Racing into the dark
It’s been a rather long break after Le Mans and I was looking forward to being back in the cockpit when we tested at Lausitz three weeks ago. We’ve learnt a lot about the car in the first three races and were able to improve the car in all areas over summer. We’ve introduced a few aero updates which provide a higher downforce and should help improve the 919’s race performance for the remaining races.
The biggest difference for me coming back to Austin this year with the sports car is the temperature, because we never really raced there in super hot conditions in F1. The WEC race there is a bit earlier in the season and it looks like it’s going to be hotter and the track will behave a bit differently from a grip perspective.
The Circuit of the Americas is a very demanding track as it’s got a lot of different speed ranges, long straights and also lot of elevation changes. Turn 1 has got quite a spectacular and dramatic approach up a steep hill featuring a blind apex.
I think generally the low speed corners will be a little bit more awkward in the sports car because it’s heavier. The backend of the middle sector when we get into turn 12 to 15 is going to be a bit more challenging than in the Formula One car. I’ve got some pretty good knowledge about the track having raced there twice with F1 and I’m looking forward to swinging that across especially into the first two or three sessions.
The race will start at 5pm local time and we will race into the dark. I think it’s such a great atmosphere and it’s pretty rare in motorsport that you get the opportunity to run in the twilight window. We will be starting pretty much in the peak of heat of the day, very late in the afternoon. I’ve experienced this before racing in Abu Dhabi and have always enjoyed the special mood when the sun goes down and the night settles in, except Abu Dhabi has always been well lit. On the track in Austin I think it’s only the pit straight that has artificial light and the rest of the track will be pretty dark so the big lights of the Porsche will come in very handy.
Having raced in Austin before I’ve seen how passionate the fans out there are about motorracing and they seem to enjoy big powerful cars and endurance racing. The LM24 hours has a big following when it comes to the American audience and it’s the same with the Sebring 12 hour race which is very famous and the 24 hours of Daytona. It will be great to get out there again also because the North Americans particularly love the Porsche’s.
William Oliveon September 12, 2014 Reply
Good Luck Mark! Good to see you visibly enjoying your racing again. You can do anything now. You do Australia proud!
Babatunde Kelekoon September 12, 2014 Reply
Good Luck Mark!
Dave ramzyon September 15, 2014 Reply
Looking forward to aussiegrit and porsche team doing fabulious during your visit to the lone atar state. Big fans from f1 days. Cheers !
Blaise Baldeschwileron September 16, 2014 Reply
Good luck this weekend Mark! It now appears that COTA has rented quite a bit of temporary lighting for the track, so it shouldn’t be much of an issue. Either way, I’ll be watching the light show coming from the front brakes on the approach to T12 😉
dain favieron October 7, 2014 Reply
Well done mark. You love racing so much and I enjoy seeing you race. All the best. You do oz proud.
Patty Marfyakon October 10, 2014 Reply
Enjoyed meeting you and seeing you race in Austin, Mark. Despite the weather you guys did well. Wishing you all the best for this year and many years to come in your racing career.