Jay Leno takes on COTA in McLaren 12C sports car (VIDEO)

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With one month to go before the United States Grand Prix, the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas started its countdown yesterday with the help of The Tonight Show host and automotive fanatic, Jay Leno.

Leno, who was visiting COTA to tape segments for his JayLenosGarage.com website, took on COTA’s 3.4-mile circuit in a McLaren 12C sports car, while McLaren F1 test driver Oliver Turvey drove the team’s 2011 Grand Prix challenger, the McLaren MP4-26.

Turvey was on hand to give Leno a tutorial on the two different types of McLaren machines and how their respective performances compare against each other.

Before Leno hit the track on Thursday, he talked with Austin NBC affiliate KXAN about COTA (see the video above), which has already garnered a tremendous reputation during its young history.

“I think this is the equal of anything in Europe or Japan,” Leno told KXAN’s Sally Hernandez. “I mean, it really is done properly – there’s all kinds of space, you can spread out and I think it really makes Austin a world-class [city].

“Not that it wasn’t a world-class city before, but the people from France, from Europe, from Germany will come here with some preconceived notion, and I think they’ll be quite surprised when they get here.”

COTA will host its second United States Grand Prix – the penultimate round of the 2013 Formula One World Championship – on Nov. 17. But before then, F1 gets back to action on Oct. 27 with the Airtel Indian Grand Prix on NBCSN.

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.