The Circuit of the Americas has reached another milestone on the road to making its F1 debut with the return of the United States Grand Prix in November, completing the first layer of asphalt on the 3.4-mile layout.
The process known as 'marrying the track' saw the lap finished with the completion of the interim surface between turn 20 and turn one, taking in the start-finish straight and the hill leading up to the opening corner. About ten feet of Central Texas clay was excavated to create the entire length of track, before a black poly material 30 millimetres thick was placed in the 'trough' to act as an envelope for the various layers to be added to create the racing surface itself.
With FIA safety delegate Charlie Whiting hoping to return to the Austin facility at the end of the month, and its final 'readiness' inspection due to take place in September, the circuit will continue to press on with the next layer of tarmac in order to avoid a repeat of the problems that afflicted the Korean GP, where finishing touches were still being put to the venue as Friday free practice got underway.
Since Whiting's first visit, which came after the Canadian GP in June, key permanent structures – including the pits, main grandstand and media centre – have moved into the 'furnishing' stage, while other elements of the venue, including a 23-story observation tower - which will stand over the recently-announced 15,000-capacity Tower Amphitheatre entertainment arena - are still under construction and, while not likely to be ready for the race, are not essential parts needing completion ahead of Whiting's return, which will focus on the ability to run a race safely.
The Circuit of the Americas recently announced the decision to fit TecPro and Geobrugg safety systems around the undulating layout.