All posts by Dan

This site/blog inspires fulfillment of the desire & vision of the wannabe auto racer to become a successful racing competitor. That's me, too!

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

 

SPEED at Wild Bubba’s & CoTA Racing Baptism

This weekend Racing Ready went to the environs of Circuit of The Americas (CoTA) to celebrate 1 month away from the inaugural Formula 1 race weekend in the United States. We came back with more surprises than anticipated!

AMSOIL display at Wild Bubba's Octoberfest 2012

I participated as an AMSOIL vendor with my friend Wyman Gilliam at Wild Bubba’s Wild Game Grill – Octoberfest 2012.  He hosted his fourth successful Meet, Greet & Eat get-together of grassroots F1 Austin region race fans.

Tilke Garden @ Wild Bubba's Wild Game Grill - 2012 Octoberfest

This Octoberfest was so successful, in fact, that Bob Varsha Of SPEED came by to visit!  It was great to be able to visit & converse with him.

Bob Varsha, of SPEED, meeting Wild Bubba at his Wild Game Grill - Octoberfest 2012!

Wild Bubba welcoming Bob Varsha of SPEED to WB's Wild Game Grill - Octoberfest 2012!

Bob Varsha of SPEED conversing with Racing Ready Dan, at Wild Bubba's Octoberfest 2012

Also in attendance were Jason Anderson, manager of F1Nightly.con, along with the popular F1Nightly.com Girls.  Many people were posing with them for photo ops all night long…

Jason Anderson, Manager of F1Nightly.com & the F1Nightly.com Girls, at Wild Bubba's Octoberfest 2012!

Wild Bubba with the F1Nightly.com Girls at his 2012 Octoberfest!

After some overnight Facebook jockeying, early Sunday morning dawned with dedicated Formula 1 race showing up at the Haywood property (just NE of CoTA, near Turn 11).  This was coordinated & published by Friends of Formula 1 Austin Texas.  Here’s that post:

I just spoke to Mr. Haywood. He is allowing us to view tomorrow’s event from his hillside for $10 a person. Opens at 8:30 am.  Cash only.  Entrance near Elroy Road and Jacobson Road.  Who’s going?
For those of you not familiar with Elroy, Texas geography, here’s the location of the Haywood Place, in relation to CoTA:

Location of Haywood's Place, by CoTA's Turn 11

We were there to witness the racing baptism of CoTA with none other than Mario Andretti driving the first racing speed laps ‘in anger‘, in a 2010 Renault R30 race car!  Here’s a video snippet.  I was amazed at how wonderful that shrill exhaust screaming sounded & how far it carried – turn it up!

All of us 10 plus witnesses were in pure aural ecstasy.  This was my first time hearing that SO unique sound.  I now know that hearing the racing broadcasts on TV is not at all a substitute for the real thing, live & in person.  We were all relishing the thought of how this is going to sound with all 24 race cars at speed in 4 weeks – WOW!

Marion Andretti approaching CoTA Turn 10 at speed in 2010 Renault R30 F1 race car - 1 month before inaugural Austin F1 USGP!

Racing Ready is humbled by this live, joyful F1 racing initiation & very glad to share it with you!!!

Dan

P.S. – In the interests of due diligence & correct reporting, we later found out that Mario Andretti wasn’t driving, but it was current Lotus Team test driver Jerome D’Ambrosio driving those first 5 CoTA baptism laps that got us all excited.  There was an indication that the engine was not performing properly, so they stopped the R30 laps.  We still thought it was a beyond this world experience!!!

P.S.S – Yup, I posed, too!  Who could resist…

Racing Ready Dan with F1Nightly.com Girls!

F1Nightly.com Campgrounds: Austin F1 Camping, Parking, Convenience & More!

F1Nightly.com shield logo

As a Formula 1 race fan, if you’re like me, you have already purchased your tickets to the upcoming Austin F1 USGP (& anxiously awaiting their arrival).  It’s less than 5 weeks away!!!  You might have even considered buying one of the Circuit of The Americas‘ (CoTA) reserved parking lot passes, to avoid the included (with your CoTA tickets) no charge shuttle & associated parking hassle.

CoTA Ground Transporation - the 2 free Park & Ride locations...

But… you still are wondering & haven’t made plans to stay somewhere during race weekend evenings.  Rooms are getting harder to find, anywhere reasonably near the track.  Here’s an article that just came out yesterday: F1 is Filling Rooms Way Outside Austin.  If you, like me, cannot justify $400+/per night hotel stays & are not averse to camping (or have an RV/Camper to use), then I have a great solution!  F1Nightly.com Campgrounds!

F1Nightly.com banner

I was pleased to meet & interview Jason Anderson, manager of F1Nightly.com last week.  For those of us wanting convenient & fairly priced camping, camping parking & shuttle transfers to CoTA, THIS is the ticket!

The F1Nightly.com Campgrounds promotional vehicle, in front of Wild Bubba's Wild Game Grill

I have been following this camping site (& more) for some time now.  I felt it necessary to ask Jason some questions, to clarify details & share the them with you.  I was sure others who have already visited the F1Nightly.com site had similar questions.

We sat down over lunch at Wild Bubba’s Wild Game Grill.  Jason & I talked about his vision for F1Nightly.com & what he is offering his clients.  Overall, he felt that this is one event, like no other, that he’s found clients having to do SO much research & logistics coordination to make it all work.  So, for those of us that want to park, camp &/or utilize an RV near CoTA, & get onsite at the track, he’s made the solution(s) much easier.  I will go into more details shortly.

