IMSA News and Notes: Circuit of The Americas

The Race: Lone Star Le Mans
The Place: Circuit of The Americas
The Date: Saturday, Sept. 20
The Track: 3.4-mile, 20-turn road course
The Race Length: Two hours, 45 minutes
Broadcast Schedule:
Qualifying (
Friday: 5:30 p.m. (ET)
Race (FOX Sports 2)
Saturday: 12:30 p.m. (ET) – LIVE
Race (FOX)
Sunday: Check your local listings

The Race: Lone Star Le Mans
The Place: Circuit of The Americas
The Date: Friday, Sept. 19
The Track: 3.4-mile, 20-turn road course
The Race Length: Two hours, 30 minutes
Broadcast Schedule:
Friday, 1:20 p.m. (ET) – LIVE
FOX Sports 1
Sept. 28, noon (ET)

FOX Network To Showcase Austin, Road Atlanta Races

The final two races of the 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship inaugural season will be featured in a pair of two-hour telecasts on the FOX network.

Saturday's Lone Star Le Mans at Austin's Circuit of The Americas and the season-ending Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda at Road Atlanta on Saturday, Oct. 5 both will be telecast live on FOX Sports 2. Both races will then be televised on the FOX network the following day, aired around the network's NFL coverage with local times depending on your market.

Points Battles Heading Down To The Wire At Austin

Fittipaldi, Barbosa Lead Prototype; Braun, Bennett Near Clinch In PC

Corvette DP drivers Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa take the points lead in the Prototype class to Circuit of The Americas for Saturday's Lone Star Le Mans, with only two races remaining in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season.

Back-to-back victories at Indianapolis and Road America – coupled with a season-opening triumph in the Rolex 24 At Daytona – gives the pair a healthy 16-point lead in the standings. However, four teams are still in position to strike should the drivers of the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP stumble in either the Lone Star Le Mans or the season-ending Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda at Road Atlanta on Saturday, Oct. 4.

The Action Express drivers have six podium finishes, along with eight top-five finishes in nine races to tally 285 points.

Brothers Ricky and Jordan Taylor are second in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP with 269 points, two points ahead of No. 90 Corvette DP drivers Richard Westbrook and Michael Valiante, 267 points.

Corvette's Garcia Holds Slim Lead In GTLM Battle; Five-Way Tie In GTD

After building an impressive lead on the strength of four consecutive victories earlier in the season, Corvette Racing's Antonio Garcia leads in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class has been trimmed to six points.

Garcia has tallied 270 points in Corvette Racing's No. 3 Corvette C7.R, followed by SRT Motorsports No. 93 Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R teammates Jonathan Bomarito and Kuno Wittmer, 264 points.

Tied for third are BMW Team RLL's two entries, with the No. 55 BMW Z4 GTE of Bill Auberlen and Andy Priaulx, along with Dirk Mueller and John Edwards in the No. 56 BMW Z4 GTE are tied with No. 91 SRT Motorsports Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R teammates Marc Goossens and Dominik Farnbacher, each with 250 points.

GT Daytona (GTD) is even closer, with five drivers representing three teams and three manufacturers sharing the lead with 244 points each.

Townsend Bell and Bill Sweedler in the AIM Autosport Ferrari 458 Italia, Dane Cameron in the Turner Motorsport BMW Z4 and Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT America drivers Leh Keen and Cooper MacNeil currently hold a share of the lead with only the events at Austin and Road Atlanta remaining.

Tech Corner: About Mazda's SKYACTIV-D Clean Diesel Prototype

Mazda has a tradition of taking the path less traveled. This "Never Stop Challenging" attitude resulted in Mazda being the only car company to successfully market the rotary engine; becoming the only Asian automaker to ever win Le Mans; and to create the world's most popular two-seat roadster: the Mazda MX-5 Miata. Today, Mazda is challenging the establishment with the SKYACTIV-D Clean Diesel prototype, now competing in the highest category of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.

The SKYACTIV-D program is in the second year of a five-year development program. In 2013, the SKYACTIV-D powered Mazda6 won the GRAND-AM Rolex Series GX manufacturers championship with nine wins in 12 races.

The 2.2-liter SKYACTIV-D engine powering the Mazda Prototype is 51-percent stock by part count and 63-percent stock by weight. The block and head are identical to the SKYACTIV engines in production Mazda cars.

The SKYACTIV-D is fueled by a renewable diesel fuel. This should not be confused with bio-diesel. This fuel is produced 100-percent from waste material from food processing and can be used interchangeably with conventional diesel fuel.

