MARK’S AUSTIN TOP 5
Austin is a favourite for drivers and fans on and off the track – here are some of Mark’s highlights:
Modern Day Circuit
COTA has a little bit of everything. It’s a very demanding track for the car and driver and a modern, fast flowing circuit with a lot of different speed ranges. You have long straights, high – and super low speeds, open corners and a lot of ups and downs too which is rewarding for the driver to get right especially in the first sector. It’s a track that has provided some great racing also in other categories like Moto GP and F1 and of course us in the sports cars which showcases them in a great way.
The 5 o’clock race start created quite an interesting atmosphere last year and it is always special to run in the twilight window. Like Le Mans we will be racing in the dark again too, only the start/finish straight has artificial lights which is always a special feeling for your senses. You can see what is going on around the track with all the fans having barbecues and enjoying the event.
Fans and hospitality
The American fans love their endurance racing and Porsche. It’s clear that Nascar is probably the biggest motorsport category in the US as it’s been around for a long time and people love it. It’s great for us though to take our cars to the Lone Star Le Mans event, of course they have a lot of technology to showcase but it’s also about the racing as fans want to see some great battles which we’ve seen plenty of this year. When we went there last year I couldn’t believe the welcome we received and how passionate the fans are about the brand and they’re great supporters of the endurance championship.
It’s a really vibrant city and always reminds me of Melbourne. The locals embrace the event and there is always a lot going on downtown with music and great food and of course they have a lot of festivals around there too. They’re definitely keeping the place weird!
I’ve got a lot of good friends in Austin and usually get into town a few days early. They always take good care of me showing me the local areas to visit and the tricks of the trade in Austin. I’ve done some good mountain biking and also got myself on the lake for some water skiing. I really like the Texan ranch lifestyle they have, I’ve been very spoilt visiting Austin both as a competitor and as a tourist.