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Lone Star LeMans 2017: Baby Come Back

If you’re a listener of The DFL Show, you might have already heard some of my thoughts on the “revised” WEC calendar for next year. With COTA off the list for now, I’m left sitting here in the media center at the circuit wondering if this will be my last ride with the series that really opened my eyes to the joys of endurance racing. The joy of prototypes. the joy of globetrotting to some of the best tracks in the world. And the joy of some of the best people and drivers in all of racing. This is where I pull out my boombox and stand outside the FIA’s window and beg them to come back to Austin.

Even as the WEC announces a new round in the US, at the legendary Sebring circuit, I have got to throw my voice into the mix and yell at the series that it’s making a huge mistake. By running this “new” Sebring race, you are giving up an FIA grade 1 circuit and moving to the second billing on an already packed IMSA race weekend. I can get the rationale for starting a race at midnight, but that doesn’t mean it’s not still silly. By starting at midnight you guarantee that most of your core audience will be awake, but running Sebring in mostly total darkness doesn’t sound like a good show.

Granted, that could be my Austin bias talking, but by doing this you move from the top billing of a sports-car weekend that Austin has really embraced, to playing second fiddle to the American cousins you so deride. You move from the world city that drivers and teams have come to love over the last five years to, well, Florida. I get the idea behind it all though. Moving to a legendary 12 hour race at Sebring but running a separate event from IMSA, you lose all that magic and history that the FIA was so hoping to capture in its US round.

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing.
World Endurance Championship. 6 Hours of Circuit of The Americas
14th to 16th September 2017.
Austin, Texas, USA

The WEC feels at home in Austin. The drivers and teams love the city, the track, and the fans that come here. It’s a damn shame that the WEC feels the need to walk away from all of that for their 2018/2019 “Super Season.” And it’s a damn shame that “The Home of the World Championships” seems to have another slip through it’s fingers. But hey, maybe if we make enough noise we can get that final TBC date on the 2018 calendar. Until then though, I will savor every moment of this race weekend, and I hope you can too.

  • wunno sev

    loved last year’s Lone Star Le Mans. this year was all right, but the lack of IMSA cars (no Corvettes ;_;), night racing, and any sort of promotional booths definitely turned it down a notch. (if you’re skeptical about that last one: last year i missed the chance to drive an ND Miata at the Mazda booth by a few minutes, and i’d been looking forward to doing it this year.)

    still, it was great to while away a day in the presence of screaming engines, motorsport nerds, and a beautiful race track. passed up the opportunity for a track day at COTA a few weeks ago, and i’m kicking myself for it now.

  • outback_ute

    Running a 12 hour at Sebring but not ‘the’ 12 hour seems a little silly. I wonder if there is capacity to combine the races?

  • WinstonSmith84

    I can tell you that this love of Austin isn’t universal among people who traveled there to get fleeced during F1 weekends, at least not ones who went for the race instead of a teenybopper concert. What’s the world coming to when there are more people and resources interested in one indifferent pop star than the top series in motor racing?

    • boxdin

      And since the beginning COTA have been almost hostile to RV people, who to me seem to be a real mainstay in race attendees. Some of these tracks are lined behind the fences w hundreds of rvs and tenters camping.





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