Sport NASCAR on the COTA: Drivers positively surprised by the course after test drives

12:50  03 march  2021
12:50  03 march  2021 Source:   motorsport-total.com

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NASCAR hat Reifentest auf dem COTA absolviert © Circuit of The Americas NASCAR has completed tire tests on the COTA

NASCAR on a state-of-the-art Formula 1 circuit: This is exactly what will be on 23 May 2021 at the Circuit of The Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas. For tire supplier Goodyear in particular, visiting the 5.513-kilometer route with 20 bends is a real challenge. That is why there was a tire test last Tuesday with several NASCAR pilots, who all came to a positive conclusion.

Martin Truex Jun. © Circuit of The Americas Martin Truex Jun.

Chase Elliott, Brad Keselowski and Martin Truex Jr. got their first impressions on the track that opened in 2012. "The track is fun," says NASCAR Champion Elliott. "She has a lot of character. I've never been here in person and haven't seen many races on this circuit. That's why the learning curve went up steeply for me."

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According to Elliott, rhythm plays an important role in being fast on the COTA. "I'm trying to learn the course, but it's a lot of fun," concluded the Hendrick pilot. "I hope the fans give it a real chance. There will definitely be a different form of racing."

According to Keselowski, the COTA offers overtaking opportunities in many places, which is why the Penske driver expects a lively NASCAR race. The Ford driver considers Turn 1 to be a key point that can cause a lot of chaos and action. "First it's uphill, which encourages drivers to brake late and stab inside," said Keselowski.

"Then there is this wide corner entrance, there is hardly any chance of blocking. Then it's a very slow corner." The 2012 NASCAR Champion believes that the first corner was "intentionally designed" to generate "epic starts and re-starts" as possible.

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Martin Truex Jr. sees COTA as a mix of the traditional NASCAR routes Watkins Glen and Sonoma - including the fast and slow sections. According to the Gibbs driver, tire wear will play a role because the asphalt is "a bit older, like in Sonoma". The long, fast straights and hard braking zones, however, remind him of Watkins Glen.

"There are some blind turns and it goes up and down like Sonoma," said Truex Jr. of his first impression of COTA. "It's a unique route." The key to success are the reference points on the track, i.e. the turning and braking points, says the 2017 NASCAR champion. "A lap takes over two minutes, so you have to wait two minutes to correct a mistake." Like Elliott, Truex Jr. had a lot of fun on the course.

Formula 1, IMSA, GTWC USA and also the IndyCar series have already contested races on the circuit, but there have never been any stock car races there. Tony Stewart moved a NASCAR car on COTA in 2019 and already back then spoke out in favor of a cup race on the track. In 2021, COTA is one of seven circuit races on the NASCAR calendar.

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