Preview: FIA World Endurance Championship – 6 Hours of COTA

by Alice Holloway
Start of the 2019 Bapco 8 Hours of Bahrain

In a late switch with the 6 Hours of Sao Paulo, the Circuit of the Americas has found itself back on the FIA World Endurance Championship calendar. The circuit has not been on the grid since 2017 and is not currently on the 2020/21 schedule, so this could just be a one-off return for the Lone Star Le Mans.

LMP1 has taken a hit ahead of this race, with Team LNT pulling out of the race with their two cars. The reasons, vague as they were, do not write off an American return for the British team and both Ginettas are currently on the Super Sebring entry list.

#6 Team LNT on track at Bapco 8 Hours of Bahrain, 2019
Credit: FIA World Endurance Championship

Their late departure leaves just three cars in the LMP1 field, two Toyota Gazoo Racing cars and one Rebellion Racing. It will be an important one for the Swiss-backed privateer as the countdown to their final race has begun with their announcement of withdrawing from racing at the end of this season. They will be hoping to get as many wins to their name as they can before their final chequered flag at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

There could be another win on the cards for Rebellion after the success ballast for the 6 Hours of COTA was published, stating that Toyota would be slowed by around two seconds a lap. With no competition in Ginetta to threaten them, so long as the reliability holds out it should be a simple dash to the flag for the Swiss team.

Due to a maximum limit on the grid size at WEC events (restricted to 31 cars), DragonSpeed had been denied their application to join the LMP2 grid for the COTA round. However, on reflection of the two Ginettas withdrawing from the race, their place has been allowed, bringing the LMP2 grid up to nine cars.

#31 DragonSpeed on track at 24 Hours of Le Mans, 2019
Credit: FIA World Endurance Championship

The team will bring their Rolex 24 at Daytona winning line-up to the race, with Colin Braun, Henrik Hedman and current Team LNT driver Ben Hanley in the car. The trio will be looking to continue their success from January during the six hour event.

Corvette Racing joins the fray with a sole car in LM GTE Pro with Jan Magnussen and Mike Rockenfeller returning to the American outlet. The duo will also pilot the car in next month’s 1,000 Miles of Sebring.

#63 Corvette Racing on track at 1,000 Miles of Sebring
Credit: FIA World Endurance Championship

The rest of the grid remains unchanged ahead of round five of the 2019/20 championship.

WEC gets started on the American leg of this season tomorrow, with the event taking place over two days. Free Practice One kicks off at 8am local time, 3pm in the UK, so make sure you have your eye on TheCheckeredFlag for all the action as it unfolds over the weekend.

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