The Lone Star Le Mans at Austin’s Circuit of The Americas will live up to its billing, with the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship bringing eight podium finishers from the French endurance classic to the Texas race on Saturday, Sept. 19.
Five winning drivers from June’s 24 Hours of Le Mans – including two of the overall champions – join three additional podium finishers from that event for the two-hour, 40-minute race on the Texas-sized 3.4-mile, 20-turn circuit.
Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber – who joined Formula One racer Nico Hulkenberg in winning overall in a Porsche 919 Hybrid at Le Mans – will be in different cars fielded by Porsche North America for the Texas event. Tandy is riding a streak of three consecutive victories in the No. 911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR, propelling co-driver Patrick Pilet into the GT Le Mans (GTLM) points lead with only two races remaining. Bamber is on a streak of his own, finishing second in the past two races in the No. 912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR he co-drives with Joerg Bergmeister.
“It’s not so much of a change in how all the Porsche teams have been since Le Mans, it’s more like a renewed confidence about our race programs,” Tandy said. “People are confident in what we are doing and this makes race weekends more relaxed and a happier environment to work in, so the confidence and success just builds and builds.”
Corvette Racing will bring the same car that captured the GTE-Pro victory at Le Mans, with all three class-winning drivers also competing in Austin. Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin will drive the No. 4 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R that carried No. 64 at Le Mans. Jordan Taylor, who co-drove with the team in France, will join his brother Ricky in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP in the lead Prototype (P) class.
“Running at Le Mans is a real learning experience, forcing you to adapt to changing and challenging situations,” Jordan Taylor said. “Bringing that experience back to America really helps you, especially at a place like Circuit of The Americas. This is probably the most technical circuit that we go to in the TUDOR Championship. It’s built for Formula One, and it’s really long with many different types of corners. It’s challenging for both the drivers and for the engineers, who have to make compromises setting up for long straights and technical sections. Any experience at Le Mans will really help at Circuit of The Americas.”
Giancarlo Fisichella, a two-time class winner at Le Mans and three-time victor in Formula 1 competition, finished third in GTE-Pro in June. He co-drives the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari F458 Italia with Le Mans LM P1 driver Pierre Kaffer, finishing third in GTLM the two most recent TUDOR Championship races at Road America and VIRginia International Raceway.
Scuderia Corsa drivers Bill Sweedler and Townsend Bell made their debut at Le Mans in June, finishing third in GTE Am. They co-drive the No. 63 Robert Graham/Royal Purple Ferrari 458 Italia in the GT Daytona (GTD) class, and are currently second in the class point standings after winning at VIR.
The Lone Star Le Mans, Round 11 of the 2015 TUDOR Championship, will be televised live on FOX Sports 2, beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Sept. 19. The race will be rebroadcast on FOX Sports 1 on Sunday, Sept. 20, beginning at 1:30 p.m. ET.