Tequila Patron and the ACO (Automobile Club de l'Ouest) joined forces to make the event of the year at the Circuit of The Americas™ track in Austin, Texas, this September. The American Le Mans Series (ALMS) Championship and the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) will be held back-to-back in separate, long-distance races for a “Super Endurance Weekend” September 21-22.
What is ALMS?
The ALMS is a 10-race championship series sponsored by Tequila Patron, raced at a speed of up to 210mph in prototypes and sports cars. These cars are not only built for speed, durability and unparalleled endurance, but they are a global leader in “Green Racing,” with the use of high-tech engines, fuel-efficient cars and a combination of hybrids. These measures make ALMS the only motor sport racing to comply with the US Department of Energy’s protocols!
Efficiency isn’t the only thing “high-tech” about these cars. ALMS developed a new idea that would make racing much more enjoyable for the audience with a development called Leader Lights.
Light ‘Em Up!
These lights will be LED and located on the side of each participating car, and will light up based on the position of the car. The leading car will have one light, second place will have two lights and third place will have three lights. This way, if you’re endurance isn’t holding up in the two hours and 45 minutes of endurance racing, you’ll be able to get up, walk around, grab a bite, and still jump right back into the race knowing exactly who to keep an eye on.
While the Leader Light System uses the number of lights to identify position, it uses color to identify the class in which each of the cars is competing. Red lights indicate class LMP1, blue lights represent LMP2 and green is designated to GT racers.
If you’re unfamiliar with these race classes, LMP stands for Le Mans Prototype cars, formerly known as Sports Racers or Sports Racing Prototypes. These cars not only have the unique elements that we already discussed, but they currently the fastest closed-wheel cars used in circuit racing today! GTs, also known as Grand Tourers, are built for speed and long distance racing.
Where Does the FIA WEC Come In?
What makes the pairing of the ALMS and WEC so simple is how similar they are. Both involve sports cars and LMP categories, and are based speed and endurance. Although high endurance capabilities are much needed in the American Le Mans Series races, the FIA WEC pushes it to the limit with eight season races, each lasting six hours in duration! Hence the name “6 Hours of Austin” given to the race held at the Circuit of The Americas™.
The WEC entries consist of four classes similar to the ALMS: LMP1, LMP2, LMGTE Pro (Le Mans Grand Touring Endurance – Professional) and LMGTE Am (Amateur).
With all of these classes, cars and races, we understand it may be hard to get them all straight, so here’s a simple abbreviation list to keep your focus on the races and less on what everything means.
ALMS: American Le Mans Series
WEC: World Endurance Championship
FIA: Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile
ACO: Automobile Club de l'Ouest
LMP: Le Mans Prototype
GT: Grand Tourer
LMPGTE: Le Mans Protoype Grand Tourer Endurance