Austin F1 USGP/COTA Site Visit, June ’11, Part 1

This past weekend’s visit to Austin was very fruitful, in an Austin USGP Formula1, COTA (Circuit of The Americas) sort of way.  The events & happenings were distinct in their own right.  I will present in them in 3 parts.  Here is the first installment:

Part 1 – Track site visit, around COTA, afternoon…

Construction of the track moves steadily forward. Exiting Highway 130 onto FM 812, the distant vista of the developing track 2 miles away is impressive.  But driving past the site was a bit disorienting.

Please note, to best enjoy these shots, especially the panoramic views,
click on them to enlarge, then click on the image to see even more details!

COTA vista from near Hwy 130 & FM 812

When I last visited, 7 months ago, the track site was fully covered in Central Texas mesquite & scrub brush.  In it’s place was a great wall of dirt, much of it very much higher than than the original grade.  I took a panoramic shot from the same location back on my November 2010 visit, prior to the COTA track site groundbreaking in December 2010.

Before:

Austin USGP Formula 1 Track Site - Before panorama, from the south, looking north, nortwest!

After:

After panorama shot from June 11. 2011 of COTA site - looking north across FM 812

Although I had no special COTA construction site access, I was able to find a few out-of-the-way locations to snap up some different site progress construction shots.  Like many of you, I have seen quite a few pictures already taken.  But seeing the Circuit of The Americas site in person was very inspiring.

Circuit of The Americas construction site signage - announcing proudly to the world!

Two-dimensional images cannot convey the vast amount of dirt being moved, the surprising amount of land elevation changes – just the whole grand scale of this work is quite a lot to take in & absorb. The COTA site takes advantage of the natural variety of Elroy, Texas topography.

COTA Turn 11 gate - see the little flag in the middle indicating the turn number...

I was able to traverse an unmarked,very rocky back road that revealed turn 11 (that’s the number 11 on the flag in the photo above).  Wow, the viewing area from this location will be awesome.  I’m thinking you can see at least 3/4s of the track from there!

COTA view from near turn 11, looking generally SW, toward the start/finish line...

So you can witness that Karlino & I were there, check out this view!

COTA sweeping overview from near turn 11, with Karlino looking on...

A truck would have been much more appropriate to traverse this rocky country lane.  As it was, I was feathering 1st gear slowly & felt the rocks scrape Karlino‘s belly a few times.  The sacrifices I make… 😉

Country lane west of Elroy Road, just south of Jacobson Road - this is access to the Turn 11 gate..JPG

The construction crew is now working 7 days a week.  With a June 17, 2012 Formula1 USGP event to put on in about a year, they need to be crackin’!

COTA view of parked graders & other construction equipment...

We stopped by the original Wild Bubba’s eatery.  Of course it was closed for the Meet, Greet & Eat event held later that evening.  Here are some views of his establishment.

Welcome Formula 1 sign outside Wild Bubba's Grill!

Wild Bubba's Grill in Elroy, TX - just to the easy of the Circuit of The Americas entrance

Karlino, my trusty Miata steed, enjoying the billboard menu outside Wild Bubba' Grill...

Racing Ready is wanting to get all of South/Central Texas ready for Formula 1 exposure.  I’m surprised that many people I meet have NO clue that Austin will be hosting this event, let alone. the COTA construction project.  I may as well try to make it my mission to inform all that I meet, in person & online!

Tomorrow will be Part 2, the Wild Bubba’s Meet, Greet & Eat social event.  See you then…

Dan

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4 thoughts on “Austin F1 USGP/COTA Site Visit, June ’11, Part 1”

  1. Speed Channel Monaco GP Wrapup suggested the date could be moved due to “Warm Temperatures” & making room for Bahrain. “Warm Temperatures”, what pussies -HAH!

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