Away from the track, Mazda has created RACE, Racing Accelerates Creative Education, to promote STEM, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, to high school students. Prior to each TUDOR Championship race, the Mazda team visits local high schools to showcase the wide variety of motorsports careers that rely on a STEM education.

All of the regular team drivers have a long history with Mazda, having scored Mazda championships before joining the SKYACTIV team. Tristan Nunez was the 2012 Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda Champion. Joel Miller was the 2006 BFGoodrich Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda Champion. Tom Long was the 2005 MAZDASPEED Miata Cup Champion. Sylvain Tremblay has won multiple championships with Mazda.

The history of Mazda and IMSA both date back over 40 years and both are looking forward to another 40 plus.

TUDOR Championship, WEC Doubleheader Highlights Texas-Sized Weekend

Everything's bigger in Texas – especially this weekend's Lone Star Le Mans, where the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship cornerstones three full days of racing music and entertainment for the entire family at the sparkling 3.4-mile Circuit of The Americas located in the capital of Texas.

The TUDOR Championship races at 11:35 a.m. CT, with the lone visit of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) in North America racing into the dark beginning at 5 p.m.

In between the TUDOR Championship and WEC races, classic rockers Blue Oyster Cult will be in concert at the Austin360 Amphitheater.

Other festivities include races for the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge and Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama, additional musical entertainment, fireworks, Texas culinary specialties, go-kart and simulator races, mechanical bull riding and even armadillo racing.

TUDOR Championship, Etc.

• Three Texans will compete in this weekend's TUDOR Championship event. Ben Keating of Port Lavaca drives the No. 33 Riley Motorsports Viper Exchange Dodge Viper SRT GT3-R in the GTD class. Keating and Jeroen Bleekemolen gave Viper its first TUDOR Championship victory earlier this season at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

Colin Braun, a native of Ovalo, is a four-time PC winner this season with Jon Bennett in the No. 54 CORE autosport ORECA FLM09.

While currently a resident of Coral Gables, Fla., Dion von Moltke was originally from The Woodlands. He co-drives the No. 35 Flying Lizard Motorsports PRNewswire / UBM Tech/ eSilicon Audi R8 LMS.

• Gustavo Yacaman will have a new car for this weekend, as OAK Racing competes with the Ligier JS P2 chassis for the first time in North America. Yacaman and Alex Brundle will co-drive the No. 42 Ligier/Honda.

The Ligier replaces the Morgan/Nissan that gave the team its first TUDOR Championship victory at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, where Yacaman and Olivier Pla led every lap.

What They're Saying About Austin And Circuit Of The Americas…

Richard Westbrook: "When I came here to race last year it was really new and it was also March, so going there now in September. In particular, the run from turn 3 onwards is unbelievable. With the extra downforce we have on the car this year, it should be really good to drive. … Last time we didn't hang about, but hopefully we'll get to celebrate and explore the city this time round."

Patrick Long: "It's setting the bar as far as a facility and a race track on this continent. … It's always a great show and a great city, a great culture. There are a lot of Porsche owners in Texas, so we get a great turnout and a lot of support. Specific to the race, it's going to be a real gong show in GTLM. It's a great place, and it will be interesting being in a tandem show with the WEC."

Leh Keen: "Everything's bigger in Texas, including the race track, which is a Formula One facility. Austin's great, and the circuit is a pleasure to drive."

Townsend Bell: "Everyone loves going to Austin – whether you're an American or one of my European friends working in or around Formula One. The race track is our first pure modern F1 circuit in the United States, so it's a blast to drive. Austin's a great layout, especially in a GT car, where so many parts of the track that are non-events in a Formula One car are very demanding in our GT car, because of our relative mass and lack of downforce. It's really fun to drive."

John Edwards: "The city is nice, but doing double-duty (TUDOR Championship and Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge), it's hard to get time out. I made sure to book my flight this year for late on Sunday, so I had time on Saturday night and Sunday morning and afternoon to enjoy Austin more."

Ben Keating: "I feel I have the advantage of being the home town guy – even though I'm not from Austin, I'm close – and I spend enough time at the track to feel like I've got a leg up. The first race that we won ever in ALMS was there (last year in GTC), and we're going to work hard to go for a repeat."

Colin Braun: "I really like Austin. It's a great city, and obviously it's pretty cool having the race track so close to downtown. There are a lot of great places to eat and a lot of fun. It's cool to actually drive on a Formula One track. Last year I drove there in the Porsche, and before that I drove in a GRAND-AM DP car. I haven't raced there in a PC car, and I'm ready for the challenge."

Duncan Ende: "I'm excited enough to go to Austin – it's a great destination – but the track is first class and clearly state of the art. In these Prototype cars, the Esses are one of the most exciting things we get to do all year long. Away from the track, the food and nightlife is a great experience.

