Two weeks ago I had a whole weekend of pro-racing at COTA, starting on Friday with qualifying and practice, then the ALMS on Saturday, then finally a 6 hour World Endurance Championship (WEC) race on Sunday. My only taste of WEC was watching the 24 hours of Le Mans on television, but I’ve always been a big fan of any GT class racing, especially ones that use semi-exotics like Aston Martins and Ferrari’s (and the occasional Corvette.) I was able to tour the paddock and garages on Friday with my father, so I had a taste of what was to come. I really looked forward to seeing the diesel-hybrid Audi’s, which are just plain dominating. I’m not a huge prototype fan, but there’s no denying the level of technology and driver skill involved in speeds these machines are capable. We hopped around the track, seeing nearly all the turns (didn’t take the long walk to 11 though.) Our tickets were for the turn 15 area, which also affords great views of 12, 13, and 14. It was a good vantage point for photos. We also made it over to 12, where the cars are coming off the long straight into a tight left-hander. It’s simply unbelievable the speed the Audi’s (and Toyota’s) carry down into the braking zone. What makes those Audi’s so deceivingly quick is there near silence. There is no perceivable exhaust note, just the howl of air being pierced. The Corvette still maintains the loudest and meanest sounds in the grid, but the Astons sound like angry WWII fighters doing a low pass at war power.
See the rest of the photos below.