Article and pictures by ACLS Member Anita Tavakley
September 15-17, 2016 was an action-packed weekend full of motorsports drama at Circuit of the Americas. Off-and-on cloudy skies threatened rain all weekend, but it held off for the most part.
Fans chose from several different ways to take in the action:
- General admission – access to many areas of the track, open paddock areas, and seating at the main grandstand, T1, T15
- Audi Car Corral – added access to exclusive Lot C parking among other Audis
- Audi Sport Experience – added many exclusive perks including access to the Audi lounge, driver meet & greet, hot pit access, hot lap rides, swag bag, golf cart shuttle, and more
Thursday, the most lightly-attended day, featured practice sessions for the major races: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Continental Challenge, and the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). Continental Challenge qualifying also took place, as well as Race #1 of the Porsche GT3 Cup & Lamborghini Trofeo. Fans who showed up on Thursday were rewarded with a pit walk prior to the second FIA WEC practice session. A bit of drizzle fell on the main straight and revealed what’s really at the end of a rainbow – T1 @ COTA!
The big news from Friday was Joest Racing’s Audi R18s qualifying P-1 and P-2 (FIA WEC). Throughout the day, Audi Sport Experience fans had the opportunity to hear team briefings, participate in driver meet & greets, and attend a paddock tour.
Saturday, race day, brought packed stands and radiant blue skies. Audi Sport Experience fans kicked off the day with hot lap rides around the track. Autograph sessions for both WeatherTech Championship and the FIA WEC drivers were held in the grid area prior to each race. The FIA WEC pre-race opening ceremonies included the national anthem and the Texas State Marching Band.
Those who stayed to enjoy the 6-hour WEC race were treated to spectacular views of the bright orange supermoon rising over the track, a fireworks show, the COTA tower lit up in rainbow colors, and heaps of drama that only an endurance race can provide. Though the results weren’t exactly what Audi fans had hoped for, there was plenty to celebrate with a second place podium finish in the LMP1 class for the #8 Audi R18.
For more photos and videos of Lone Star Le Mans, see the Photos and Videos section of our Facebook page. Follow and Like Audi Club Lone Star Chapter on Facebook for live updates from future events! [https://www.facebook.com/AudiClubLoneStarChapter]