WEEHAWKEN, WEST NEW YORK, AND BEYOND -- Formula One champions Sebastian Vettel and David Coulthard spun local officials and members of the press across, up, down, and around Boulevard East and Port Imperial Boulevard Monday afternoon to preview the future Grand Prix of America at Port Imperial course. The two Infinite IPLs, sandwiched by West New York police vehicles, maxed out at 95 m.p.h. with the Manhattan skyline whizzing by as locals and visitors both international and domestic tried to catch a glimpse or a photo of the famous drivers.
"The circuit looks very quick," Vettel said after completing the course several times. "There are a lot of corners, a lot of fast floating corners, which you need to have big balls to drive, so it should be good fun."
From his test-run he determined that race time speeds would max out at over 200 m.p.h. And given his apparent mastery of English colloquialisms, it was determined that the German-born Vettel would also master his appearance on the David Letterman show later that evening.
Each lap culminated in a tire-squealing, smoke-covered series of figure eight spin-outs performed by the Infinites -- not the police vehicles -- at the stop light just before the left-hand turn that leads to Weehawken's Port Imperial Ferry terminal, which will double as the pit stop, starting, and finish line for the 3.2 mile course in June of 2013. Construction of the permanent Formula One facilities outside of the terminal are well under way for the three-day race, and the course, which utilizes existing local roads in both Weehawken and West New York, is set to be completed on time, contrary to recent rumors.
The largest adjustment to the roads, race promoter Leo Hindery mentioned, is to remove the four existing speed bumps and to widen certain areas. Hindery announced that the formal announcement of the exact timing of the race will be made no later than the first week of July, and he denied any and all rumors that there would be any delays or cancellations.
"Our dream that began last year is halfway to reality," he said in an interview before the press conference. "The track's varied elevation and its twists and turns not only make the course a great one from a driver's point of view, but it makes it exciting so that the fans enjoy it just as much."
Vettel's Formula One car sat on the press stage before the skyline and Hindery, once a champion racer himself, took Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner and West New York Mayor Felix Roque on a tour of the car's special features. Each car runs around $225 million, Hindery said, and is designed to stop and accelerate quickly with a lot of down force meant to keep the car gripped to this particularly multi-faceted course.
"This place is exceptional," Vettel added. "Just as a civilian look around: there is just no comparison in the world. Monaco is very special for us, it has a lot of history, but I think this race is going to be very, very great and soon will be one of the races every driver wants to win, no doubt."
For more information on the future race and the event, see this weekend's edition of the Hudson Reporter. -- Gennarose Pope