V8s Bracing for First Turn Mayhem
Holden driver James Courtney admits the V8 Supercars could introduce themselves to the United States with opening corner carnage this weekend.
An unfamiliar Circuit of the Americas track featuring a steep climb off the starting line to the first corner, and a narrow exit from the turn, will make for a nail biting start to the weekend's four races.
Holden Racing Team's Courtney is one of just two V8 drivers to have lapped the circuit.
The rest of the field don't get their chance until Practice starts on Saturday (AEST).
But all drivers have had their first walk of the track – all amazed by the quality and quirkiness of the new state-of-the-art facility purpose-built to host Formula One and MotoGP.
"It feels like you're driving up the side of a mountain," Courtney said of the first turn.
"It's a lot wider on the entry than what it is on the exit – we're probably going to be 28 cars wide going into there and three coming out.
"The way it's shaped, it promotes quite a bit of lunging. Being uphill off the start, if you don't get a good start, you'll sink quite deep into the pack and cause a bit of a drama.
"It's going to be a pretty exciting corner."
To help drivers and pit crews get a feel for the track and enough lap data to work with, there will be extra practice and separate qualifying sessions for each of the weekend's four races.
Two races will be held on Sunday (AEST) and two on Monday – all 100km sprints.
A three-day crowd of between 50,000 and 60,000 is expected – following on from F1's 266,000 and MotoGP's 130,000 attendances for their three-day events over the past six months.
There is certainly plenty of local interest.
Most Austin-based media are giving the event strong coverage and Courtney and New Zealander Fabian Coulthard, who had visited the track last month for promotional work, have established a profile already.
Holden driver Jonathon Webb is confident Americans will enjoy the V8s if they turn up or tune in.
"It's the home of the V8 here and the bumping and rubbing and close racing is going to get them excited," the Tekno Autosports driver said.