Giancarlo Fisichella: "It's a great circuit with a lot of different kinds of corners – high and slow speed. The first part of the circuit is very challenging. I love it there. Last year I finished second (in the WEC for AF Corsa Ferrari). Hopefully, this year with Risi, we can win the race."

Bryan Sellers: "Austin is a cool city. It has such a cool, eclectic crowd. We look forward to going there and hanging out with all the people. But more importantly, we get to go to the race track. What they've built there is phenomenal. They took a piece of real estate in the middle of nowhere and built a racing mecca."

Luis Diaz: "It's going to be a very special race for us. It will be important because our sponsors are going to be there. Takis' headquarters are close to Austin, and we are working hard to have a very good race there."

Patron Endurance Cup To Be Decided At Season-Ending Petit Le Mans

The TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season-ending Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda at Road Atlanta on Saturday, Oct. 5, will also decide the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup.

The Patron Endurance Cup is a unique competition within the four endurance events on the TUDOR Championship schedule: the Rolex 24 At Daytona, Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen and Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda, with teams, manufacturers and drivers scoring points at scheduled intervals within each race.

Action Express Racing (P), CORE autosport (PC), Corvette Racing (GTLM) and AIM Autosport (GTD) lead the team standings entering the finale; Chevrolet (P), Porsche (GTLM) and Ferrari (GTD) lead the manufacturer points; and Christian Fittipaldi/Joao Barbosa (P), Colin Braun/Jon Bennett/James Gue (PC), Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner (GTLM) and Townsend Bell/Bill Sweedler (GTD) pace the drivers.

Austin-Based Team, Drivers Contending In Street Tuner Class

CJ Wilson Racing has plenty of reasons to celebrate when it returns to Circuit of The Americas for Friday's Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race. Racing near home is only one of the reasons for the Austin, Texas-based team that is owned by Major League Baseball pitcher C.J. Wilson of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

The team scored its first Street Tuner (ST) class victory in last year's Continental Tire Challenge race, won by Marc Miller and Stevan McAleer in the team's No. 5 ModSpace Mazda MX-5. Other firsts were the team's first TOTAL Pole Award (Chad McCumbee) and fastest race lap (Jason Saini), both recorded in the team's No. 3 ModSpace Mazda MX-5.

CJ Wilson Racing shuffled its lineup this season. Miller and Tyler McQuarrie co-drive the No. 3, with McCumbee moving to the No. 5 with McAleer. While each of the cars has finished second this season (with a combined five podium finishes), the team has yet to win.

Also calling Austin home is Jeff Mosing, who won the most recent race at Virginia International Raceway in addition to the season opener at Daytona.

Mosing joins Eric Foss in the No. 56 Murillo Racing/Mosing Motorcars Porsche Cayman. Foss trails Wayne Nonnamaker by one point in the ST standings (260-259), with Mosing third with 248 points.

Other Texans entered are Michael Johnson of Austin, in the No. 94 Irish Mike's Racing Hyundai Genesis, and Tim Probert of Houston, in the No. 65 Murillo Racing/Mosing Motorcars/Race Green BMW 328i.

GS Championship Battle Features Camaro Vs. BMW

First-year driver Trent Hindman challenges a pair of veterans for the championship in the Continental Tire Challenge Grand Sport (GS) class. Andrew Davis and Robin Liddell co-drive the No. 6 Stevenson Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.R, which has a series-high three victories this season in addition to two runner-up finishes.

Hindman teams with John Edwards in the No. 46 Fall-Line Motorsports BMW M3. After opening the season with back-to-back runner-up finishes, Hindman broke through at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca with his first victory in the series. An additional second-place showing at Indianapolis helped the team keep pace with the Camaros in the standings.

Next in the championship is the No. 15 Multimatic Motorsports Ford Mustang Boss 302R of Jade Buford and Scott Maxwell, with Buford winning the pole at Austin last year when the team competed in an Aston Martin Vantage. Another car to watch is the No. 07 TRG-ARM Aston Martin Vantage of Kris Wilson and Max Riddle, which won this year at Kansas Speedway and Virginia International Raceway.

While yet to win this season, Nonnamaker took the ST lead on the basis of four second-place finishes in the No. 42 Team Sahlen Porsche Cayman co-driven by his brother, Will Nonnamaker. Running behind Foss and Mosing are defending champions Terry Borcheller and Mike LaMarra in the No. 23 Burton Racing BMW 128i. Borcheller was leading last year's race at Austin before behind passed by McAleer coming to the white flag.

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