Coulthard & Red Bull Racing Burn Up Austin City Streets

Red Bull Racing brought their Formula 1 Show Car to downtown Austin.  This was to be a non-public, non-published event.   Bottom line, Red Bull had let the ponies out of the barn, too soon.  It wasn’t supposed to be a event known to the general public.  The ever ready Austin Formula 1 race fan community, with their fingers on the pulse of anything Austin USGP-related, found out about it & it spread like wildfire.

Red Bull logo on their promotional Formula 1 Racing Show Car, driven by David Coulthard - Photo by Jon Etkins

I had hoped to get there & witness the action in person, but no, I was snookered into thinking it wasn’t going to happen, that it had been canceled.  I now realize I was not diligent enough in reading the various last minute posts on Facebook, et al, to figure out that it was again a go.  Apparently, something at the city level were approved late last Friday night…

David Coulthard launches his Red Bull Formula 1 Race Car in the city streets of Austin, Texas - Photo by Deborah Cannon, American-Statesman

Therefore, this report is really a recapping of the works of others’ eyewitness accounts of individuals I know & did meet with later in the day.  This was at the Austin Formula 1 Club (AF1C) Meet & Greet After Party at Doc’s Motorworks, in South Austin.  I briefly met with Charlie Robinson, head coordinator of the AF1C & others of the club.

AF1C - Austin Formula 1 Club logo

Also present were the folks from The Austin Grand Prix group.  I already knew of this website & was formally introduced to Kevin Olsen, on of the group’s co-founders.  He acknowledged how we are all working toward the same goal here, to support increased fan awareness of the Austin Formula 1 USGP, staring next year at Circuit of The Americas (COTA).  These are the T-shirts with their logos they offer for sale on the web.

COME AND RACE IT - T-shirt Design by The Austin Grand Prix

It all started very early Saturday morning.  The ever vigilant, Sondra Sondregger, shot out a great event prep teaser  candid shot via Facebook – this was at 6:54AM!

The Red Bull Racing Show Car crew, getting organized early Saturday morning, 20-AUG-2011 - Photo by Sondra Sondregger

Later in the morning, as I finally made my way Austin bound, I received more updates.  I was disheartened that the event (that was supposedly canceled) pretty much came to pass  with former Formula 1 driver David Coulthard (DC) doing a few city block “laps” and ending his performance with a truly earsplitting, tire chunk spitting series of donuts.

David Coulthard doing expensive donuts in the Red Bull Racing Formula 1 Show Car - Photo taken by John Etkins

Here’s one of many videos circulating the Internet.  I chose this one by Sondra as it’s the most assertively loud one I found…turn up your speakers!

The Red Bull Racing Show Car is a 2005 RB1 chassis with the Cosworth V10 and the 2009 aero package – thanks Jon!  BTW, Jon Etkins put together 2 very thorough galleries of quality stills pix of the following Red Bull Racing promo events in Austin:

DC had wondered about & later picked up on the fact the the Hook ‘Em Horns hand signal was a good thing!

David Coulthard, Red Bull Racing Show Car driver, showing the crowd he can Hook 'Em Horns with the best of them!

Enough people found out about this event to make a good showing.  There were easily more than a hundred people there.  David Coulthard was sufficiently impressed by the spirit & enthusiasm of the fans that showed up & cheered.  Here are DC’s thoughts in a nicely prepared video posted by the COTA.

Apparently a day prior, David was given a good tour of COTA by Tavo Hellmund (managing partner of race promoter Full Throttle Productions), as this picture at the pinnacle of the developing track at turn 1 attests.

Tavo Hellmund describing the future COTA track layout to David Coulthard, at the peak of turn 1.

