Tomorrow afternoon, Mario Andretti, Patrick Dempsey, and Jerome D'Ambrosio will pilot the 2010 Lotus R30 around Circuit of The Americas as the first Formula 1 car to test the completed track. With just under one month to go until the inaugural F1 USGP in Austin, the first hot laps of the track will mark the official ribbon cutting ceremony of COTA and kick off the countdown to the November 18th race.
Mario Andretti, 1978 Formula 1 World Champion and an Ambassador for Circuit of The Americas, will "cut" the ribbon by conducting the first laps of the circuit. This will be Mario's first time behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car in nearly 20 years since his departure from the sport. Beginning in June this year, Andretti has acted as an ambassador for the Circuit, working with COTA to promote the future home of Formula 1 in America. Revered as an American motorsports legend, Andretti is the only driver in history to win a Formula 1 World Championship, NASCAR's Daytona 500, and IndyCar's premiere event, the Indianapolis 500.
Along with Andretti, actor Patrick Dempsey, known to most of the American audience for his part in the ABC TV series "Grey's Anatomy," will also take the Lotus R30 around COTA for a few laps. Dempsey, an avid motorsports enthusiast both operates a Grand-Am and American LeMans racing team, Dempsey Racing, and competes behind the wheel in races such as the 24 Hours of LeMans.
Jerome D'Ambrosio, reserve driver for the Lotus F1 Team, will join Andretti and Dempsey to take the R30 around COTA as the first licensed F1 driver to officially pilot the track. Additional guests for the afternoon's event include Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell, Texas Comptroller Susan Combs, Commissioner Margaret Gomez, and Pirelli CEO Marco Tronchetti Povera, all of whom will help welcome the first official lap of COTA.
Also on the itinerary is a showing of various race cars who will be competing at COTA in 2013. With Grand-Am, V8 Supercars, and MotoGP already announced for early 2013, this should mean we'll see at least one of each of these taking a spin around COTA. Pirelli is also outfitting 25 vintage race cars with their P-Zero tires to do a special on-track demonstration. Hopefully this means they'll fill up the grid and show off some action on track in a short race, but we'll have to wait until tomorrow to find out for sure.