A direct quote from the F1Nightly.com website sums it up nicely:

You’ve got F1 Austin tickets to the Formula One™ USGP.  Now how are you getting in with your F1 Austin Tickets?  You need a place to park for F1 Austin, camping at US GP Austin, maybe an RV site near the Circuit of The Americas.  You know what it’s going to be like – hours and hours of hassles trying move 100K+ people around by bus!  One word, WOW!  Really, you don’t have to put yourself through it.

Explore the properties operated by F1Nightly.com listed on the left side of this page (of their website) and select the products that fit your needs.  For more information, read each property and product description carefully before making your final selection or call anytime 512-217-2706.  Campgrounds are open during the events only.  We look forward to serving your camping needs!

Essentially, F1Nighly.com offers 4 products that you can mix & match, as needed for your situation (RV specifics are a bit different…):

  • Grand Prix Camping – $39/per person, per night
  • RV sites – $800 to $1000, depending on rig size, up to 60′ & Big Rig friendly
    (RV services extra)
  • Grand Prix Camping Parking Permit – $35/per night
  • F1Nightly.com VIP Wristband – $60/per day for Transfers directly to Circuit of The Americas™ • ABIA airport transfers • Hot Breakfast • Firewood

F1Nightly.com Campgrounds product selection

Here are more specific details regarding this camping/RV site which offers the following to ALL camping guests:

  • Camping parking, camping, hot showers, & clean flushing toilets
  • Compact RV Sites typically 30×24
  • Large RV & Big Rig Sites, up to 60′ in length
  • 40×40 covered pavilion with BBQ and fire pits
  • Live entertainment night planned for the weekend
    (a Keg Party night & a Fajita Dinner w/Mariachi & horses!)
  • Water ($50) & Pump’n Dump ($65) Services for RVs available
  • Convenience store & ATM just a mile away

I asked for more information about the hot showers & flushing toilets units.  The showers building is currently under construction onsite.  For the “facilities”, these are the nice, free-standing units from AustinOutHouse.com that will be used.  Here are interior & exterior shots to review:

AOH restroom trailer exterior & interior

The VIP Wristband is great!  It will provide you transfer transportation from the camping/RV sites, directly to the most convenient (in my opinion) CoTA parking lot – Lot P (see map below).  This will provide an added convenience, as you will be able to leave personal belongings on the bus.  The driver will be there on standby all the time.  These motorcoaches will be scheduled to leave the F1Nightly.com sites at 8:30am, stay at CoTA all day, & depart to the camping/RV sites at 4:30pm.

CoTA onsite parking lots - note blue arrow pointing to Lot P

Speaking of maps, F1Nightly.com Campgrounds is only about 1.25 miles east of CoTA, just off of Highway FM 812, past Peterson Road.  See mapped details below (click to enlarge):

F1Nightly.com Campgrounds - Google Maps, Satellite & Map views

If all this is a solution you want to consider, if you have reviewed the F1Nightly.com website, & want more information or assistance, go ahead…  Call #512-217-2706 or e-mail them at: info@f1nightly.com.  Jason & his staff will be happy to oblige.  He continues to book more individuals & groups daily: Don’t wait any longer!

Racing Ready will be there – Happy Camping & GO RACE !

Dan

Elroy Block Party, Saturday – 10/13, See CoTA!

Driving down the north-south portion of Elroy Road, this past weekend, just a couple miles north of Elroy, TX, I came across this sign:

Elroy Block Party sign

Close-up of the printed details (click to enlarge further):

Elroy Block Party details - for October 13, 2012

Your next question might be: “Where the Hell is Elroy, Texas?”

Where the Hell is Elroy, Texas?

Elroy is just a few miles south of the ABIA (Austin-Bergstrom International Airport).  Its recent claim to fame is being the home of Circuit of The Americas (CoTA).  Some have nicknamed Elroy, Texas – Speed City, Texas.

Speed City, Texas

So, if you’re in the neighborhood of Elroy next Saturday, October 13, 2012, check it out.  Here’s a panorama shot of CoTA turns 10 & 11 (& beyond), to give you an idea of the track view!

CoTA Turns 10-11 Panorama - October 8, 2012

Racing Ready was there, checking up on track readiness progress, this past Columbus Day.

GO RACE !

Dan

Marussia F1™ Team Social Media Driver Fulfillment

RacingReady.com banner

I bring over four years of amateur motorsports blogging & social media experience at RacingReady.com.  I passionately celebrate Formula 1 racing throughout the season, as witnessed by my facilitating local race watch parties via the San Antonio F1 Club.

San Antonio F1 Club - Celebrating the Formula One Fiesta!

Following the challenging birth of Circuit of The Americas, I share my personal visits onsite & inform fans about track construction & event anticipation progress.  While watching Formula 1 races on television, I have always wanted to be with SPEED at Will Buxton’s side, sharing F1 news & views with fans worldwide.

At the Austin F1 USGP, as the Marussia F1 Team Social Media Driver, I’ll inform fans of daily GP activities with a fresh point of view.  Interviewing team members, interacting with fans, capturing impressions, photos & videos, F1 fans will be able to share my witnessed Marussia passion.  I will be living & sharing the F1 dream!

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!

Dan

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… http://www.jimmypribble.com/blog/2007/06/harris-hill-road-rally-practice/

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 AustinRaceEvents.com, 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 AustinRaceEvents.com – 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!

Dan