Story by Steve Zongker.
Most everyone remembers that song, made famous by the 1942 movie of the same name.
The stars at night are big and bright
Deep in the heart of Texas
The prairie sky is wide and high
Deep in the heart of Texas
I think the airport in Austin, TX (home of Circuit of the Americas), puts the song in a low frequency so you start to hum the song in your head immediately dis-embarking from the airplane.
This past weekend, marked the 4th running of the combined FIA WEC/ IMSA Weather Tech Sportscar Championship event at COTA in Texas.
One of the more common concerns from both teams and spectators alike was the scorching temps at last years race. These days anyone with a smart phone and Internet service knew ahead of time that the temps would be yet again very high indeed.
Last year at the COTA event, I worked for Starworks Motorsport as a data analyst for one of their cars. As grateful as I was to Peter Baron for the opportunity last year, I chose not to pursue that opportunity this year solely because of the heat and the toll it took on my body as I fought cancer head on.
This year I was fortunately chosen to receive a media credential from the WEC organizers and their media representatives.
Anyone who knows me from Twitter (@FloppyEarRacing) knows that I have a very unique and different sense of humor than most. Over the past few months or longer, I’ve developed a decent amount of rapport with the official Twitter account of COTA (@circuitoftheamericas). This made it easier for me to try and get together with the “maker of the tweets” during my visit to the track.
We will get back to the “tweet machine” in a moment.
Another great joy when visiting Austin is the ability to rent cars from Silvercar (http://silvercar.com) This up and coming company rents ONLY Audi cars (specifically A4’s) for an exceptionally low price. If you want to drive in style, and get a feeling for an amazing car, I suggest you get with Silvercar the next time you visit Austin.
Each year when I arrive in Austin, especially the track, it appears that the employees and management of the track have done some great things to improve the experiences for the fans at this event. The first year was horrible as far as directing traffic both getting in and exiting the facility. The paddock seemed to be a mish-mash of trucks, cars, buses, golf carts, etc.
This year was exceptionally well laid out, except for one thing.
All of the IMSA support series were so far out of the common paddock area, you had to use some form of motorized transportation to get out there. This, I am sure, prevented some fans from going out and seeing some of the great looking cars and teams in the IMSA support series realm.
Now back to the “tweet machine”….
In a far off corner of the track itself sits a tiny area where the tweet machine resides. It’s run by a crack team of tiny little Texas Longhorns who take shifts in typing out the many tweets send out from the track each day.
JUST KIDDING Y’ALL, but all joking aside, the marketing staff at COTA, and the person who does run the account are all wonderful individuals who take pride in the work they do in providing a great experience. They all work very diligently getting the information to the masses on all of the events that tack place at COTA during the year.
Another amazing experience I was able to take part in was the ability to take some photographs during the Saturday events. Fuji Film USA was allowing select media members to “test drive” one of their new professional cameras. (http://www.fujifilmusa.com/products/digital_cameras/x/fujifilm_x_t2/)
Another great thing about being at COTA is that you get to see most of your Twitter friends that are spread out all over North America. I also get the opportunity to chat with some of my friends who work with WEC race teams, and see what their cars are like up front and in person.
I’m saving one of the best stories for last though. As almost anyone knows, I am one of the most passionate Audi fans in the USA. One of my biggest joys this year finally came to fruition this past Saturday, as I was able to ride along in an Audi RS7 with Dion von Moltke (https://dionvm.com) Dion has been an absolute champion to the fans as was the case- as another passenger in the car had never been on a race track during a hot lap ride in her life.
Thanks to Dion, he made yet another person become a part of the racing family, as well as maybe made her lose her voice by squealing so much in joy around the track.
As far as both the IMSA & WEC races were concerned, I hope the fans got what they expected, I know I did.
Until we meet again folks, have a spectacularly spiffy day.