By on March 6, 2013

Motorsports coverage is rarely part of TTAC’s remit, but I would be remiss if I failed to mention the first Grand-Am race at Circuit of the Americas. It’s great to have another world-class track in the United States, and there was some great racing there this past week.

The folks over at Hooniverse have a nice review of the event, complete with some drama regarding missing cameras and triumph over all odds, and whatnot. There’s an interview with the winning GX-class driver. GX has been off to a tough start, and it currently kind of looks like “Spec Investment Banker Cayman”, but if the class expands there should be some fascinating racing. Check it out!

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12 Comments on “Sports Car Racing At COTA, Yo...”


  • avatar
    philadlj

    Keep those hands planted firmly on the A-pillars!

  • avatar
    MeaCulpa

    “world-class” sadly makes it a modern and safe course fit for F1. F1 has done a lot for safety in motorsports, unfortunately, that safety has made all courses very similar and quite boring. Would still love to watch a F1 race there thou and the track is really good for a modern track.

    • 0 avatar
      indi500fan

      Think Nelson Ledges circa early 70s where I began my SCCA career.
      Thankfully Lake Erie Communications was equipped to pull you out of the swamp.

    • 0 avatar
      bills79jeep

      I have to disagree. I think that course designers have realized that the F1 courses of the 90′s were boring and bland, and have reacted to that. Look at the elevation changes at COTA, and I love it how turn one pinches down and gets narrow at the apex, when it looks so wide 100 yds out. Yes, there are massive run off areas, but they are mostly paved, which keeps the race going (though some don’t like it that you aren’t really “penalized” for going off like you would be if caught in a gravel trap).

      We’ll never return to the days of back straights lined with trees instead of ARMCO, but as far as modern, safe circuits go, I think COTA is a winner.

      • 0 avatar
        CST10

        The track is very challenging, and those elevations can ruin someone’s day (turn 1). There’s a lot of sections where elevation drops on corner exit, too. It’s a fast, and incredibly fun course to play on. They designed it with entertaining racing in mind, and I think it pays off, drivers and fans seem to really like it.

        Thankfully I got to hit it for free with the CTS-V Lab last December. 140 in a V-Wagon!

        -Phillip

      • 0 avatar
        MeaCulpa

        133 feet and 3.43 miles for COTA vs 180 feet and 2.24 miles for laguna Seca. So pretty good but another 100 feet of elevation wouldn’t hurt. I still think it’s a good course, certainly better then the worst “upgrades” of the 90′s, but not great. But I don’t think we’ll ever see a great track being built ever again.

    • 0 avatar
      akitadog

      I attended the USGP at COTA last November, and it was pretty exciting. The track was a bit rough around the edges for spectators, as it had just been completed ENOUGH to accommodate the race.

      I’ve also run a good number of laps around it virtually (F1 2012 game) and it is far from an easy course. The S-curves that come up after turn 1 and the sweepers after the long straight are deceptive in terms of changing radii and how fast you can really take them. I imagine doing it in the real world is that much more exciting/scary!

  • avatar
    j3studio

    Thanks for the Hooniverse link, Jack. The course is gorgeous and the race was a lot of fun to watch. I still can’t believe Pruett managed to salvage a third place finish after taking the car airborne:

    http://www.speedtv.com/video/auto-racing/rolex-pruett-airborne-cota-2013-2199949783001/1#_vtop

    Methinks Scott’s going to retire soon – when he does I’ll feel very, very old.

    • 0 avatar
      CST10

      So that explains why it lost the nose. I’m pretty sure he was leading when it happened. The car looked pretty scary to drive with no front aero.

      -Phillip Thomas

  • avatar
    Spanish Inquisition

    A shame the Mazdas couldn’t keep the lead in GX. They’ll get there eventually…

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    I had my reservations knowing the reputation of modern F1 circuits but it was a fantastic venue to attend for the US GP last year. I don’t know how it showed on TV but it was very scenic in person, the elevation changes were quite dramatic, and you were not kept too far away from the cars. I can’t wait for the US GP and I”m really looking forward to seeing the WEC Le mans cars tearing it up too.

  • avatar
    hurls

    It may not be part of TTAC’s remit, but I’m sure I’m not alone, jack, when I say I suspect that a lot of us would enjoy say… an F1 recap column from you.

    Re: the circuit. I was at the USGP and it seemed to me that there were a fair number of honest-to-goodness passes, including one for the win. So it’s at least not bad, by modern standards. I’m looking forward to heading back to Austin for V8 supercar in a few months…those wide runoffs seem like they’ll be fun with those crazy SOBs.


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