One of the eyewitnesses, Jon Etkins, heard DC say that he wasn’t able to get out of 2nd gear – with only 2 city blocks, or so.  Well, somewhere in the vicinity of FM 812, near Speedcity (Elroy), TX, David Coulthard was able to release the furry of that ferocious V10 Formula 1 racing engine.  Check out this video, posted on Facebook by Jack! (Sorry, you’ll have to login to Facebook to see it…)

Screamin' Red Bull V10 Formula 1 race car, piloted at terminal velocity by David Coulthard

WOW!!!  Hope you had your ear plugs handy…

I’m glad I didn’t post this collection of Austin Red Bull Racing events earlier.  Here’s some unbelievable still pix of the future Red Bull video promo.  I just came across these…

David Coulthard, arriving at the Circuit of The Americas, in the Red Bull Racing Formula 1 Show Car!

Going up the hill to turn 1 – that looks steeper than I remember it!

The 1st Formula 1 car, the Red Bull Racing Show Car, at speed on the yet to be paved track surface at the Circuit of The Americas!

Here’ some of the on-track (still dry Texas clay) video filmed at COTA, on a hot Sunday, August 21st, 2011!

Well, I’m impressed by what I saw (virtually) & talked about with a variety of eyewitnesses.  Racing Ready is really rarin’ to go about all of this!


It’s Like A Car Museum You Can Buy From!

Classic Cars to Drool Over & Actually Buy

A&E Classic Cars logo

I was able to travel back in time, in an automotive history sort of way.  It was an emotional experience.  On I-35, just south of New Braunfels, TX, is this large warehouse type of building, with big plate glass windows in front.  They are A&E Classic Cars.  This business teases as to its potential with only 6 cars being shown off outside, in front.

1970 Plymouth Roadrunner - Displayed outside of A&E Classic Cars

By the way, please do yourself a favor & click on these images to to get a more life-like, bigger view.  It’s still not the same as being there…but it IS better!

1970 Plymouth Roadrunner - Here's the information & price, at A&E Classic Cars

With these cars as an appetizer, they simply aren’t enough to prepare you for what pleasure awaits instead.  Going through the open front double doors, you are greeted with this…

A&E Classic Cars Showroom - this is a grand entrance that will stop you in your tracks!

WOW!  A few steps in I was physically moved to just stop,  stare & gape.  I was  surrounded by car car history.  I felt like a kid in a candy store.  It was like being in a museum where you chose all the dream cars of your youth.  They were there on display, & this was all with NO admission fee!

Awesome Custom Rods at A&E Classic Cars

To make it SO much better, with only a couple of exceptions (unlike a museum),  you can walk up to the cars, stick your head inside & really appreciate the history  right within your reach!

I made a comment to to one of the their staff, James, that I was wondering if they provided handkerchiefs to wipe up all the drool.  He stated that my response was very common.  🙂

A&R Classic Cars - the Owner's Customs (note the modern headlights...)

These pictures that I took cannot do justice to the surreal experience of being there to soak it all in.

Street Rod vs. Muscle Cars, all very desireable at A&E Classic Cars!

There are 70’s era Muscle Cars & different kinds of pickup trucks – all shiny!

At the other end of the age scale are wonderful representations of American craftsmanship, such as this 1927 Buick Master Coupe.  This car was stripped down to its barest components, put on a rotisserie & completely rebuilt, or better yet, remanufactured.  It was so awesome that I gawked at it, into it & crawled around under it.  Check the pix!

1927 Buick - this is a brand new, old classic for sale at A&E Classic Cars!

1927 Buick - ready for your purchase, at A&E Classic Cars

1927 Buick - spotless, like new interior, at A&E Classic Cars

1927 Buick - like factory new, engine oil pan & front suspension linkage detail, at A&E Classic Cars

1927 Buick - pristine undercarriage, front-right wheel suspension detail, at A&E Classic Cars

Sadly, all good experiences must end.  Here’s the view as you head back out front, into the South Texas sunshine & heat…

A&E Classic Cars - exiting back outside to the front...

Racing Ready is visiting Austin & the environs of the Circuit of The Americas, on a regular basis.  Stopping by A&E Classics every once in awhile to see what’s new will now be an occasional part of the trip.  If you can’t make it in person, go to the A&E Classic Cars website.  They provide very interesting descriptions & the car’s histories, along with a great variety of quality pictures.


