Circuit of the Americas - Home of World Championships
Circuit of the Americas, or COTA, is a modern racing track located near the city of Austin in Travis County, Texas, United States. This impressive racing venue, one of the best in the world, hosts the Formula 1 Grand Prix, an FIA World Endurance Championship race, IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship events, Moto GP, and many other racing competitions. One round of the Australian V8 Supercars Championship was also held at Circuit of the Americas.
Circuit of the Americas was opened in 2012
In 2010, when the US Federal Emergency Management Agency issued a letter stating the project of the circuit meets its floodplain criteria (part of the site lies in a floodplain), the construction of the track began and was funded entirely using private money. It took 2 years to complete the track and it was officially opened in October 2012.
Inspired by other Formula 1 circuits
This was the first circuit in the USA specially designed for Formula 1 racing. The designer was the German architect and circuit designer Hermann Tilke, who already had the designs of acclaimed circuits like Sepang, Yas Marina Abu Dhabi, Shanghai, Bahrain, and others attached to his name.
The Circuit of the Americas is a 5.515km long counter-clockwise track and has 20 turns. The capacity of the stands is 120,000. The track follows the contours of the land, just like many European circuits, and has many turns inspired by several other Formula 1 circuits. One distinctive feature of the circuit is the deliberate widening of the corners to encourage drivers to follow multiple racing lines.
Divided opinions about the demanding track
The circuit of the Americas is one of the few counter-clockwise tracks and that’s why it is also a lot more physically demanding, as drivers bodies, especially necks, are more resistant to the lateral G-forces of clockwise circuits.
Despite more demanding conditions, most of the Formula 1 drivers describe Circuit of the Americas as spectacular and challenging, while some aren’t pleased with itthey think it is too similar to other tracks in the championship, especially in the second and third sector.
Sebastian Vettel holds the record for the lap time. The German racer set the time 1:39.347 as a Red Bull Racing driver during the inaugural race in 2012.
Attractive and modern facilities
Other major features on the site are the Observation Tower, Grand Plaza and Austin 360 Amphitheater, all designed by Miro Rivera Architects. The Observation Tower is a 77m high landmark for the venue and provides a 360-degree panorama of the circuit, as well as a view of the downtown of the city of Austin. To reach the top of the tower, visitors can choose between a high-speed elevator or climb the 428 steps to their destination. The Grand Plaza provides a wide selection of retail and restroom facilities to the guests, but also has a large reflecting pool, lawn, and varying landscape zones. Finally, the open air amphitheater with a capacity of 14,000 seats is intended to host major concerts and other non-racing events.
Today, the Circuit of the Americas brings almost $1 billion in economic impact to Central Texas through increased tourism and annual operations. With plans for more World’s top racing championships, new features and more non-racing events, Circuit of The Americas is set for excitement for years to come.
Address: 9201 Circuit of the Americas Blvd, Austin, TX 78617, United States
Phone: +1 512-301-6600
Official website: circuitoftheamericas.com
Photos: chrisonf1.com, e-architect.co.uk, photoblog.statesman.com.