La Fin: Lone Star Le Mans Takes Its Last Laps At COTA, For Now

Sep 15, 2017

The last Lone Star Le Mans at Circuit of the Americas is happening tomorrow – but there's a chance it could return in 2019.

The stop on the World Endurance Championship is one of four major racing events that the Austin track hosts each year. The WEC is shifting its race calendar next year to place more emphasis on its premier race, the 24 hours of Le Mans, or Lə Mɑ̃ if you prefer. To make that shift, the schedule was shaken up and COTA was knocked off for now.

The driver of a Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Team takes a practice lap at COTA.
Credit Jimmy Maas / KUT

But WEC spokesman Andrew Craig says the drivers want to come back.

“There’s a comparison with the rock business here,” he said. “Rock artists want to play certain venues. ... They want to play Carnegie Hall. They want to play the O2 Dome in London. This is kind of like that. I think this is a racetrack where drivers want to race here. This is one of the best racetracks in the world without any question.”  

Craig says there's still a possibility COTA may be on the schedule. But as of now, tomorrow will be la fin du Lone Star Le Mans, which means COTA will be down to three major races next year: Formula One, Moto GP and the IMSA Sportscar Championship.

The driver of a car from Jackie Chan DC Racing practices for the 2017 Lone Star Le Mans.
Credit Jimmy Maas / KUT

Lone Star Le Mans will also bring a little Hollywood to COTA, with actors Patrick Dempsey and Jackie Chan owning race teams. Chan's two cars finished first and second in the prototype 2 class (second fastest) at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.

Oscar nominee Michael Fassbender is driving a car in the Ferrari Challenge race, one of the races that serve as an undercard for the six-hour-long main event.