Circuit of the Americas opened for racing in October of 2012. Since then, the Austin, Texas track has gone on to host the Formula One United States Grand Prix, the Road Racing World Championships, American Le Mans Series and other high profile events along with the North American Ferrari Challenge. Current Ferrari Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel—who won the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas in 2013—is among the many elite competitors who has praised the challenging course.
“COTA is a track I like a lot,” Vettel said. “The fast corners in sector one, followed by the tricky low speed middle sector, all of it technical and demanding. The American fans create a fantastic atmosphere at the circuit.”
Fellow championship Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton—who has won the Grand Prix in Austin three times—also enjoys the innovative track design.
“It’s quite an interesting track,” Hamilton said. “It’s quite difficult to learn initially but is fantastic to drive. I really started to enjoy it once I got used to it which took perhaps a little bit longer than some of the other circuits to learn.”
On May 13-15, Circuit of the Americas will host to the 2016 Ferrari Challenge. This year’s event marks the third time that EMS Race Team and driver James Weiland have competed at COTA. In recent years, Weiland and the crew from Boardwalk Ferrari were able to secure multiple first-place finishes in the same weekend—something he hopes to replicate later this month.
“We’re always looking forward to our trip to Austin,” Weiland said. “The first time we competed at Circuit of the Americas was back in 2013. It is a long lap with 21 corners, and the only place we have ever been where there are 10 first corners all connected prior to hitting any sort of straightaway. But if you get every detail right it can be very rewarding. We’ve been fortunate to have some success there in the past and are hoping to do so again.”
This year’s Ferrari Challenge will be the first time that Weiland competes with his new car Paris, the ems+ Ferrari Challenge 458 EVO. This will be the third Ferrari Challenge appearance of the season for the EMS Race Team car trimmed in blue and decorated with the insignias of PETA Cruelty Free and The Cornerstone of Hope.
“As a team, we’re excited to see what Paris is able to do on the track for her first time,” Weiland added. “But more than that, we’re also excited about continuing to do what we can to raise awareness throughout the country for PETA Cruelty Free and the Cornerstone of Hope. I can’t say enough about the valuable work both charities do for the community and we’re proud to be associated with that effort.”
For updates throughout the Ferrari Challenge weekend at COTA, along with live-timing race results, follow @EMSRaceTeam on Twitter and Facebook. Also be sure to check out EMS Race Team’s Vimeo Page for behind-the-scenes action following the competition.
By Brendan Bowers
Photo via circuitoftheamericas.com