Drivers' Quoteboard: Friday
By: V8 Supercars
After two Practice sessions at the Austin 400, several drivers spoke to V8Supercars.com.au about their initial impressions of the Circuit of the Americas.
Craig Lowndes, Red Bull Racing Australia:
“It’s a great track, very much a European track in similar style to Abu Dhabi. It is fast and flowing, it is hard on the tyre and we are limited with tyres this weekend so I think you will see the times degrade from this point on unless someone is brave enough to use their second set.
“Turn one is exciting, you get the negative Gs going up and up and up and you brake later and later and later and still get to the point where you can go further. We are still finding that point, but it’s a great feeling going up and then you have got to get the car stopped and then you go back down. The run down into turn two is so fast, you’re just pulling gears. It’s great!”
Tim Slade, Heavy Haulage Australia Racing:
“The track seems like it provides quite a lot of grip so we had a bit of rethink on tyre degradation. It probably is not as bad as what we thought and the tyres look alright. It’s just the heat and the nature of the long loaded corners which takes performance out of the tyres rather than actual degradation.
“The track is different, it’s got a bit of everything, some fast stuff and some slow stuff. Like any new track it takes a while to get your head around at first, but I am sure all of us will get on top of it.
“I actually enjoy turn two, down the hill and there is a little bit of camber and it is quite a fast corner, you are in fourth gear and then fifth gear on the exit and fighting with the car through there. So that is probably my favourite corner so far.”
Jason Bright, Team BOC:
I think it is fantastic that a track like this has been built that has real attitude. A lot of F1 tracks now don’t have this much attitude. It has got good elevation change, some really fast corners and really challenging bits. So I think they have done a fantastic job.
“That first sector is awesome. Turn one is good, but that next run down through turn two, three, four and five is a lot of fun. And the same with the last sector, that long right-hander is really good too because it is dropping away on the exit. Awesome track.
“One minute 34s is probably as fast as you will see today, but in Qualifying I think you will see everyone into the low 33s or high 32s.”
David Reynolds, The Bottle-O Racing:
“It’s fun. You are pretty busy out there, undulations, lots of different style corners. It is going to be hard to put a good lap together.”
Jonathon Webb, TEKNO Autosports:
“It is an interesting track because it has some fast and flowing stuff early, but at the same stage you get in there hot and it all catches up pretty quick.
“The way they had it before you could run a bit of kerb and be okay, but with the way they have set it up with the big, heavy kerbs on the inside it makes it really, really interesting. It obviously tightens up in the middle and goes from there and it’s not easy to get the car right for that.
“There is a little less grip than I expected… and the cars are probably not ideally suited to it but we will make it work.”
Garth Tander, Holden Racing Team:
“It is challenging, it’s like a track of two halves. In the first sector there is a lot of fast and flowing stuff and then it’s really stop-start.
“Our car is really good in the fast stuff but we are losing a lot of time in the slow stuff. So from a set-up point of view it’s challenging to get the car working in both.
“But the track is good; it’s challenging from a driver’s point of view, it’s challenging from a set-up point of view. I am a bit concerned about the potential passing opportunities bit we will wait and see what happens.”
Todd Kelly, Jack Daniel's Racing:
"This is one of the most awesome tracks we've been to as a category.
"We didn't get many laps. A lot of guys were out there on wet tyres because of the issues we have with the amount of tyres we have for Practice. I didn't really get a lap without having to pass two or three cars.
"I got the first half of the circuit half worked out. All of our sector times are quite good. It's just the second half that we need to work out for this next session. We're making a few changes to the car."
James Moffat, Norton 360 Racing:
"It's a great track, especially the first sector where you have the uphill run to Turn One and then downhill with some flowing corners which lead one to another.
"The first session was really about trying to learn the track as quickly and as best as I could."
Tony D’Alberto, Team HIFLEX:
“It’s definitely a unique circuit, something we haven’t seen before. Turn one is pretty surreal – as you approach the crest up the hill, you just see track in front of you, it’s a very weird feeling. It’s like a rollercoaster, almost.
“But it’s a really cool track, the first sector, all the rights and lefts – you get one a bit wrong and you play catch up for the next one and the car’s definitely moving around a lot.
“I think racing-wise it’s going to create pretty close racing, I think everyone’s going to be battling pretty hard so the cars will be fighting hard and I’m on the better end of it!”
Scott McLaughlin, Fujitsu Racing GRM:
“Amazing. The garages are pretty cool, but when you get on the track and you… go up the hill it’s pretty amazing. I’m amazed at the undulation, it’s really cool, and I enjoyed it. It suits me down to a tee. You’ve got to keep the momentum up, it’s quite flowing and I enjoy it, I really do.”