Category Archives: Circuit of The Americas

Articles pertaining to the Circuit of The Americas, the racing & other high end entertainment & sports medicine facility being built in Austin, TX. This facility will host Formla1 racing, as well as the MotoGP series & other racing events.

1st F1 Race Watch Party in San Antonio!

F1 Austalian GP - Melbourne, Albert Park - March 18, 2012

San Antonio Formula 1 race fans – finally, this is what we’ve been waiting for!  This coming Sunday (March 18th, 2012) will be the first F1 race watch party in San Antonio.  It was a challenge to find a sports bar location that already had DVR capability & watcher friendly TV screens with good audio capability.  This is the first Formula 1 race of the 2012 season, taking place down under, in Melbourne, Australia.  (per Formula1.com, this race is officially titled the 2012 Formula 1 Qantas Australian Grand Prix)

Lion & Rose British Restaurant & Pub - general logo

Yes!  The first San Antonio F1 race watch party will take place at the Lion & Rose British Restaurant & Pub in Alamo Heights, at 1:30pm, this Sunday March 18th, 2012!  Thanks to a referral from Tim Rooney, of Waxy O’Conner’s Irish Pub (on the San Antonio Riverwalk), I met Gregg Morgan of the Alamo Heights Lion & Rose.  They currently DVR a multitude of soccer & rugby matches from around the world.  Gregg stated there are already some Formula 1 fans that frequent his pub.  In addition, since it will be the day after St. Patrick’s Day, the pub will be like a ghost town.  He said we’d almost have the place to ourselves. GREAT!!!

Lion & Rose British Restaurant & Pub - the main bar

In addition to the pre-recorded F1 video feed, Gregg will put the F1 race audio over the general pub BOSE speaker system.  This location will be a great venue & a good first effort at a San Antonio-based social activity revolving around watching Formula 1 racing.

San Antonio F1 Club (SAF1C) logo

I hope you can make it to experience Formula 1 world class racing, with your friends.  Please note, this will be great preparation for learning what’s new this year in Formula 1 (once again, new rules & regulations).  This could be considered a primer to help you get ready for (& more excited about) the upcoming Formula 1 race just south of Austin, coming up on November 18th, 2012 – the Austin F1 USGP, at the Circuit of The Americas (CoTA)!

CoTA signage - announcing the Circuit of The Americas race site - Home of the Austin F1 USGP! (Courtesy of Sutton Images)

The Lion & Rose pub offers a great selection of hand drawn pints of beer. In addition, they have a full menu with a broad variety of food that should please most anyone’s palate.

WE WILL SEE YOU THIS SUNDAY at 1:30pm, at the Lion & Rose Pub, Alamo Heights, 5148 Broadway, here in San Antonio, Texas.  🙂  With a good showing, we can continue at this location, unless some of you can suggest a possibly better location for the next Formula 1 race, scheduled the following Sunday, March 25th…  Here’s a map to the party! (Click to enlarge…)

Lion & Rose British Pub MAP!

I & Racing Ready look forward to seeing & meeting ALL of you!!!

Your San Antonio F1 Club, race watch party facilitator,

Dan

Lion & Rose British Restaurant & Pub -Union Jack logo

Tejas Miatas – Jester King Brewery & Salt Lick BBQ Run

 Tejas Miatas logo

This past weekend my wife, Isa, & I enjoyed a brisk, pre-spring, sun-filled drive around the southern environs of Austin, TX.  What prompted this was an announcement from the Tejas Miatas, one week prior:

Date: Sat, 18 Feb 2012
Subject: [tejasmiata] Jester King Brewery-Salt Lick BBQ run Sat Feb 25th

I have been talking about going out to the Jester King Brewery for awhile so I have decided to plan a run out there next Saturday and then head over to the Salt Lick in Driftwood for some BBQ afterward.

You can read about the brewery here:  http://www.jesterkingbrewery.com
and The Salt Lick here:  http://www.saltlickbbq.com

We will meet at 2:00pm at the Y at Oak Hill which is the intersection of Hwy 290 and Hwy 71, in the Planet Fitness parking lot,7100 W. US Highway 290.  We will leave at 2:30 sharp so that we make it to Jester King by 3:00, have some time to look around and then take the last tour at 3:30.

As most of us know about the Salt Lick, it is CASH ONLY.  No credit cards.  No separate checks.  I do think they have an ATM but I would get cash before the trip just in case.  It is also B.Y.O.B. so bring your ice chest and favorite beverages unless you just want water, tea, coffee, or sodas that they have.  Please RSVP by Thursday Feb. 23rd so I have an idea of the size of our group for the brewery tour.  Don’t fill up on lunch since we will be having an early dinner as we want to beat the crowds.

