F1 2012 – Circuit of the Americas Track Guide
- Updated: 23rd Jul, 2012
In November 2012, the Formula 1 World Championship reaches Austin, Texas for 56 laps around its brand new 5.15km Circuit of the Americas. The event organisers are in a race of their own just to get the track finished in time as they are building it from scratch.
At this year’s E3 Expo, Codemasters were showing off a finished version of the circuit as well as giving people the opportunity to drive around the track as Lewis Hamilton in his McLaren MP4-27 F1 car.
Paul Jeal, Game Director at Codemasters Studios gave me guided tour of the track. The corners or turns are numbered 1 to 21 on the circuit map below, in an anti-clockwise fashion from the start/finish line. You’ll see the corner numbers inside square brackets within Paul’s comments for reference.
The in-game screenshots below are taken from InsideSimRacing‘s 3-lap video of the track.
What do you think of the new circuit?
Paul Jeal: My gut instinct from first driving the track is that it’s a good mix of fast flowing corners, long straights and tight hairpins. It also seems to have taken some key bits from other F1 circuits.
How close is this F1 2012 Circuit of the Americas to the one being built in real-life?
PJ: We spend about a man year doing a track. We are pretty confident we have got it right. Based on how well we’ve done Korea and India in the past games, it gives a bit of creative freedom especially when you are looking at placement of grandstands and key buildings in the distance and where the screens and things might be. The circuit layout is 100% authentic but there might be a bit of creative licence around the track. In fact, I think that Korea looked better in F1 2010 than it did in real life.
Ok Paul, take us around a lap of the track.
PJ: This section [start line up to 1 and 2] is very similar to Eau Rouge at Spa Francorchamps in terms of the elevation changes in the first sector.
This first section of the track looks quite technical with some really fast corners in the middle section.
PJ: Absolutely. It’s very similar to Silverstone [Maggotts and Becketts] of what used to be the opening section. If you go slightly off line [4, 5 and 6] then you are going all over the place.
PJ: Coming down to this bit  reminds of Abu Dhabi Yas Marina Circuit with the straight, hairpin and then a huge back straight where the Drag Reduction System (DRS) zone is going to be in the race.
It’s quite easy to go off there.
PJ: Yes. Clipping all the apexes is really difficult. On this straight [between 11 and 12] there will be plenty of overtakes in the race for sure like in the various races we’ve had at the studio. Heavy breaking down into another tight corner .
PJ: All of the next section again, reminds me quite a lot of Abu Dhabi in terms of the double apexes that are coming up here [13 and 14]. It’s tricky to pick your line going through here.
PJ: This corner  is also tricky because you have to come out wide before coming back in. It took me a little while to learn that one.
PJ: This bit [16, 17 and 18] is very similar to Turkey turn 8 [Istanbul Park]. It’s actually flat out when you get the racing line right. You can imagine during the race as your tyres start to wear away that’s not going to be the case!
PJ: There’s couple of fast corners to end the lap [19 and 20]. This last one  onto the start/finish straight I find particularly tricky just to hit the apex and get the power down.
Thanks Paul for guiding us around a lap of the Circuit of the Americas.
Look out for my upcoming interview with Paul Jeal in which he reveals what’s new and improved in F1 2012 and when you are going to see F1 grid girls in the game.