Brianne Corn Trailblazes H2R RallyCross Track

I recently shared quality RallyCross track time with Brianne Corn at Harris Hill Road (H2R).  She & H2R manger Philipp Hübner are developing a fun, but definitely challenging course on the H2R Property.  Some of it is planned for outside of their road course track, but the challenging variety of RallyCross driving features are mostly included within the track’s interior.  The area has been mostly left to grow as nature intended it, as you can see below…

Harris Hill Road - note the RallyCross course opportunities!

Brianne’s growing RallyCross experience has led her to carve out a course many will find to be both surprising & focus-driven.  Using one of H2R’r track mules, a Nissan Pathfinder, I was able to experience the initial guise of this wild track course.

H2R Nissan Pathfinder mule-tow vehicle

With the variety of multiple turns & course undulations, & the limited power of their banged up SUV, we may have not been going more than 35MPH.  But with Brianne pushing the limits of the track & SUV, it was a great ride!  We all know Brianne to be a superb competitor, but being so down to earth, she makes you feel extremely comfortable while bouncing through all those truck vehicle suspension crashes.  Check out the almost 2 lap (handheld camera phone) video.  Yes, it’s herky-jerky, but you will be able to really appreciate what Brianne & Philipp are working on.  You will want to experience this RallyCross course for yourself soon!

In discussing this new RallyCross feature for H2R, Bo Rivers stated this will be for H2R members only.  That may be what he says, but I can’t see people keeping away.  They will be wanting to pay for the privilege of traversing a RallyCross track at speed that was strongly influenced by the hand of Brianne Corn.

Regardless, this effort is another chapter in Brianne’s ongoing journey through her life’s racing dream.  Racing Ready heartily endorses her continued visionary efforts!  GO BRIANNE GO!


P.S. – In an effort to be accurate & in the interests of full disclosure, in the video I mis-quoted.  I said that John Buffum brought his Audi Quattro to H2R 8 years ago.  Actually, it was James Bufkin & he brought his Audi Quattro 5 years ago.   Here’s the page link I found that documents this in the days before H2R was paved…

James Bufkin's Audi Quattro doing rally practice at H2R in 2007

Below is a quick video from that rally practice day, for course features comparison:

Austin F1 Race Events Ramping Up, Starting w/ Octoberfest!

Austin Fan Fest 2012 - A Downtown GrandPrix Celebration

If you’ve subscribed to the press releases from Circuit of The Americas (CoTA), you no doubt have learned about the variety of Fan Fest happenings in downtown Austin.  I posted some introductory info here.

Aerosmith, Headline Act of the 2012 Austin Fan Fest Weekend!

Well, there is more… But first we need to talk about what we are dubbing the FIRST “Unofficial” event of the F1 race weekend events, & it starts 1 month prior to the actual race weekend (that’s 2 months from today!).  It’s Wild Bubba’s Octoberfest, his 4th in a series of Meet, Greet & Eat casual get-togethers for area & regional Formula 1 race fans.  Here’s information on 2 of these prior events, W.B.’s M.G.& E.#2 & W.B.’s M.G.& E.#3

Wild Bubba's 2012 Octoberfest poster

Here’s what Wild Bubba (aka, Wyman Gilliam) has to say:

It’s time for another Meet, Greet, & Eat!  This free event is about a mile east of the Circuit of the Americas and is open to everyone.  Expect plenty of grassroots US Grand Prix fans and others who are excited about F1 in Austin!

  • Hosted by Wild Bubba himself and, The Unofficial Austin Grand Prix Social Calendar.
  • Wild Bubba’s Octoberfest will take place at Wild Bubba’s Wild Game Grill about 1 month before the US Grand Prix.
  • Live music and free food in the outdoor “Tilke Biergarten.”
  • This is the fourth “Meet, Greet, and Eat” event, organized and attended by dedicated local F1 fans. Visitors are welcome to join!
  • The restaurant is located less than 1 mile east of the Circuit of the Americas and decorated floor-to-ceiling in Formula 1™ paraphernalia.
  • Extra parking will be available.

For a much broader view of all the important social (& otherwise) race events, here’s a timely social events calendar resource for F1 related activities around Austin – it’s – The Unofficial Grand Prix Social Calendar.

Austin Race Events logo

Here’s what Austin Race Events says:

Wild Bubba’s upcoming Octoberfest will be the equivalent of the F1 Paddock Club “Before Party”!  Yes, it will be 1 month in advance of the actual running of the Austin F1 USGP, but it WILL be THE event for local/regional folk to get amped up about the racing/social event that is Formula 1.  All the local players will be there promoting their part in this event.  You will NOT want to miss this!

To help out, here’s a map (click to enlarge)…

mLocation map of Wild Bubba's, just down the road from CoTA...