Kirk
President – Tejas Miatas
2006 Galaxy Gray GT

Since it had been a couple months since last traveling up the Austin-San Antonio corridor, I decided it would be good timing to make some visits.  I spent some time to visit my racing friends at H2R, now known as the Mazda Raceway at Harris Hill.  Although there was no event going on, there was a good amount of activity in the clubhouse, & on the track.  In reviewing raceway events progress with Philipp, things are moving forward well.  A lot of their growing exposure has been due to the sponsorship brought onboard with Roger Beasley Mazda – it’s been a win-win for both parties!

MAZDA Raceway at Harris Hill logo

Continuing north, I was able to assess the construction progress at the Circuit of The Americas (CoTA), from Piland Triangle.  As the November 18th, 2012 Austin F1 USGP event gets closer, I’m sure somebody influential will get that little triangular road renamed.  Any suggestions?

Austin USGP Formula 1 Track Site - Piland Triangle STOP sign.  This was prior to track construction, dated 14-NOV-2010.

Check out the latest vertical construction along the future CoTA front straight!
(Click to enlarge – click twice for best detail!)

CoTA Construction Progress panorama - 25-FEB-2012

As is usual for my visits to CoTA, I stopped in for lunch at Wild Bubba’s Will Game Grill.  Isa & I split a very tasty Southwestern Grilled Chicken Sandwich.  It was the least “wild” item on the menu, but both my wife & I agreed it was VERY tasty!!!  In addition, I was able to visit with my friend, Wild Bubba (Wyman Gilliam Jr.), & discuss future promotional opportunities that may be forthcoming.  I ALWAYS enjoy my visits there!

Wild Bubba's Wild Game Grill

Next, we traveled west to where Highway 71 & 290 split, at a Planet Fitness parking lot.  This was the starting spot for this Tejas Miata Run.

Getting organized for the Tejas Miatas run - 25-FEB-2012

Karlino awaiting the Tejas Miatas run start with clubmembers - 25-FEB-2012

The first leg of our run was drama free & taken at a leisurely pace.  We had little trouble keeping our mostly Miata group of about 14 cars (I think) together.

The Tejas Miatas run group, dominating the road to Jester King Brewery - 25-FEB-2012

Part of the Tejas Miatas run group, enroute to Jester King Brewery - 25-FEB-2012

From there we headed out, as a group, to the Jester King Craft Brewery.  This, to me, was the highlight of this afternoon’s run.  Located to the southwest of Austin, this craft-style brewery is following their brewmeister passion.  They are garnering a strong & growing fan base for specialty craft-brewed beer.

Tejas Miatas run parking, at Jester King Brewery - 25-FEB-2012

The Jester King Brew House, visited by Tejas Miatas - 25-FEB-2012

Tejas Miatas run, at Jester King Brewery parking lot - 25-FEB-2012

Josh gave us a tour which really explained their passion, which does not follow standard logic.  He is a former graphics designer (Josh is responsible for the unique brewery graphics & artwork); the founding partners are a former lawyer & a former investment banker.  Regardless of the practicality of their brewing direction, in less than 2 years in business they are doing well!

Josh, explaining their brewing process basics at Jester King Brewery - Tejas Miatas run - 25-FEB-2012

Josh, sharing the barrel room fermenting passion at Jester King Brewery - Tejas Miatas run - 25-FEB-2012

Here’s some of Tejas Miatas run group after Josh’s barrel fermentation room explanation.  Thanks Jon!

Partial group shot of Tejas Miatas at Jester King Craft Brewery - Courtesy of Jon Etkins

Later, once Josh found us out to be Miata driving enthusiasts, he confessed to enthusiast driving urges of his own.  He blamed viewing past episodes of Top Gear.  There’s nothing wrong with that, I say!  We even encouraged him to consider getting into autocrossing with his daily driver Honda Civic.

Josh, of Jester King Brewery, admiting his reawakening car passion with Tejas Miatas run participants - 25-FEB-2012

After having sampled some of Jester King’s unique brew libations, we then traveled further southwest to the Salt Lick BBQ, in Driftwood, TX.  We had only to wait 20 minutes for our 2 & 1/2 tables of seating.  (Again, click to enlarge…twice for more detail!)

Salt Lick BBQ casual seating - Tejas Miatas group to the left...

