Category: Events, Sports
By Jason Bollenbacher Photos Jason Bollenbacher, Steven Snow and Diego Donamaria AUSTIN, TX - What makes a insane weekend of racing? How about combining The FIA World Endurance Championship, TUDOR United Sports Car Championship, FIA World Endurance Championship, IMSA Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, GT3 Cup Challenge, and Lamborghini Super Trofeo all at one venue, The Circuit OF Americas. This is known as the Lone Star Le Mans, Texas event honoring the worlds greatest endurance race the 24 Hours of Le mans. As its signature and final race the Lone-star Lemans or WEC is a 6 hour event that ends under the stars. Lemans_2015_day1-5 Lemans_2015_day2-4 Lemans_2015-5 DSC_4910 DSC_5565-Edit DSC_6410-Edit LSLM15-day2-ttlmag-3 LSLM15-day2-ttlmag-12 LSLM15-day3-ttlmag-14   The weekend started on Thursday with inspections and qualifications. Being on a race team is always glamorous. Part of that glamour is the first day of the weekend. Scrubbing wheels is a time honored tradition given to the finest on the team. Its not just four wheels each team carries many spare sets and for each tire type. If your ever in the paddock you will see a flow of water and soap and toothbrushes scrubbing profusely.  This day was not without its races, as one of the GT3 Cups and Lamborghini Super Trofeo were on the docket.  With 100 degree weather the track temps were reaching over 140.  When teams came in to do tire swaps the rubber was melting off them and puddling onto the ground.  Never having a quiet moment at the track races turned into practices and they hence turned into qualifications. Lemans_2015_day2-2 Lemans_2015_day2-3 Lemans_2015-6 DSC_4516-Edit DSC_4511-Edit DSC_7288-Edit LSLM15-day1-ttlmag-12 LSLM15-day2-ttlmag-6 LSLM15-day3-ttlmag-4 Friday brought on more races from the GT3 cup and LBST, the main race for the day IMSA Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, but not before fans were allowed down onto the grid to meet there favorite drivers  They got autographs and an up close look at the spectacular machines.  CTSC was followed by qualifications for the TUDOR championship and a special fan event that allowed them to drive there personal cars for a couple laps at a limited, but exciting speed. The weekend ended on Saturday with more fan experiences, driver meets, pit walks, auctions, and parade laps with the day culminating to the 6 hour FIA WEC. At the starting grid, the cast of KOOZA from Cirque du Soleil gave a feature performance.  They also performed show in a big top at one of the track parking lots.  A vocalist from Kooza provided an outstanding rendition of the National Anthem.  Jim Hall, local Texan and veteran racer, flagged off the teams.  The 3.4 mile circuit is the perfect place for these 1000+ hp prototype machines.  How did the race end?  Joey Hand won the Lonestar Le Mans.  You can see rebroadcasts and results on www.fiawec.com www.IMSA.com. Lemans_2015-10 Lemans_2015-13 Lemans_2015-7 DSC_8496-Edit DSC_9669 DSC_0126-Edit LSLM15-day1-ttlmag-2 LSLM15-day3-ttlmag-29 LSLM15-day3-ttlmag-27 The ability for fans to be up close and almost feel hands on with each race team is what sets these events apart from others. COTA has made the openness of really feeling and being a part of the entire race and not just sitting in a seat. It begins with vendors and the fan zones then moves into the open pits where one could watch the in and out prep of all the cars and teams.  On lookers could always do a loop on the Ferris wheel or stand atop the tower to see the world as well as drive your own machine around the track with other fans. The experience is not to be matched and proves COTA is a must see race destination. “Lone Star Le Mans delivers an unparalleled experience of sports car racing and entertainment and has quickly become a signature event in Central Texas,” says Jason Dial, President & CEO, Circuit of The Americas. “This year features racing legend Jim Hall as our Grand Marshal and famous drivers like TV star Patrick Dempsey and former F1 driver, Mark Webber. The incredible access for fans of all ages to get up close to the cars and their drivers along with the live music, fireworks and Ferris wheel make for a great family outing.” DSC_8154 DSC_0562 DSC_8013 LSLM15-day3-ttlmag-21  LSLM15-day3-ttlmag-28LSLM15-day3-ttlmag-30 Be sure to check out all of our photos in our Le Mans gallery here.

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