Racing Ready is trying to make us all better prepared for this special race weekend…we hope you can attend!


Austin F1 Fan Fest Intro & CoTA Transportation Issues

AUSTIN - Texas Charm, Global Appeal

The evening of the same day I interviewed Ali Putnam at the offices of CoTA, I participated in a City of Austin Small Business Development Program workshop titled: “Preparing for the Formula 1 U.S. Grand Prix”.  This was directed to Austin area small business entrepreneurs to help them better prepare for the coming F1 fans, international & otherwise.  This workshop took place in the City of Austin Council chambers.

City Council Chambers in Austin, Texas

It was an interesting program.  I found a few things we as F1 race fans can look forward to, while we’re not onsite at Circuit of The Americas (CoTA).  Here’s a PDF of the program topics (click to enlarge).

AUSTIN - Serving the Global Community with Local Flavor - Are You Ready?

Here are some of the slides shown during the presentation – I will let their content speak for themselves (as always, click to enlarge)…

Austin Fan Fest 2012 (1) - Map Overview

Austin Fan Fest 2012 (2) - Street & Lot Closures

Austin Fan Fest 2012 (3) - Austin is HOT!

Austin Fan Fest 2012 (4) - Austin Uniqueness!

Austin Fan Fest 2012 (5) - Who Are F1 Fans

Austin Fan Fest 2012 (6) - Be Prepared

Austin Fan Fest 2012 (7) - What VISITORS WIll Expect

Austin Fan Fest 2012 (8) - What YOU Should Expect

Austin Fan Fest 2012 (9) - Tips For Success

Here’s a related article regarding the planned downtown Austin gridlock due to the Formula 1 fan festivities: F1 festivals expected to gridlock Downtown Austin

After the speakers there was an open microphone Q & A session,  I got up in front of the over 100 people in attendance with the following question:

I represent Formula 1 fans through our San Antonio F1 Club (SAF1C).  San Antonio area F1 fans want to know if a third shuttle site will be available in the region south of the Circuit of The Americas.  Many people have been asking me about this topic.  What is being considered & what can we expect?

Two individuals gave 2 different answers, but for now there is only one that I can share with you.  You will have to wait for the next possibly pending answer later…  That first answer was general in nature, essentially saying that a third site is still under consideration, but nothing is for sure, as yet.  Talk about wishy-washy…

Here is latest official information from CoTA, just released today:
Transportation – Park & Ride

CoTA Transporation - Park & Ride Maps

Hmmm, I’m not a fan of being assigned to 1 of the 2 current locations shown… 🙁

But, last weekend, during a visit with Wyman Gilliam (of Wild Bubba’s Wild Game Grill fame), he mentioned an article that recently appeared in the Austin American-Statesman newspaper.  This article mentions that CoTA has purchased 98 acres of land just 2 mile east of their site, to be used as “employee parking”.  Well, that sure smells like it could be considered a prime location for a third shuttle location.  I’d sure like to hope so.  The location is ideal & would allow F1 fans from Elroy, Bastrop, Buda, Kyle, San Marcos, New Braunfels, San Antonio & other points south more convenient parking & shuttle access.  Here’s the article link & a map detailing the 98 acres location!

CoTA Area Investment Properties in Development

I hope we can start this as a rumor that comes to total fruition!  Racing Ready thinks it should…we can only HOPE SO!!!


Brianne Corn 2012 Pikes Peak Video – Worth The Wait!

Super competitive racer, Brianne Corn, released her 2012 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC) video.  Here’s what she had to say about our wait for her epic run video:

I think there were four life flights that day.  One crash caused a 90 minute delay which caused us to run in the rain.  In fact it was our friends that crashed and when we left the line the rumors were flying around the start line as to the extent of their injuries.  I think Jeremy was a little shaken up by the situation.

The weather turned at the last minute and we were told to swap to our rain tires by the race officials.  We were sitting at the line and had no opportunity to scrub them in.  It was a very interesting ride and one of the best times I have had in the drivers seat in a while.

That is until the windshield fogged up.  This was also compounded by the fact that I was experiencing slightly blurred vision from an allergic reaction to something in the air below the tree line.

I hope you like the blending of fan video with our in car stuff. I had to learn how to do some complex (at least to me) audio mixing /editing to put this together. Hope it was worth the wait.

Here it is:

You also need to be informed of this.  Brianne had her car lubricated by AMSOIL Racing Oil.  We are proud to be one her very enthusiastic sponsors.  Even if you aren’t a race car competitor, you too can also take advantage of the benefits of using AMSOIL 100% Synthetic Oil:

  • Make greater performance in the power output of your vehicle
  • Improve your gas mileage with better MPG – a discount at the gas pump
  • Reduce waste oil’s environmental impact on the environment

These are the actual AMSOIL products being used in Brianne Corn's Pikes Peak Subaru STi race car for 2012!

