For the fifth year in a row, the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) will host the World Endurance Championship (FIA WEC), on September 16th. For the first time, this edition will not end in the darkness as the start of the six-hour race is set to be given at noon local time.
No changes have been been to the starting grid, whether in terms of the competitors, still numbered at 26, or driver line-ups, of which certain such as Alex Brundle of Jackie Chan DC Racing (ORECA LMP2) have taken a short holiday on the Pacific coast between the two rounds (only two weeks apart) in Mexico and Austin.
After the race in Mexico, Porsche now has a 50-point lead on its rival Toyota in the Manufacturers standings, and the trio winner at the 24 Hours of Le Mans this past June - Earl Bamber, Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley with the German marque is ahead of Sébastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima by more than 40 points.
The standings in the other classes are much closer, even though Jackie Chan DC Racing (#38), after its one-two at Le Mans, will arrive in Texas in the lead by 23 points on the #31 Vaillante Rebellion class winner in Mexico last weekend.
In LMGTE Pro, Ferrari is on top but Ford trails by only nine points and Aston Martin 22, Porsche rounding things out 31 points behind. Given the manufacturers score points with two cars, the Drivers standings are automatically different. Ford drivers Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell are leading the charge in front of Richard Lietz and Frédéric Makowiecki, official Porsche drivers.
In the LMGTE Am class, the two consecutive victories for Dempsey-Proton Racing's Porsche propelled the team, co-founded by actor Patrick Dempsey, to the lead ahead of Clearwater Racing despite 50 points going to the latter for its win at the 24 Hours, but the team does not compete in the World Endurance Championship (FIA WEC).
Though in 2017 the American endurance championship - IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship - ended its collaboration with the World Endurance Championship (FIA WEC), there will be plenty of action for spectators in Austin. The competitors in the World Series Formula V8 3.5, the Ferrari Challenge North America and the F4 U.S. Championship will hit the track at the Circuit of the Americas.
The start of the 6 Hours of COTA will be given on Saturday, September 16th at noon (6:00 p.m. in the U.K.).
PHOTO (Copyright - AdrenalMedia.com/FIA WEC): A Stetson was a must on the starting grid at the 2016 6 Hours of the Circuit of the Americas.