Austin F1 USGP Race Date Confirmed by Ecclestone

Circuit of The Americas (checkered banner)

Okay Formula 1 fans of the Austin USGP, here’s a confirming announcement we’ve all been waiting for, directly from Bernie Ecclestone:

August 10, 2011

Ecclestone Statement Confirms United States Grand Prix™ in November
U.S. Race Date Among Numerous Schedule Adjustments

AUSTIN, Texas – August 10, 2011 – Formula One’s Bernie Ecclestone was quoted today in the media confirming earlier reports of a revised 2012 F1 schedule, placing the United States Grand Prix on November 18, 2012. The schedule, which contains numerous adjustments from the calendar issued in June by the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile, is not considered official until the World Motor Sports Council ratifies it at its meeting later this year.

[There’s more…]

Complete details of this press release can be seen here.

Of course, Racing Ready is pleased with this race date move confirmation to November 18th, 2012, the weekend just before Thanksgiving.  More here, as things develop at the Circuit of The Americas.

Formula 1 KHP Consultant Learns Austin’s Influence

A few weeks ago, I received an interesting request to be interviewed regarding my thoughts on Formula 1 in Texas.  This contact came via LinkedIn from KHP Consultant to Formula 1, Michael Cox.

Michael Cox - KHP Consultant

He asked:

“I see that you’re a fellow F1 enthusiast.  I’ve scheduled a trip to Texas in August to meet with F1 stakeholders. Schedule permitting, I would like to meet and gather your thoughts on what’s needed to make F1 a success in Texas.”

So I checked out his profile:

Business Development at KHP Consulting
Motorsport Consultant:
Business Development, Sponsorship, Hospitality, Events, PR
Location: London, United Kingdom

Here’s the introduction to the company Michael works for:

KHP is an international marketing and communications agency.  Since 1984 KHP has been operating mostly in Formula One™ and other motor sports, and more recently in the America’s Cup and Commonwealth Games.  KHP has been an integral force behind the development of Formula One™ from a purist motorsport activity to the lifestyle sport it is today.

Since then, we coordinated & met. Michael had a very interesting & challenging road to get to his position at KHP.  He is very busy traveling across Europe, & will be working between London & Abu Dhabi for the next few months – all business.  Michael has been with KHP for a little over a year, is working hard & enjoying the experience.  To mix it up for his trip back here stateside, he flew into Indianapolis &  then drove his recent model BMW 3-series Coupe down to Austin, TX.  I guess living in Europe makes you want to stretch your road trip travel legs.

To make Michael’s visit more successful,  I hooked him up with other influential Austin-area Formula 1 movers & shakers in the Austin Formula 1 fan community.  We met this past Saturday at Harris Hill Road, while Sondra Sondregger was facilitating another successful Velocity Adventures HPDE (high performance driver education) event.

Michael Cox & Sondra Sondregger at the H2R paddock

 We were able to review the variety of cars participating & vicariously share the experience with the drivers’ enthusiastic comments.

Velocity Adventures HPDE H2R course tracking of curves - fun & educational!

Michael also was able to spent some quality time discussing the challenges of running a motorsports facility, like Harris Hill Road, with Philipp, the H2R General Manager.  Afterwords, I showed Michael around the H2R facility & here we are in the Clubhouse.

Michael Cox & Racing Ready Dan in the H2R Clubhouse

Michael has already completed his visit to the Austin region to better learn how the Formula 1 USGP will be a great influence here in Texas.  In addition, he was able to watch the Hungarian GP at the Austin F1 watch party that took place at Cool River Cafe.  Unfortunately, I could not make it as I had other commitments.

Here’s Michael’s impression of that event in a text he sent me:

 Had a great time.  That’s quite the venue.  This city is definitely excited for F1, great to see!

Racing Ready is continues to assist to advance the Austin F1 USGP racing community.  Michael, thanks for your visit – we look forward to your next rendezvous!