Fast on the heels of the Mexican round earlier this month, the World Endurance Championship (FIA WEC) troops remain on the American continent and are about to cross the border and head for Austin, Texas for the 6 Hours of the Circuit of the Americas set to take place this Saturday, September 16th.
Commissioned in 2010, the construction of the Circuit of the Americas was completed in 2012, inaugurated by an F1 Grand Prix, but the honor of the very first lap went to a local idol - Mario Andretti and his eight participations in the 24 Hours of Le Mans - at the wheel of the Lotus with which he became F1 World Champion back in 1978.
Some sections, such as turns three through six that bear a striking resemblance to Maggotts-Becketts-Chapel at Silverstone, are inspired by existing circuits, but unlike the British track - whose six-hour round kicked off the season - the drivers will run counter clockwise, significantly affecting driver physical preparations. Also, the 5.513 km track is anything but flat, starting with the first turn and its steep climb that can be appreciated from the top of the 70-meter tower whose glass flooring offers a breathtaking view of Austin and the surrounding area.
This year for the first time ever, the round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will not be held the same weekend as the World Endurance Championship (FIA WEC) race given that the American championship stopped in Austin in early May. Competitors in the two championships will not hit a track on the same weekend again until Sebring in 2019.
The entry list comprises some changes, with Stéphane Sarrazin replacing Anthony Davidson, absent for personal reasons, in the #8 Toyota TS050 HYBRID. The French driver will have taken the wheel of three of the Japanese marque's cars this year (three at Spa-Francorchamps and at the 24 Hours of Le Mans): the #9 in the Belgian Ardennes mountains, the #7 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the #8 in Texas.
The start of the 6 Hours of the Circuit of the Americas will be given on Saturday, September 16th at noon local time (6:00 p.m. in the U.K.).
PHOTO (Copyright - AdrenalMedia.com/FIA WEC): The 70-meter tower, a symbol of the Circuit of the Americas.