The MINI John Cooper Works Racing Team packs up the Antistatic Design #37 MINI, the Wavetrac Differentials #52 MINI, all of its racing paraphernalia, and probably a few 10-gallon hats this week, and heads for the country’s newest racetrack, the Circuit of the Americas, or COTA if you prefer, just outside of Austin, Texas for the next-to-last Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race for 2015. Hopes are high as the team continues its quest to get both MINIs across the finish line in the shortest possible time.
**Driver Lineup for COTA**
Ramin Abdolvahabi and Tyler Stone are back once again to pilot the 52 MINI, while Zack Meyer and Aaron Nash will handle the
37 MINI. Regular driver Stephen Simpson has a prior commitment this weekend.
**Circuit of the Americas**
The Circuit of the Americas is the only FIA-certified Grade 1 track in the United States and is one of only 26 Grade-1 certified motorsports facilities in the world. The track was designed to accommodate the highest levels of motorsport competition. Its first Formula 1 race in November of 2012 drew a crowd of 117,429 race fans.
The 20-turn, 3.4 mile long track has an elevation change of 133 feet and incorporates prominent features from several European circuits, such as Silverstone and Hockenheim. COTA has a variety of technical corners and elevation changes that can challenge both car and driver. Wide straights open to very slow and tight hairpin turns, which make great passing zones. The circuit is wide and technical where the ideal line will rarely use all of the track, and which may vary driver-to-driver and car-to-car. There are multiple ways of taking the same sections of corners.
The track borders a 20-acre Grand Plaza on three sides. One of the features of the Grand Plaza is a 251-foot tall observation tower with an observation platform 230 feet above ground level that provides a 360-degree view of the circuit, as well as downtown Austin.
Other amenities include a covered three-level Main Grandstand with a capacity of 9,000 spectators; a private motorsports driving club and karting track; expansive live entertainment space; a medical center; and a 40,000 sq. ft. conference/media center. The Main Grandstand also includes concessions, offices and two lounge spaces.
**MINI JCW Team Meet & Greet**
An opportunity to Meet & Greet the MINI JCW Team members in their paddock area, sponsored by MINI USA and presented by MotorWerks Magazine, will be provided on Friday Sept. 18. Lunch will also be provided, but all attendees must RSVP with Ian Rae, publisher of MotorWerks Magazine, at email@example.com. You may attend on the day, but without an RSVP enough lunches may not be available.
Currently there are 60 guests RSVP’d and 6 ‘maybes’ out of 103 invited. For the latest up-to-date Meet & Greet details, please see the MotorWerks Magazine Face Book page.
**Race and Broadcast Times**
The Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race will get the green flag at 1:40 p.m. ET on Friday, September 18th. For ticket information and a detailed race weekend schedule, please see the CTSCC website. If you can’t be there in person, you can still catch all of the MINI action—the two and a half hour race will be streamed live on IMSA TV and IMSA Mobile App, and will be rebroadcast on Fox Sports 1 on September 27th. Please check your local cable company schedule for the exact time and channel.