Updated: Tuesday, 25 Sep 2012, 6:27 PM EDT
Published : Tuesday, 25 Sep 2012, 4:50 PM EDT
AUSTIN, Texas (KXAN) - It's official: Circuit of The Americas is declared "race ready" after an inspection Tuesday by Charlie Whiting, the man who directs racing, safety and technical matters for the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), the organization that oversees the international motorsport.
Whiting spent about two hours touring the facility with CoTA staff and the general contractor, Austin Commercial, along with the track architects, Tilke GMbH. He walked the 3.4-mile course to ensure the asphalt met FIA requirements, inspecting kerbing, guard rails, fencing and other safety measures. Whiting also toured the pit/paddock building.
Whiting was in Austin as part of a scheduled pre-race inspection of the new track being built east of the city. The inaugural Formula One practice runs, qualifying race and final race are set for Nov. 16 - 18. He gave CoTA a "grade 1" status, which is the highest distinction awarded to a motorsports venue, according to CoTA staff.
Whiting will conduct a final inspection of the track on Nov. 12 as the U.S. Grand Prix week gets under way.
According to racing rules, all F1 circuits must be inspected and approved by Whiting before a site can conduct Grand Prix racing.
“Everything that I’ve seen so far has been absolutely first class, and the progress that’s been made since the last time that I was here is amazing,” Whiting said. “The guys have done an awesome job--it really is quite fantastic. It’s built to the highest quality, exactly as we expected, and I’ve got absolutely no complaints whatsoever.
“There are 3-4 corners that are very likely to see overtaking,” Whiting remarked. “If you look at Turn 1, you’ll see that the turns have been designed so that they’re extremely wide and the apex is very short. It’s a very modern approach to slow corners where we hope overtaking will take place. So I’m very confident it will work well.
“Turn 1 is awesome!" he continued. "It’s the only word I can think of to describe it, and I think drivers and teams coming here for the first time will say the same thing.”
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