Everyone enjoyed a variety of Texas BBQ’d meats!  They had this interesting circular pit where the succulent meat fixin’s originated.  I hear you could order “burnt ends” – that’s what I’ll hold out for, next time.

Salt Lick BBQ's smokin' fire pit, a Texas meat lover's paradise - a great way to end the Tejas Miatas run!

This was a beautiful day to get out & about to see different things, reacquaint & make new friends.  Racing ReadyKarlino enjoyed this day immensely.  It was 217 miles well spent!

Karlino, my 1999 Mazda Miata, basking in the fun of a Tejas Miatas run...

Thank you Tejas Miatas!

Dan

F1 Drivers Anticipate Racing at Circuit of The Americas

Flaming Circuit of The Americas logo

Here are some actual impressions from current F1 drivers, anticipating the Austin USGP F1 race this coming November 18th, 2012.  It’s going to happen – in our back yard!

Mark Webber: “The track looks awesome.  It is a little bit old school, which is good because there are some sharp turns.”

Mexico’s Sergio Peres: “I’m really looking forward to racing in Austin…and to discover more about the new circuit.  It will be the closest race to my home.”

Jenson Button: “I remember racing in the States before in Indianapolis which was a good circuit.  But the steps that Austin have taken to make sure this is a proper F1™ circuit, I think we’re going to love it.  It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

Racing Ready is also in anticipation.  Circuit of The Americas (CoTA) is less than 90 minutes away…
Follow what’s going on locally at my other blog – SanAntonioF1 Club.com

SanAntonioF1Club - Celebrating The F1 Fiesta!  (SAF1C Blog header)

See you there!

Dan

Speed City Cam – An Ever Vigilant Eye on Circuit of The Americas

Speed City Cam banner - http://www.speedcitycam.com/

From the Austin American-Statesman / statesman.com:

By Dave Doolittle | Thursday, January 26, 2012, 02:57 PM

A couple of longtime Elroy residents who have been closely following work out at Circuit of the Americas have set up a live 24-hour webcam so others can peek in on construction, too.

“We want to show that it’s happening, and that it’s going to happen. It’s a way to encourage people who want to see the track and who want to see the race.” said Vance Facundo, an administrator of the Friends of Formula One Austin, Texas Facebook page. He operates the camera with Wyman Gilliam, owner of Wild Bubba’s Wild Game Grill near the circuit.

The Speed City Cam is set atop a 40-foot tower on property just east of the circuit and pans to several fixed positions every few seconds. Facundo said he can point the camera anywhere work is going on.

Unfortunately, a house blocks the view of the paddock buildings and main grandstand, where the bulk of the work is currently taking place.

The Speed City Cam website has had about 5,000 views since it went live a few weeks ago, and two to three people are usually watching at any given time, Facundo said.

Work has been going on at the circuit six days a week, officials have said, and they expect to have it completed in time for the inaugural race Nov. 16 through 18. Crews have occasionally poured slabs for buildings at night, when the weather is cooler and trucks can avoid Austin traffic, an engineer told the American-Statesman.

Facundo said the camera will only show the circuit during construction and will be redirected once the track becomes operational.

Click here to check out the Speed City Cam

Know that Racing Ready was there (over 7 months ago!), much before the Speed City Cam was atop that 40 foot Rohn tower.  😉

Dan

Ready for 2012 for Racing? I Wannabe!

2011 was a relatively lackluster year here at RacingReady.com… I will admit I lacked speed passion!  It was also a tough year for motorsports…

Dan Wheldon - 1978 - 2011 - Rest In Peace...

I DO have some plans for 2012.  I hadn’t participated in actual autocross running since this past summer when I co-drove my Contributing Blogger’s hot, yellow Corvette – that was FUN!  Thanks again, Eric!!!

This past weekend, my good friend Brianne Corn has brought RallyCross competition to South/Central Texas.  I was there, & will blog about it.  For now, I will say it was VERY interesting!

TexasRallySport logo

Next, I’ve volunteered to be the SASCA January 2012 autocross course designer at Retama Park.  I’ve done a few courses at the previous AT&T Center parking lot (3 years ago) & more recently at the NEISD parking lot.  This is my first time creating a course at Retama Park.  As usual, it will be an interesting challenge & I may have a surprise, or 2.

Skyview of Retama Park lot, 2012 SASCA Autocross Venue

Although I will still keep my 1999 Mazda Miata, Karlino, in the stock CS class, I may be able to make some upgrades to Karlino that could make it more competitive, later in the year.  We shall see…

Karlino getting unexpected tire(s) replaced! [December 2011]

There will be other new & exciting events I don’t know about yet, but we ALL know about the Austin Formula 1 USGP, scheduled for next November 18, 2012!!!  WooHoo – WOOT!

