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Looking Ahead To 24H CoTA

What we can expect from November's enduro in Austin

On the weekend of November 11th, the Circuit of The Americas will host the first ever North American round of the well-regarded 24H Series run by Creventic. With a legacy that began with first Dubai 24 Hours in 2006, extending through the establishment of endurance events at European tracks such as Barcelona, Paul Ricard, Mugello, and Silverstone, this will be a new adventure that many GT and Touring teams from the U.S. Canada, and Mexico will be looking forward to entering.

The regulations of the International Endurance Series are such that entries from most GT and Touring car platforms can readily be accepted. The end result is a race that will be both highly competitive and good sporting fun at the same time. The race will be run jointly by Creventic and the SCCA and will match the best of the series’ European based teams against North American squads regularly seen in various domestic series.

GT3 cars and their close cousins from other classes fall into Creventic’s A6 category which is further subdivided into Pro and Am groups. Balance of Performance is done through the use of bracket lap times, differing fuel allotments and other measures to keep the categories close and exciting. The SP2 class typically caters to silhouette specials and Cup cars running in a more unbridled configuration. SP3 has come to mostly include recent spec GT4 cars such as the Cayman, Ginetta G55, and Lotus Evora. BMW M3s, Hondas, and Renaults are among the medium and smaller touring cars common at the European rounds. Look for everything from Minis to Mustangs when the series comes to Texas. Another very popular class is the new and exciting TCR category.

The CoTA 24 will provide a great intro for American teams into this unique form of endurance racing. Among the interesting features at Creventic events is the use of a common fuel depot. Pit stops are thus segregated into the service and driver change routine at the pits with fueling done at one end of pit row. Most cars can easily be converted from dry rig to pistol grip systems and this adds an extra layer of both safety and strategy.

Creventic pioneered the use of the “Code 60” system of race neutralization which allows for safe incident response without the need for a safety car and without the need for pit closures and long wave around procedures. Due to noise regulations the race will be run in a split format. While the cars enter into parc ferme overnight the teams can return to the circuit refreshed, again creating new opportunities for strategy within a safe environment. Hankook is the series tire supplier and they provide extensive trackside service.

The 24H Series races have become an excellent laboratory for testing new models. Recently the Mercedes AMG GT4, Renault RS01, MARC Cars Australia silhouettes, and a broad array of TCR brands have had successful endurance racing debuts at the European and Dubai rounds. The COTA race is scheduled at an excellent end of season period when teams can try out new concepts, plan for forthcoming races such as Dubai, and have lots of fun doing so!

In addition to the main 24 Hour race, the CoTA weekend will also feature a series of shorter endurance races for Prototypes such as LMP3, PC, CN, Radicals, NP01s, older DPs, P57s, and track day specials. The state-of-the-art Circuit of the Americas is built to full FIA F1 specs with a very challenging undulating layout. It is centrally located with good access from both coasts and from the Midwest. This is a fantastic opportunity for both aspiring and seasoned North American teams and drivers to expand their horizons.

Fees are reasonable and there is still plenty of time to enter and for drivers to join some of the existing teams. For information such as entry procedures and rider board information go to www.24hseries.com or contact Peter Freij, freij@creventic.com, +31 485 471 161, or in North America, János Wimpffen, janos@whidbey.com, 206-399-3692.