Andretti christens Circuit of the Americas

The 1978 world champion Mario Andretti, the last American to win the championship, cut a chequered banner before taking to the Circuit of the Americas track in his championship-winning Lotus 79 as celebrities and local dignitaries attended the Texas circuit's 'First Lap Ceremony.'

"It's everything I expected and more," Andretti said. "The track is phenomenal. It has all the features that you are looking for, giving you the opportunity to overtake, while negotiating some tighter corners. You can tell that a lot of thought has gone into it."

The plan had been for Andretti to also sample the track in a 2010 Renault R30 but an engine issue unfortunately put paid to that, but not before Jerome D'Ambrosio had sampled the track in the car.

"It's a really enjoyable layout with a couple of really good places for overtaking, some long, fast sweeping "S" corners and some really good high speed changes of direction like Becketts at Silverstone. It was a shame I did not get more laps but I had enough time to get a really good feel of the circuit. It's an enjoyable track for a racing driver and also fantastic for the fans as the viewing areas are well placed and there should be plenty of action.

"The first corner is quite special and it will be interesting to see it when people are dicing for position in the race. Austin is also a superb city; it's really going to be something special."

The first United States Grand Prix since Indianapolis in 2007 is the penultimate round of this year's world championship, on November 16-18.

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Stories: OCTOBER 22, 2012
ANDRETTI CHRISTENS CIRCUIT OF THE AMERICAS