Andre Lotterer gives the GG interview experience the thumbs up. Well, actually that's the international high-sign for pending victory, but one of these days....
First impressions of Circuit of the Americas
“It’s one of the best modern circuits made. Of course it has a lot of safety aspects, but it’s still a very challenging technical course. It has a lot of fast sections, but especially the first part of Sector 3 is really technical, with four first-gear corners. Sector 1 will suit the Audi better compared to our competitors. We tend to be faster in the high speed corners. I like a little bit of flow in corners. It’s a little bit done with a ruler [here]. That’s the only thing. I like a road course. But this is not a road course, it’s a permanent circuit built to F1 standards. But for a sports car driver we’d definitely want it a little more fluid. But it’s a fantastic infrastructure, and like I said, if not the best then one of the best modern circuits made. Modern circuits have to take the safety aspect into consideration as well, and in terms of the curbs and other things I think they’ve done a mega job. It’s a challenge to drive here.”
A good addition to the WEC then?
“Certainly. I hope [the WEC] is going to stay here. From last year the alternative was Sebring, where you have some of the extreme old-school factors at work, instead of going to a brand new modern circuit. There couldn’t be a bigger contrast. But having said that, I love Sebring too.”
Will the R18 e-tron quattro be a good car for this race?
“It’s good. We expect it to be hot and of course it’s always a challenge to the car’s systems to keep high performance under the extreme heat you have here. As you understand, these cars are designed and built to perform very well at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. There you normally don’t get temperatures into the mid-30 degrees [°C.].”
“It’s a great track. We had to get used to it in the beginning. But luckily we had a test day on Thursday, which was a day when we could put some good laps in, because it would have been tough with just yesterday’s practice with all the rain on the track to still be up to speed when it was dry. It’s a very interesting circuit; 20 corners. Most of the corners are quite nice, like the high-speed section, in the beginning and a couple of things in the end. The slow-speed stuff is quite tough for us because our cars are quite big. To rotate them takes some time so you have to be really accurate. It’s technical and a bit too small for us in those areas, but the rest makes up for it. It’s nice to go on a good lap here; enjoyable and physical.”
Any particular favorite part?
“Yeah, for sure, after Turn 1 that whole high-speed section down to Turn 9 is good.”
You posted the best practice time during the final session. Is there still more speed in the Audi?
“I think we’re going to break the [1:]48s. Maybe mid 47s, sporting good tires?”
Given the different dynamics of the track, do you expect a tight contest with Toyota Racing? “I’m not sure if it’s going to be tight with Toyota in true performance, it could though be in terms of race strategy. But at the moment we have the edge on them, and I think the fight will be more inside the house, between the sister cars.”
“I’d only ever heard good things from all the drivers and motorcycle riders who have raced here, their teams as well, and after 10 laps on the circuit you can understand why. The track itself….it’s a real track. It’s tough. It’s got bits of everything in it. It’s got high-speed, it’s got low-speed, it’s got chicanes, it’s got big straights. It’s got a lot of technical aspects to it that you don’t really necessarily see until you’re on track, and from that point of view I think it’s a pretty good test of both man and machine.”
Any concerns about having lost set up time due to the rain on Friday?
“Our team’s pretty advanced at making sure we’re going to get to the mark of where we need to be. So I’m not too concerned about how we run the race tomorrow.”
Does victory lie ahead?
“I think so! The e-tron quattro, for sure it’s quite a long and a big car, and it’s not as agile in 40-50 mph corners. It was designed to be doing 180-mph corners. So our strength is in Sector 1. You dive down out of Turn 1, and just right through them 2, 3, 4, 5, 6…all the way down to 7 and 8. Ultimately, to be a good driver, I think you need to be a good driver on every type of surface, every type of corner, wet conditions, dry conditions; and same for a good car, it has to be able to adapt. It can’t just be good in one small area, it has to be good in a multitude of areas. And so, on that side of things, the winner this weekend will have done that and deserve it. I think we’ve got a very, very good chance of that.”