SPEED HOPES TO MUSCLE HIS WAY TO VICTORY AT CIRCUITO ESTORIL Long-Sweeping Turns a Challenge to Tires and Drivers CIRCUITO ESTORIL, Portugal -- Tires and tired. Those will be the two main concerns for the men behind the wheel -- such as...
SPEED HOPES TO MUSCLE HIS WAY TO VICTORY AT CIRCUITO ESTORIL
Long-Sweeping Turns a Challenge to Tires and Drivers
CIRCUITO ESTORIL, Portugal -- Tires and tired. Those will be the two main concerns for the men behind the wheel -- such as Team USA driver Scott Speed -- this weekend at Circuito Estoril in Portugal, the third stop on the inaugural A1 Grand Prix of Nations competition.
A regular stop on the Formula 1 circuit between 1984 and 1996, Circuito Estoril has a track layout very similar to its Iberian counterpart at Barcelona. And that means long-sweeping turns that are not only tough on tires, but very tiring for drivers.
"Every track has its unique challenges, but Circuito Estoril is one of the most difficult tracks because it is physically grueling, both for your tires and yourself as a driver," said Speed, who hopes to move the U.S. up in the standings with an impressive showing. "But it's the same for everybody. The driver who is physically up to the task and the team that is quick in the pits will win this race.
"Fortunately, we have great tires for this type of race. The surface of these slick Cooper A1 tires can become almost gel-like with the high track temperatures, and the way that they 'squash' into the track surfaces really helps with grip and cornering."
Located nearly four miles northwest of Lisbon on the northern coast of the estuary of the River Tagus, the track can be found in the hills behind the once-glamorous resort town of Estoril and the small fishing port of Cascais.
The 192-plus-mile race will include 71 laps. Drivers will attempt to break the track record for fastest lap (1:14.859) turned in by Damon Hill in 1993. Alain Prost was the first Grand Prix winner at this track, in 1984, while Jacques Villeneuve was the most recent, in 1996.
A1 Grand Prix provides national teams and their drivers the opportunity to compete globally on a level playing field with open wheeled race cars that have identical specifications and engines. For the first time in racing history, A1 Grand Prix puts driver against driver and nation against nation. A1 Grand Prix will bring together up to 25 nations representing 80 per cent of the world's population. It is the skill of the drivers and their crews that will determine who wins the race.
The global series will take place across six continents--North and South America, Europe, Africa, Australia and Asia--and will be televised around the world so fans in both established and emerging markets can experience the thrill of this historic international race series.
The next race on schedule for A1 Team USA is at Circuito Estoril in Estoril, Portugal. For more information on A1 Grand Prix, including a schedule of the 2005-2006 racing season, visit www.a1gp.com.