CoTA Formula Run: Dramatic Track Revelation!

How can it be said any more enthusiastically…?

WOW !

I was finally able to set foot on the Circuit of The Americas, 3.4 mile, 20 corners, 133 feet of elevation change track today!  I participated, along with around 5000 (!) other runners/race fans from the Austin, Texas area, in CoTA’s first race, albeit human-powered: the Inaugural 2012 Formula Run.

2012 Formula Run Start-Finish banner at CoTA

Yesterday I got up extra early & left my home to travel 90 miles to reach CoTA.  But, upon almost arriving, I was faced with a traffic jam that Elroy, TX has NEVER seen the likes of! It took me about 20 minutes to creep the last 2 miles of my trip down highway FM812, to reach Circuit of The Americas Boulevard. Once onsite, I was able to get my run registration pack (my T-shirt & racing ID #).

2012 Formula Run T-shirt content

An unseasonably rare occurrence of thick early morning fog had slowed everything down.  That was the explanation for the traffic & subsequent starting delay to the 5K run.  Standing among the mass of humanity on the front straight, one could barely see the signature Turn 1, up in the mist… (Click on all theses pix to enlarge; you’ll better enjoy their full scope!)

On the CoTA front straight (can't see Turn 1), at the foggy start of the 2012 Formula Run

CoTA front straight grandstands, shrodded in the foggy mist start of the 2012 Formula Run

I was able to reach a few fellow race fans by phone, at the track, but there were too many people gathered there to actually find them.  I finally did meet up with SAF1C fan James Street.  He was a great walking companion to enjoy exploring the circuit with.  His wife Susan was able to witness me being there with her camera.

Racing Ready Dan at 2012 Formula Run at CoTA, just prior to the start! (Courtesy of Susan Street)

The race started about 8:35am & I never saw such a unified mass movement of humankind – over 5000 people starting a 5K run/walk, making racing history at CoTA.

Mass quantities of humankind (at least 5000) at the start of the 2012 Formula Run at Circuit of The Americas - it was SO foggy!

Mass quantities of humankind (at least 5000) starting the 2012 Formula Run at Circuit of The Americas - it was SO foggy!

After almost 2 years of reading peoples’ impressions, seeing track construction progress picture taken, reviewing the variety of uploaded video snippets & even trying some of the track racing simulations;  none of these were sufficient to prepare me for the actual surreal experience of seeing/feeling the extreme rise,  fall & dramatic flow of the specially prepared CoTA asphalt surface & track direction.  Turn 1 is SUCH a dramatic rise & direction change!  And then, it’s almost 180 degree hairpin transformation has it fall back down the hill to challenge future drivers in a series of curves, switchbacks & chicanes.

At CoTA Turn 1 seeing fellow 2012 Formula Run participants marvel at how the laws of racing physics will be turned!

2012 Formula Run at CoTA, the 5K runners were SO amazed, they had to stop & gawk at the wonder of Turn 1...!

Accelerating downward slope, heading towards CoTA Turn 2, at 2012 Formula Run...

CoTA has 2 sections of turns sections that are not unlike those of Silverstone & Hockenheim.  Actually being there, on the track, was the culmination of all my anticipation.  Words will continue to escape me as to the drama this track provides, even while just strolling on it.

So, I will stop the blathering & show you some of the break-taking CoTA track images I was able to capture, as it emerged from the unexpected fog banks…

2012 Formula Run at CoTA, Turns 7 & 8...

2012 Formula Run at CoTA, looking back from Turn 8 to 7...

2012 Formula Run at CoTA, viewing the apex of Turn 11...

James Street at the apex of CoTA Turn 11, participating in the 2012 Formula Run!

2012 Formula Run at CoTA, Turns 12, 13, 14 & 15 with grandstands all around...

2012 Formula Run at CoTA, looking at Turn 18 from 19, with Turn 1 in the distance...

2012 Formula Run at CoTA, Pit In just before Turn 20...

2012 Formula Run at CoTA, front straight from Turn 20, viewing Pits-Paddock & Main Grandstands...

CoTA starting box start-finish view on the front straight (the Charlie Whiting view, at the 2012 Formula Run)

Racing Ready was SO very pleased to be a part of CoTA’s initial history, this weekend.  All the participants’ comments I overheard were very positive (except for the traffic jam, of course).  I’m sure there were some lessons learned this morning & some traffic movement protocols are being considered for modification & hopeful improvement this coming week.

Dan

 

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