‘Race every driver wants to win’
Formula One champions test WNY/Weehawken track for 2013 Grand Prix
by Gennarose Pope
Reporter Staff Writer
Jun 17, 2012 | 2189 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CHECKING OUT THE SPECS – Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner (left), Formula One race promoter Leo Hindery (center), and West New York Mayor Felix Roque checked out Sebastian Vettel’s race car that sat on a stage set before the Manhattan skyline during a press conference.
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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 2013 Grand Prix of America at Port Imperial course. The two Infiniti 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 tried to catch a glimpse.

“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.

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“There is no doubt that we can handle this. We deal with the Lincoln Tunnel every day.” – Richard Turner

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Each lap culminated in a tire-squealing, smoke-covered series of figure eight spin-outs performed by the Infinitis – not the police vehicles – at the stop light just before the left-hand turn that leads to Weehawken’s Port Imperial Ferry terminal. That site will also act as a pit stop, starting line, and finish line for the 3.2-mile course in June of 2013.

“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.”

The race must go on

Construction of the Formula One facilities outside of the terminal are well under way for the three-day race. 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 said 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 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.”

The local perspective

Vettel’s Formula One car sat on the press stage before the skyline. Hindery, once a 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 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.

“For once New York will be looking at us,” Turner said beneath the shade of the press tent. “There is no doubt that we can handle this. We deal with the Lincoln Tunnel every day. The level of enthusiasm around town is amazing for this event.”

The race is expected to generate millions in revenue for the surrounding communities, drawing around 100,000 fans to the area. Neither local nor state government will subsidize the event’s expenses in any way.

“This is an economic blessing to our town,” Roque stated. “I personally can’t wait to see the look on our children’s faces when the cars go speeding by.”

Gennarose Pope may be reached at gpope@hudsonreporter.com

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