In the second of his features on V8 Supercars’ visit to the Circuit of the Americas, US racing school driver and F1 blogger Samuel Melcher gives us his insight into the Texas track…
The V8 Supercars will use the shortened 3.7km National Circuit this weekend. This excludes five corners from the full-size 5.5km Circuit of the Americas Grand Prix layout, but there are a few corners that are going to be crucial for drivers in the races and in qualifying.
The first corner of any race can be a turning point that can decide the winner, so getting it spot on will be imperative.
Off the start line, its a steep uphill climb to the first corner — a sweeping left-hander that leads onto a series of tight chicanes — with the apex positioned on the crest of the hill.
The track on the run up there is wide, probably enough for at least three cars to reach the entrance side-by-side. This means that there will be a lot of manoeuvring involved to try and find the best vantage point in order to gain positions into the corner. The outside could actually prove to be the best spot because it puts the driver on the inside for the next corner. The drivers will have a difficult choice come race day, outside, middle, or inside for turn one.
The ensuing chicanes (a series of two or more corners that switch in direction e.g. left-right-left, right-left-right) are quick and unforgiving. Having seen cars go through there before, it is not a corner that most focus on the other drivers in, it is one that requires intense concentration and precision. A move will be almost impossible there because the cars are so close in pace and the outside can be up to 5 mph slower.
Look for over taking in turns 1, 12, 13, 19 and the back straight.