At the end of her video I was pleased at the Racing Ready & AMSOIL mention on the trailing “Thanks to…” credits.  That was a great surprise – thanks Brianne!

Brianne Corn 2012 Pikes Peak Sponsors - AWESOME Racing Ready & AMSOIL mentions!!

Racing Ready is always supportive of the grassroots motorsports racer!
Go Brianne Go!!!


Circuit of The Americas Fans Want to Know – Questions Answered (Some)…

Questions about Circuit of The Americas...

As South/Central Texas Formula 1 fans anticipate the long awaited Austin F1 USGP racing weekend in November, we have many questions.  Two weeks ago I made a special effort to get some answers.  I specifically made an appointment to visit Circuit of The Americas (CoTA) at their downtown Austin office.  I was partially successful, but also found out some additional information I wasn’t expecting.

CoTA track & seating layout overview - As of Summer 2012

I was able get in a short half hour to visit and quickly go through many questions with CoTA Media & Community Relations Manager, Ali Putnam.  She was very hospitable to squeeze me into her busy schedule.  In hindsight, more time and fewer questions would have been better.  But anyway, take a deep breath – this is long.  Here are most of the relevant questions and related answers:

Circuit of The Americas Sales Center entrance tag

Racing Ready- Please review the Tilke-designed track uniqueness & some of what sets it apart from other recently built Formula 1 tracks.

Ali Putnam – The track is purpose-built & reflects similarities to other famous turns from other well-regarded Formula 1 tracks (specific examples are here & here).

RR – Besides the Paddock & main grandstands, what can you tell us about the other support facilities, buildings & capabilities incorporated into CoTA?

AP – There is much more besides the Paddock, Main Grandstands, & Media Center located in the vicinity of the front straight.  But right now the track is the priority, along with large monitor screens, temporary grandstand seating & other support infrastructure.

RR – Since I have not yet been onsite, are the grassy berms a flat angled surface (& at what degree?) or are they somewhat tiered?

AP – They are a straight incline, built to look natural, not tiered.

RR – What is the scope of the technology communication infrastructure, the facility’s local area network (LAN), computer support & site wide communication access (i.e.- out to Turn 11)?

AP – It’s more than just the Paddock and surrounding buildings, but the entire property is “wired”, especially for the multiple large video screens that will be placed strategically at key fan locations…

RR – Will there be a third shuttle facility (as originally announced & later rescinded)?  I’m finding this need to be VERY important to people coming from the San Antonio area & other points south!

AP – Once it is confirmed, but we are still working with the city/county on the best options…  Yes, this is on the top of everyone’s mind.  We have a good, experienced team working on this.

RR – There is still a lot of shuttle, taxi, limo & other transportation confusion.  Will this be addressed in a more clear format & soon?

AP – The best source, is now & will be ATX Grand Prix.  The staff has a variety of Superbowl, World Cup, Olympics & other large sporting events past experience.  This part of the team meets frequently & they will make it work.

RR – What will grandstand seat holders & general admission pass holders be able to bring with them onto the shuttles & then the CoTA property?  What about items such as: chairs (large folding) or stadium seats for the bleachers, coolers like at other racing venues (size please), backpacks, etc.  This has been a hot topic among fans!

AP – We are working through that list now.  Nothing outrageous, but similar to other like events.  Our Operations & Security Teams are reviewing the options.  This information will be on the CoTA website when ready.

RR – Besides food/drink concessions (& what menu items are planned to be available?), what other items (souvenirs, etc.) will be available for purchase?

AP – The menu(s) are not yet set, but you can expect a food/drink selection not unlike that at UT (University of Texas) events.

RR – Will all the food concessions be administered by Sodexo, or will there also be some variety with specific local vendors available?

AP – These folks are the right people for this job.  They will be working the in-suite hospitality & will manage the local vendors that will be participating.  There will be some familiar “chain” type of eateries, but there will also be an emphasis on the local flavor/the local feel that’s specific to Texas, for a good fan experience.

RR – I see the Exxon Station is finally being remodeled!  Do you know of any plans for the properties along the CoTA property edge on Piland Triangle?

AP – No, those are being dealt with by independent third parties.

RR – Besides race day (November 18, 2012), what will the local road restrictions be (e.g., on Hwy 812, Elroy Road, etc.)?

AP – That will be posted in the future on the web prior to the event date – again, see: ATX Grand Prix.

RR – The front straight has GREAT night lighting installed.  Since the circuit gates will be closing at 7pm, will there in fact be no night activities on the CoTA property?

AP – No night activities will be held at the track for the fans.  Emphasis will be on an organized fan festival in downtown Austin.

RR – What if an RV owner (onsite) wants to have a group of friends over.  How will that access be addressed & coordinated?

