(Article courtesy of MichelinAlley.com)
The pace will be hot and so will the weather but will the rain be a deciding factor this week at the Circuit of The Americas as the FIA World Endurance Championship heads to Texas?
This weekend the Austin venue will play host to both the WEC and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship – two vital rounds in their respective points battles.
Temperatures in excess of 90-plus degrees are predicted this week with humidity as high as 75 percent.
With the LMP1 cars of the WEC featuring fully enclosed cockpits, it is important for the drivers to from Porsche, Audi and Toyota to “keep their cool”.
Staying hydrated will be key for the LMP1 aces. The saving grace for the WEC drivers compared to the IMSA pilots is the fact that their battle does not kick off until 5 p.m. and heads into the cooler evening temperatures.
“You sweat a lot because you have all the fireproof clothes and you dissipate very little heat,” Audi’s Lucas Di Grassi said.
“Inside the car is quite warm and you lose a lot of fluids and you have to work hard on staying hydrated. When it is really too hot we alternate the drivers more frequently.
“Sometimes it is not the case because the race starts a bit later at 5 p.m. so it can be a little cooler at night.”
Sometimes Texas can provide a little too much “hydration” from above. A torrential downpour in 2014 forced the race to be red flagged for nearly an hour.
“The track turned into a lake all of a sudden in 2014 and you saw everyone really suffer,” Toyota’s Mike Conway said.
“Hopefully we’ll have none of that but then it does make the races interesting. I’m looking forward to whatever it throws at us.”
Audi were victorious here for the first two years of WEC action in Texas in 2013-14 but Porsche reigned supreme here last year as Brendon Hartley, Mark Webber and Timo Bernhard charged on to World-championship glory.
The trio enter this weekend on a roll after claiming victory in the last two races at the Nurburgring and Mexico City.
“It’s a cool track. In terms of the new style Formula 1 tracks it is my favorite,” Hartley said.
“The first sector is very high speed but quite technical as well. You have long straights which is always good for LM P1 cars to get them up over 300km/h.
“It was a great track for us last year and we took our most dominant victory with myself Mark and Timo so we’re looking to going back.”
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