This weekend will be the first warm-weather race held at Circuit of the Americas. The previous ones, including the Formula One Grand Prix in November and the MotoGP last month, had days that were either a little chilly or pleasant. This weekend, the temperatures are supposed to be above 90 degrees at the circuit.
For fans, that means bring the sunscreen. For drivers, it’s more of a concern.
According to an Australian V8 Supercars official, the temperature in the cars is about 45 degrees warmer than it is outside. So if it’s 95 degrees outside, it will be about 140 degrees in the car.
In Australia, the series tries to avoid the hottest time of the year for the various stops. But one official said that at Adelaide, it was once hot enough in the car to melt the drivers’ shoes.
The Australian V8 Supercars are making their North American debut at Circuit of the Americas. One of the interesting things to see this weekend will be just how many Aussies come to Austin.
Speaking of hot: The weekend forecast is for partly-to-mostly-sunny skies and zero percent chance of rain. But it will be warm and a bit muggy. Friday’s high is expected to be 93, followed by 91 on Saturday afternoon and 90 on Sunday.
Aussie invasion: At the media sign-in Thursday, it looked as if there would be about 50 international journalists covering the races, with perhaps 40 of those coming from Australia.
Several drivers said Australian fans — and drivers — would make a holiday of the trip and go to Las Vegas, New York or Los Angeles while in the U.S.
“A lot of people are coming. It’s going to be a good, fun trip,” said driver Mark Winterbottom.
Ticket sales: COTA officials are just as curious as everyone else about the crowd this event will draw. All they’ll say for now is the races will draw more than the Grand-Am did in March (26,648 for two days) but definitely less than MotoGP in April (131,082 for three days).
“It will be driven a lot more by the walk-up (day-of-race) sales rather than advance gate,” COTA spokesperson Julie Loignon said. She added that on Saturday and Sunday, tickets would be available at the track, not online.
A weekend general admission pass is $69; three-day reserve passes start at $89. There are discounts for college students, military personnel and children 12 and under.
Testing, testing: Of the 28 drivers in the V8 Supercars field, only four have competed in the United States.
“This is a massive event for us because of sponsorships and the opportunity to show ourselves to a brand new audience,” series leader Jamie Whincup of Red Bull Racing said. “It’s the chance to open up a new market.”