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Vettel tests New Jersey track

2012-06-12 13:31

WEEHAWKEN, New Jersey - Defending Formula 1 champion Sebastian Vettel has driven a 5km course in Weehawken and West New York to demonstrate the planned route for the 2013 Grand Prix of America.

Circuit organisers say the roads weren't properly surfaced yet for Vettel to drive a F1 car capable of 300km/h. The Red Bull ace opted for a Infiniti IPL G Coupe.

The winding circuit passes along the waterfront in front of the Port Imperial ferry terminal before going uphill and looping back down.

10 YEARS OF JERSEY RACE F1?

Vettel said: "It's a pretty steep uphill and there are some nice corners up there, which makes it really fun to drive. It's unique. And this, is unreal."

F1 racing will return to the US in 2012 after a five-year absence with a race in Austin, Texas. Indianapolis last hosted a race in 2007 and Phoenix hosted three GP's (1989-91) while Watkins Glen in New York hosted races from 1961 to 1980.

The GP of America is expected to be held in New Jersey for 10 years, with organisers expecting 100 000 people to attend all or part of the three-day annual event.

Construction has started on a welcome centre across from the ferry terminal though the race has yet to receive official confirmation that it has been added to the F1 schedule for June 2013.

'THIS RACE IS GOING FORWARD!'

Leo Hindery, a founding chairman and former CEO of the YES Network who is promoting the race, scoffed at critics and said he expected to get official confirmation later in June 2012.

Hindery said: "I don't know where these rumours are coming from, but this race is going forward. If we had any doubt we wouldn't have brought Sebastian and all these people here today."

Vettel sounded eager to tackle the course, which will be resurfaced to conform to F1 standards. He said he envisioned possibly going faster than 300km/h on some stretches.

Vettel said: "Certainly the up and down aspect, with the elevation, that's something the drivers always enjoy. And you still have bumps built in even if you resurface. That gives a little soul to the course."

AP