Racing Ready is getting ready for a new & VERY interesting New Year.  May it be a HAPPY one for you all!

Dan

Confirmed: Austin USGP Race on 2012 F1 Schedule!

The Race Is On! - Circuit of The Americas' announcement on December 7, 2011

We’ve been on pins & needles about the possibility of this being a non-event for over the past 2 weeks.  We are SO relieved as is all of Formula 1 fandom, especially those of us geographically located in South/Central Texas.  Here’s the official press release direct from Circuit of The Americas (CoTA):

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 7, 2011

Formula 1 (TM) and Circuit of The Americas (TM) Ready to Roll
10-Year Race Contract Brings F1 Back to the U.S. in 2012;
Construction to Resume Immediately

AUSTIN, Texas – December 7, 2011 – Circuit of The Americas announced today that they have reached an agreement with Formula One Management that ensures the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix remains on the FIA Formula 1 World Championship race calendar.  Red McCombs, chairman of McCombs Enterprises and founding partner of Circuit of  The Americas stated, “Mr. Ecclestone received his check today. We want to thank the fans supporting us, the local officials and businesses that have encouraged us, the State of Texas, Circuit of The Americas’ staff and Bernie himself.  I want to thank and commend Bobby Epstein for getting us across the finish line.  Bobby’s perseverance and leadership kept the project on track despite unfair and unfounded criticism.”

“Our investors have believed all along that this project has tremendous benefit for our region, and provides a strong economic engine for the future,” stated Epstein, founding partner of Circuit of The Americas.  We remain committed to reaching our goal of being valuable community partners as we establish a platform for sports and entertainment. We’re glad that Tavo’s vision of bringing F1 to the people of Texas will become a reality.”

Engineering and construction teams working on the track will resume immediately, ensuring completion for the 2012 race date.

“We have a substantial number of fans who have expressed interest in buying tickets and hospitality, so today is a win for all of them as much as it is for Circuit of The Americas,” said Steve Sexton, president of Circuit of The Americas. “We encourage everyone to visit our website and register for information. Registered fans will receive the first communication regarding ticket sales plans.  In a matter of weeks we will have more exciting news as we unveil our full calendar of world class events.”

Fans interested in receiving information about tickets for next year’s United States Grand Prix can register their contact information at www.CircuitofTheAmericas.com. Ticket sales information will be communicated to those registered prior to general public notification.

Media Inquiries:

Jeff Hahn
Representing Circuit of The Americas
Office: 512-344-2017
jhahn@hahntexas.com

Ali Putnam
Circuit of The Americas
Office: 512-301-6600
ali.putnam@circuitoftheamericas.com

Circuit of The Americas racing surface foundation preparation...circa November 2011

Influential local people who strongly & enthusiastically support the important arrival of the Austin Formula 1 USGP are highlighted on a good YNN video.  Those folks are Wyman Gilliam, of Wild Bubba’s Wild Game Grill fame, as well as the brother-sister team of TheAustinGrandPrix.com, Kevin & Kerri Olsen.  Click of the recent video link below about the news from Elroy:

Austin F1 race still on track for 2012 - YNN video

Bernie Ecclestone’s take on all that had recently transpired to get to this final point of event success was curious & low key…

Yes there will be a race there.  We hope it will be for 10 years.

I’m guessing we won’t know all the sordid details of what transpired in the hush-hush background.  COTA officials, of course, declined to reveal financial terms of the deal.  Per Steven Cole Smith of AutoWeek:

The details regarding the contract Epstein and McCombs apparently signed have not been made public but it seems likely that they were less favorable than the original contract Hellmund had.

Hellmund’s company, Full Throttle Productions, also negotiated contracts for MotoGP and Australian V8 Supercars to race at the circuit in 2013; the status of those two series at the circuit remains unclear.

So, at long last, here’s the planned for 2012 Formula 1 race schedule:

2012 Formula 1 Calendar

March 18                 Australian GP
March 25                 Malaysian GP
April 15                    Chinese GP
April 22                    Bahrain GP
May 13                      Spanish GP
May 27                     Monaco GP
June 10                    Canada GP
June 24                    European GP
July 8                       British GP
July 22                    German GP
July 29                    Hungarian GP
September 2           Belgian GP
September 9           Italian GP
September 23        Singapore GP
October 7                Japanese GP
October 14              Korean GP
October 28              Indian GP
November 4           Abu Dhabi GP
November 18       U.S. GP (Austin)
November 25         Brazilian GP

Here’s a link (& video) to get your mind moving to book a tour to the race with:  Grand Prix Tours | United States Grand Prix Tours Packages Hotels and Tickets

Grand Prix Tours logo

Okay…
Now we can get back to waiting & watching the progress of “our” world-class racing track & its associated facility.  Like all of you, Racing Ready can’t wait!

