and admirers this year plenty of entertainment such as interactive car displays, live music, fireworks, MSA Porsche GT3 Cup, Lamborghini Super Trofeo, Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, and an open paddock where devotees who purchased the exclusive hospitality packages were able to see the drivers and their cars up close at the Paddock Building.

The Spirit of Le Mans at the Circuit of The Americas brought a bigger and exciting crowd in 2016 and despite the high temperatures, the attendants enjoyed the races and celebrations.  Americans are huge sportscar racing fans and have a passion for big endurance events such as the mind-blowing 6 Hours of COTA.

The fourth edition of the FIA World Endurance Championship event at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin was unforgettable and after four seasons of competition, the FIA World Endurance Championship has matured and established itself as one of the world’s most revered and respected motorsports series of all time.

Porsche retains the lead of the FIA World Endurance Driver’s and Manufacturer’s Championship standings after the thrilling 6 Hours of COTA. Reigning champions Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber, and Brendon Hartley took victory at the 6 Hours of COTA 2016 and secured a third consecutive WEC win after a gruelling race held in challenging hot conditions.

Audi dominated the opening stages, though Webber split them on the first lap, but Audi’s chances completely unwound after sunset.

The drivers of the Porsche Team, Mark Webber, Brendon  Hartley, and  Timo Bernhard  summed up the race:

Mark, “That’s what Porsche did today and we did that on car No.1. Timo and Brendon drove awesome and it was a bloody good day.  Our mechanics need a special mention because they had no sleep on Thursday night. In these temperatures their eyes are falling out their head – so this is a special victory for those guys.” 

Brendon, “It was pretty hot – that’s been mentioned a few times by everyone. Not just for us but for everyone, driver, mechanics, tyre guys out the back – it has been a hard week for everyone.”

“Audi was very quick today and we had the perfect race. Not one time off the track, not one mistake in the pit stops or strategy. That is what won us the race.”  

Timo, “We weren’t the quickest today but we maximized what we had and we always knew that in the hottest conditions that were going to be our weakest point.  We knew that we could get closer as it got cooler. We joked after that race that the car didn’t know who was driving because everyone was on the same pace, same average lap time.”

From the Americas in September, the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship moves on to the Far East in the Autumn, 6 Hours of Fuji on Sunday 16th October.  

 

Follow Yenis Monterrey (Writer)Twitter @Foxactress

Follow LA Splash Magazine Twitter @SplashMagWW Instagram @Splashmags

Follow COTA Twitter @circuitamericas

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