AP – RV spot users will have a set number of extra “friend” tickets (about 6 to 8) – they may be able to purchase more.  This is not meant for an impromptu party (tailgate-style) with friends.  It would be a security issue.

RR – I just read the newest take on selling grandstand 3-day seat passes without PSLs (personal seat licenses).  Can you tell more information about that strategy & possibly others planned?

AP –  PSLs are not meant to be sold out during the 1st year.  This offer was decided to be a win-win opportunity for both fans & CoTA, during this inaugural event.

RR – The physical tickets will start being mailed out in October.  Besides the physical ticket, will there be a ticket holder & lanyard included?  What else might we expect in our inaugural ticket “welcome package”?

AP – Ticket holders will receive location-based details & information about their specific entry, seating (& parking if appropriate). [Holder & lanyard question was not addressed. 🙁 ]

RR – Will there be a meet & greet type autograph session with the drivers?  If so, when, where, & what will be the logistics issues…

AP – No details, yet, but we definitely hope to have one.  This is important to the American motorsports fan & Formula 1 seems to recognize that.

RR – When will there be available a final, full weekend events schedule (including the F1 Vintage Race)?  [I saw a recent mention of a Porsche Cup GT3 support race being planned for the race weekend…]

AP – Not a specific date set for that race, yet.  Therefore, a final race weekend calendar is not yet available…

RR – Will the Amphitheater Tower be completed, & if so, what access plans will be available for viewing?

AP – The Tower & surrounding Amphitheater grounds are not likely to be completed for the Formula 1 race weekend.  The actual finish out date is not until sometime in 2013.

RR – Any sort of F1 promo tie-in at the Formula Run event that takes place on November 3rd, 2012?

AP – The Formula Run is for the community, a sort of Open House event.  It will also be a trial run for other such future events.

RR – Looking forward after F1, since CoTA plans to busy for most of the year, what information can you provide about other, non-racing activities planned daily throughout the coming months & year?

AP – We are planning many good concerts, about 15 music events will be planned throughout the first year.  Other events will be announced when confirmed.

RR – To support this relatively constant activity, what kind & number of full-time staff will you be requiring?

AP – Full-time staff will number between 250 to 300.  That will be divided between office staff at this downtown location & onsite at the track facilities.  Part-time/volunteer staff will be made available as appropriate…

RR – Have there been any inroads made for the planned driving/motorcycle academies, as yet?  Will there be some sort karting included?  [After Bob Bondurant’s August 9th visit to CoTA in one of his driving school Corvettes, he leaked that there may be plans to have a Bondurant School onsite…  Oh boy – we will see!]

AP – With academies, there are LOTS of opportunities there, but right now we are working primarily on the success of the Formula 1 race weekend, now.

RR – Is it the case that there will be an automobile manufacturer onsite to use CoTA for part of its R&D?  If so, have negotiations started for that?

AP – No update as yet – again, great opportunities there…

RR – Besides CoTA title signage at the circuit entrances, what plans are there to place signage off-site to let people know that CoTA is way out in Elroy (possibly as far as IH-35)?

AP – Advertising will ramp up as the event gets closer, but there will still be those people who will have no clue as to what all these people are doing between Elroy & downtown Austin.  There is a good marketing team focused on that.

RR – What promotional works will you have in place at the Austin airport?

AP – Special signage/display is planned for the ABIA (Austin Bergstrum Int’l Airport).  The team is working closely with them.  Every department in the City & County is working on something related to this event, even the City Library.  It is interesting to watch.  Putting this all together is making an already cohesive city government to work further together.

RR [Here are some additional, specific questions from San Antonio F1 Club members:] What about the people who are popping up making parking, tent sites & RV facilities available around Elroy?  Can we be trusting sites that are owned by locals to have approved transportation provided to the track since CoTA is not allowing walking to the track?  If that is so, can you provide a list of those sites?

AP – You will have to ask those third party entities – CoTA is not at all affiliated with any of these sites.

RR – In addition to a plea about a 3rd shuttle location to the south, a fan asks: What about those garages from the county that were just announced?  Are they going to have approved shuttles, too?

AP – Not sure about this announcement, this may be possibly one of the many options being considered.  Again, check: ATX Grand Prix.

ATX Grand Prix logo

Again, this was a very quick Q/A session with Ms Putnam.  I really appreciative of her welcoming me to the CoTA offices. I plan to return to their offices (or better yet – get an onsite visit at CoTA), in the next month or so to obtain more information we want to know.

Later that same evening, I participated in a workshop put on by the City of Austin Small Business Development Program titled: “Preparing for the Formula 1 U.S. Grand Prix”.   I will post the detailed, specific announcements, & pix I took, in the next post here – stay tuned…  Racing Ready is striving to find out more & share it with you.  Thank you for your patience & support!