Category Archives: Formula1 Austin USGP

Articles of interest regarding the development of the Formula 1 Austin United States Grand Prix (USGP) track, race, & related activities.

CoTA Official Training Partner for Simona De Silvestro


Simona has just garnered further Formula1 cred with this week’s announcement from Circuit of The Americas (COTA):

Simona De Silvestro beside Formula1 test car at Ferrari's Fiorano Circuit, April 2014

Circuit of The Americas to be official training partner for F1 affiliate driver Simona De Silvestro

Austin, TEXAS (July 2, 2014) – Circuit of the Americas (COTA), host of the upcoming 2014 FORMULA 1 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX, has announced that it will be the official training partner for driver Simona De Silvestro. After recently becoming the first female racing driver in history to test a Formula 1 car on Ferrari’s legendary Fiorano Circuit in northern Italy, Simona will continue her training at COTA in early August.

“We are thrilled to be a part of Simona’s journey to becoming the first full-time female driver in Formula One racing,” said COTA President and CEO Jason Dial. “What better place for her to continue to advance her training than at Circuit of The Americas, the North American home for world-class motorsports. In addition to being her official training partner, COTA is dedicated to building awareness around STEM education and sustainable practices- two things which are very important to Simona as well.”

COTA and De Silvestro both embrace and strongly support sustainability, advancing STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education and careers, and clean air technology. While driving in the IndyCar Series, De Silvestro served as an advocate for the Clean Air Energy national campaign.

“My racing career has evolved in America, so I can’t think of a better track to train at than Circuit of The Americas,” De Silvestro said. “The track is truly a world class facility and one of the best on the entire calendar. I can’t wait to drive there.”

Details of De Silvestro’s August test session will be released at a later date.

Here at Racing Ready we are super excited & very pleased by this announcement!  Simona, we are SO proud of you & right in our own backyard.  🙂  Might be time to finally get back to the region of southeast Austin, TX to restore acquaintances & review…


Will Buxton Puts Up – Gets Formula Racer Run

The Buxton Blog, all things motorsport
through the eyes of WillTheF1Journo

Will The F1 Journo, of The Buxton Blog

Renowned Formula 1 pit lane reporter Will Buxton (currently on staff at NBC Sports Network) tells it like it is on his most recent series on his blog:  Put up or shut up… Part 1

Will Buxton's F4 'slicks & wings' ride to Formula learning glory

This is Part 1 (of a 3 part compilation) of Will Buxton’s adventurous foray into learning about entry into the European Formula series of racing.  It was his desire to jump at the chance to get behind the wheel of a proper racing single seater, getting his racing license & all that is needed.  Below is the video (it’s Part 3) demonstrating Will’s encouraging progress to advance his Formula 4 car faster.  It shows that, the faster you go, the faster you can go.   You gotta love the aerodynamics factor of racing car downforce!

After this third entry of Will’s series & which was the above video, I was moved to post this comment on Will’s blog:


Thank you for posting this video & series of your entry to the world of the Formula racing ladder. Those of us on the other side of the pond appreciate your candor & wit, just like you demonstrated with us during your Karoke fundraiser gig in Austin, Texas last November.  I was the one who sang Englebert Humperdinck’s, “After The Lovin’ ”, which even inspiring you to dance, somewhat.

Anyway, your comments & content are the seeds of what I’ve be trying to pursue through my vicarious blogging on  I plan to paraphrase a summation of your content , to also include your blog’s links of this ‘Put up or Shut up…’ series, in a future Racing Ready blog post.  I’m sure it will be an inspiration to my readership, as it has been to me.


Racing Ready Dan

Here’s a bit about how I know Will Buxton.  Just prior to last November’s inaugural Formula 1 race in Austin, Texas, I participated in Austin’s FOTA Fan Forum.  Multiple F1 drivers, team principals & broadcast personnel were there for us to listen to and ask many questions of.  It was a unique experience, one of the highlights of my weekend.  I was here I first met Will Buxton, in person.

 Will Buxton with Racing Ready Dan at the 2012 FOTA Fan Forum in Austin, Texas

Will Buxton, now NBC Sports Network Formula 1 broadcaster, looking pleased to meet Racing Ready Dan - 14-NOV-2012

I was even able to obtain Will Buxton’s autograph!  He signed atop of his published article in the December 2012 issue of GP International:

SPEED Broadcaster Celeb Autograph of Will Buxton - 2013-NOV-14

Two nights later, Will had organized (with The Austin Grand Prix‘s great help) a Karaoke fundraiser at downtown Austin’s Irish Pub, Fado.  We all had a great time & I even put in my Karaoke 2 cents to vie for the TW Steel watch prize.  I was inspiring Will to dance… 🙂  Will (who acted as MC) & The Austin Grand Prix worked together to raise $2,135.25 for Meals on Wheels and more.  Here’s a couple of candid shots of Will (& me) “performing”…

Will Buxton's Karoka fundraiser inspiration at Austin Irish Pub, Austin, TX - November 2012 (the left photo courtesy of Dale Daughtery)

So, as you can see, Will Buxton is a mufti-faceted & talented individual.  Will may not remember me or Racing Ready.  But, I am honored that his activities (besides his stellar Formula 1 pit land & paddock reporting) were a part of what made the first Formula 1 Austin USGP at Circuit of The Americas (CoTA) especially memorable for me!