Dan

Very Concerned About Circuit of The Americas Recent Extremes!

I’m very concerned about the feast or famine extremes I have recently witnessed at Circuit of The Americas (COTA).  Ten days ago I was SO very pleased to see hundreds of COTA track workers’ trucks in their parking lot.  This was true witness to me that building & track construction was ramping up at a furious pace.  Here’s a panorama shot from Piland Triangle Road.  (Click to enlarge…)

COTA - BIG Parking Panorama!

Another indicator of progress, growth & potential was the reclaiming of private land for future entrepreneurial use.  At the right angle corner of Piland Triangle Road, the previous homeowners mobile home had been removed, and signs of investment opportunity were put up.  Again, to me these were signs of positive belief in the progression of COTA construction.

Former trailer lot, bordering COTA's southeast corner on Piland Triangle - any takers?

Here’s another shot, looking north across to COTA, as witnessed by my trusty steed, Karlino.

Karlino with investment property on the corner of Piland Triangle with COTA in the background...

Then comes today’s bombshell from COTA, e-mailed by Hahn, Texas Communications, the PR firm working with COTA.  I’ll let their words suffice to explain:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 15, 2011

Circuit of The Americas(TM) Suspends Construction
Pending Race Contract Delivery

Readiness for Formula 1(TM)
United States Grand Prix(TM) Not Yet Affected

AUSTIN, Texas – November 15, 2011 – Organizers of Circuit of The Americas, a premier motor sports racing and entertainment venue being developed in Austin, Texas, are suspending further construction of the project until a contract assuring the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix will be held at Circuit of The Americas in 2012 is complete. The race contract between Formula One and Circuit of The Americas has not been conveyed to Circuit of The Americas per a previously agreed upon timetable.

While construction at Circuit of The Americas has progressed as scheduled with over 300 workers at the construction site daily, all work will suspend immediately. The delivery of the Formula One Grand Prix race contract will allow construction operations to resume.

“We have spent tremendous resources preparing for the Formula One and MotoGP™ Championship races, but the failure to deliver race contracts gives us great concern,” said Bobby Epstein, founding partner of Circuit of The Americas. “We believe the United States is vital for the future of Formula One and its teams and sponsors. Given the purpose-built Tilke design, creating a unique fan experience and iconic challenge for drivers, we hope that Texas will not be left behind. More than 100,000 fans have expressed an interest in purchasing tickets for Formula One alone.”

“It is in the best interest of all parties to reach a timely resolution,” said Red McCombs, chairman of McCombs Enterprises and founding partner of Circuit of The Americas. “Local businesses, fans and the State of Texas are counting on us.”

My first reaction is… although the folks (& their investors) at COTA have a LOT on the line… Bernie Ecclestone could probably care less.  If his past history is any indication, this immediate work stoppage will not help things to move forward at all!  He’s already mentioned the possibility of maybe delaying the race till 2013…

To say that I’m concerned is an understatement!  Racing Ready wishes that everyone could all just get along.  Unfortunately, when big money is involved, playing nice goes out the window.  We will all need to closely follow where this goes.  Later today, Full Throttle Productions, Tavo Hellmund’s company that got this all started, put their 2 cents in…

Full Throttle Productions Statement
Regarding Suspension of Construction
at Circuit of The Americas

Nov. 15, 2011

Austin – Full Throttle Productions released the following statement today regarding the suspension of construction at Circuit of the Americas:

“After years of effort in getting F1 to Austin, Full Throttle Productions and city, county and state officials have done all we could. It is the responsibility of Circuit of the Americas to bring it across the finish line. For the sake of everyone, we are hopeful that they can reach an agreement with Formula 1.”

I’m sure Wild Bubba is concerned, as well, but will still put on the greatly anticipated  “Wild Bubba’s Meet, Great & Eat” event this coming Saturday evening.  Blogged details here!  I hope to see you there supporting the continuing building & eventual arrival of the Austin USGP at Circuit of The Americas next year!

We WILL move this forward, & Bernie, you’re invited! 😉

Dan