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COTA Friday: WEC, IMSA qualifying and CTSC race in books

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Easier to wrap up all (or most of) the action from Circuit of The Americas today in one post than to break them out over seven.

The three highlighted events were the FIA World Endurance Championship qualifying, IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship qualifying and Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race. Notes are below:


Pole positions are set for the FIA World Endurance Championship Six Hours of Circuit of The Americas, the sixth round of the season. The Austin race follows the Mexico City round a couple weeks ago, which served as the halfway point of the season.

Audi has secured the pole for Saturday’s race in LMP1 and overall, with Andre Lotterer and the returning Benoit Treluyer qualifying the Audi R18 with a combined time of 1:45.842 average. Marcel Fassler completes the No. 7 Audi lineup. The second Audi is second with the first of the Porsches (No. 1) and first of the Toyotas (No. 6) on row two.

Signatech Alpine has the LMP2 pole with Gustavo Menezes and Nicolas Lapierre qualifying the No. 36 Alpine A460 Nissan, in the car they share with Stephane Richelmi. The trio has three wins this year, while RGR Sport has the other two, including the last round in Mexico City.

Aston Martin Racing scored a double pole in the GTE classes. The Dunlop-shod No. 95 Vantage V8 of Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen took the GTE-Pro pole, while the Michelin-shod No. 98 car of Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda will start up front in GTE-Am.

The race starts at 5 p.m. CT on Saturday, so 6 ET and 3 PT.

Qualifying times are linked here.

Practice session links from the weekend are below.


Ricky Taylor (Prototype), Robert Alon (Prototype Challenge), Ryan Briscoe (GT Le Mans) and Alex Riberas (GT Daytona) have scored pole positions for Saturday’s Lone Star Le Mans, the next-to-last round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season.

The two-hour, 40-minute race kicks off nearly nine hours of sports car racing on Saturday, with the FIA World Endurance Championship Six Hours of Circuit of The Americas to follow later Saturday evening.

Taylor co-drives the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP with brother Jordan Taylor, Alon the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca FLM09 with Tom Kimber-Smith, Briscoe the No. 67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT with Richard Westbrook and Riberas the No. 23 The Heart of Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R with Mario Farnbacher. The Nos. 52 and 67 cars are in the heat of championship battles in their respective classes, while the Nos. 10 and 23 cars have to have a bit of help in order to make it.

Taylor only edged Tristan Nunez’s No. 55 Mazda.

Qualifying times are linked here.

Meanwhile, session leaders in the three practice sessions were:

  • Thurs., Practice 1: P-Joao Barbosa, 1:58.813, PC-Tom Kimber-Smith, 2:01.131, GTLM-Dirk Mueller, 2:04.638, GTD-Jens Klingmann, 2:08.075
  • Thurs., Practice 2: P-Dane Cameron, 1:58.139, PC-Richard Bradley, 2:01.367, GTLM-Richard Westbrook, 2:04.107, GTD-Markus Palttala, 2:08.174
  • Fri., Practice 3: P-Joel Miller, 1:58.033, PC-Tom Kimber-Smith, 2:00.238, GTLM-Toni Vilander, 2:03.380, GTD-Alex Riberas, 2:07.116


The No. 15 Multimatic Motorsports Ford Shelby GT350R-C of Billy Johnson and Scott Maxwell have taken their fifth victory of the season in nine races this season in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, and are close to securing the GS class championship.

Johnson and Maxwell won the season opener at Daytona back in January, then won three races in a row from Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Lime Rock Park and Road America before the CJ Wilson Racing pair of Marc Miller and Danny Burkett won last time out at VIRginia International Raceway.

The No. 12 Bodymotion Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport (Trent Hindman and Cameron Cassels) and No. 76 Compass360 Racing Ford (Pierre Kleinubing and Paul Holton) completed the podium.

In ST, Eric Foss and Jeff Mosing took the win in the No. 56 Porsche Cayman for Murillo Racing. HART’s No. 93 Honda Civic Si (Cameron Lawrence and Chad Gilsinger) and the No. 19 Rennsport One Porsche Cayman (Greg Strelzoff and Connor Bloum) were second and third.


There’s also Porsche GT3 Challenge USA by Yokohama and Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo North America action from Circuit of The Americas this weekend, and those notes will be up after the weekend.

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.