Jay Leno, Ryan Korsgard check out new F1 race track

By Ryan Korsgard - Reporter

AUSTIN, Texas - Next Sunday afternoon, viewers will see Formula 1 racing live from the new Circuit of the Americas race track just outside of Austin.

The race will air on Local 2.

Before the race begins, Jay Leno and KPRC's Ryan Korsgard checked out the track.

The Circuit of the Americas is the only U.S. track built specifically for F1 racing. The track is for racing cars that can travel more than 200 miles per hour.

"No! I'm not going to wreck it! What have you heard?" joked Leno.

This day, the king of late night television got up early to drive a $250,000 McLaren 12-C, just like he has at home.

"It's one of the few cars of this caliber that you can use as an everyday car," Leno said. "And I do. I go to work and I drive."

As Leno got ready, the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes F1 team showed local 2's Ryan Korsgard around their race car, and into the driver's seat of a McLaren.

With all of the protective gear, a little instruction and cameras shooting every angle, Korsgard and Leno took off.

"It's probably the longest complex in the world of high speed corners," said F1 driver Oliver Turvey. "It's a fantastic circuit to drive with the gradient changes, different corners, long straights. Everything!"

Turvey was right. There are big uphills, U-turns and fast straightaways. Korsgard hit about 130 miles an hour.

"When you get in the car, you have to quickly learn that and the track itself. There are lots of ups and downs," Korsgard said.

"Now release the brake! Keep going," Leno ordered.

Leno first took the ride as the passenger. Next, it was Leno's turn behind the wheel.

"Hard brake up here because it's a U-turn," Leno said.

Leno's car is built to hit 207 miles an hour, but he did not go quite that fast.

"Slow up here! Slow up," Leno yelled.

But he quickly found out the faster you go, the more you have to brake on the turns.

Leno said the F1 drive beats his drive to the office any day.

"When you're out there on the track, it doesn't really feel like you're going that fast until you hit a corner and feel those g-forces, and there's not lamp posts flicking by and other cars around you," Leno said.

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