Circuit of the Americas edging closer to completion

Wednesday 29th August, 2012 - 1:37am

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The left-hand hairpin at Turn 1, which rises 400m from the startline, is the highest point on the circuit. The observation tower at Turns 16-18 can be seen in the background.

The left-hand hairpin at Turn 1, which rises 400m from the startline, is the highest point on the circuit. The observation tower at Turns 16-18 can be seen in the background.

The Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, continues to edge towards completion ahead of its debut on the Formula 1 World Championship calendar in late November.

Speedcafe.com visited the venue this week to witness progress made by the 600-strong contingent of construction workers on-site.

A second layer of tarmac has been laid on the majority of the 5.5km circuit in recent weeks, with the third and final surface expected to be in place within the next month ahead of a ‘grand opening’ on October 21st.

The main grandstand, pit building and media and medical centres are in what COTA executive vice-president Bruce Knox describes as “final finish-out stage”, while smaller grandstands around the circuit – mainly through the Turn 2, 3, 4 and 5 complex – are currently being erected.

Progress also continues on the 77m observation tower that will sit inside the ‘amphitheatre’ at Turns 16, 17 and 18.

Stands are being erected through the Turn 2-5 complex

Stands are being erected through the Turn 2-5 complex

“We’re actually ahead of schedule, which is a very good place to be,” Knox told Speedcafe.com of the developments.

“We had problems with the weather earlier in the year, but the fact that we haven’t had much rain in recent months means that we’ve been able to pick-up time that we’d factored in as potential delays.”

Knox says that demand for tickets – which are being handled by staff from sales company Legends working within COTA’s offices in downtown Austin – to the Formula 1 event has been strong and that they “will sell-out for sure”. The circuit’s total capacity is for 120,000 patrons.

Tickets are said to have been sold to residents in all 50 US states, while a large portion of fans are expected to attend from the neighbouring Mexico.

In the absence of rail services, shuttle buses are being arranged to mitigate the load on the two-lane highway that connects the circuit to the city.

An aerial view of the final corners and pit straight

An aerial view of the final corners and pit straight

Sorting out the circuit’s eligibility for $30 million of funding from the Texas Major Events Trust Fund meanwhile remains an ongoing process as debate continues over whether the venue’s application for a Grand Prix was made through the channels required in order to be granted access to the monies. Knox elected not to comment on the situation.

The 2012 US Formula 1 Grand Prix is scheduled to take place on November 18-20, filling the role of the 19th and penultimate race on the World Championship calendar.

The V8 Supercars Championship and American Le Mans Series are also scheduled to visit the Circuit of the Americas next year.

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