Back to this Formula 4 racer run.  Racing Ready truly sees this path that Will Buxton is venturing on as one way to go from wannabe to racer…!


P.S. – Want to get racing?

Association of Racing Drivers Schools - Approved

Learn how you can take your ARDS (Association of Racing Drivers Schools) with Jonathan Palmer’s Motor Sport Vision at some of Britain’s finest race venues, here.  Follow in the footsteps of what Will Buxton has achieved!

We Race Cadillacs at Circuit of The Americas!

An alternate title for this post could be:

Speed Learning at Circuit of The Americas: Cadillac Style!

At least it FELT like racing!  Let me explain…

Cadillac V-Series Performance Lab

Last August I heard about this unique driving performance event sponsored by the Cadillac Division of GM.  It’s called the Cadillac V-Series Performance Lab.  It was set to take place at the Circuit of The Americas (CoTA).  I guess I was sliding on my social media reviewing skills – I didn’t find out about it until it was too late to sign up.  I was able to get on their waiting list…with fingers crossed!

Cadillac V-Series Performance Lab flyer

Well, with less than a week to go before the event, I got an early Christmas present: I was released from the waiting list & allowed access to Saturday (08-DEC-2012) morning’s driving session!  Prior to this event I walked on the CoTA track at the Formula Run & 2 weeks later was an über-fan at the Formula 1 USGP weekend.  This was to be the first time I (& many others from South/Central Texas) would be able to actually drive on “our” new track AT SPEED!

Cadillac CTS-V at speed on CoTA, at Cadillac V Series Performance Academy (V-Lab) December, 2012 (Circuit of The Americas photo)

This event was spread out over 3 days, with 2 sessions each day.  A staff member told me they try for an average of 102 per session.  I did a general attendee count and estimated about 120 participants in my Saturday morning session.  This Austin, Texas event, at CoTA, was the 4th & last stop of a cross country tour, visiting the tracks at:

  • Autobahn Country Club – Chicago, IL
  • Palm Beach International Raceway – West Palm Beach, FL
  • Firebird Raceway – Phoenix, AZ
  • Circuit of The Americas – Austin, TX

2012 Cadillac V-Lab featured tracks

This event ran as smooth as a very well coordinated machine, almost as smooth as the wonderful track surface of the new CoTA track.  After our continental breakfast, Don Harple was introduced.  He is Cadillac’s performance driving director.  Don explained what we would be doing that morning, along with an invigorating Cadillac video.  He has been experienced with events that reveal the capabilities of driving at the limit for 23 years.  Don explained that part of learning to drive a track well is to drive with your eyes, to master “eye work”.  As a way to further illustrate, he stated: “Look toward hope, not toward reality.”  That was a cool revelation of the need to always anticipate by looking ahead!  Having you look where you want to go allows your hands and feet to take you there.

If you and your partner both have cars, you’re almost always going to be better off with multi car insurance, but do look around before settling.

Click here if you want to see more.

We were divided into 3 groups, designated by different colored lanyards: black, red & white.  The groups were then sent out to 3 different modules:

  • Module 1:  Dynamic Capabilities with the new model Cadillac ATS Sedan.  This was to showcase the Stabilitrak/ABS capabilities. This was set up on a modified autocross course (sort of), along with a review of Michelin’s role in tire development technology & an overview of the CUE infotainment control system.
  • Module 2:  Dynamic Capabilities on track, using both Cadillac CTS-V Sedan & Wagon models (this was a familiarity track session,  plus an overview session of the performance advantages of Brembo brakes on Cadillac’s V-Series & ATS Sedan models
  • Module 3:  The much anticipated CTS-V Coupe track drive (with a video recorded of us driving as an unexpected bonus)!  In addition, a further explanation of Stabilitrak & its interaction with the Cadillac ATS Sedan chassis dynamics.  We were also given a review of the CTS-V Recaro safest convertible car seat 2014‘ variety of adjustments.

I spoke to Don later & found out he had been contracted by Cadillac to put on these events.  His company is Radius, LLC  (based in the Atlanta area) & his partner is Tommy Kendall (former 4 time SCCA Trans-Am Series Champion racer).  Don facilitates these types of events for various manufactures & stated that Cadillac is his best customer.

Cadillac CTS-V Coupes getting lined up for our 1st laps at speed on the CoTA track - at V-Series Lab, December 2012

Overall impressions by everyone were positive & enthusiastic, both of the Cadillac CTS-V & ATS lineup, along with the state of the art track facilities &, of course, the track itself.  The ride along driving instructors (most of them current or former professional racers) were very helpful & supportive.  They loved the new CoTA track, too, & were enthusiastic in having us push these Cadillacs to their mechanical limits – they weren’t holding us back!

Nick, my astute driving instructor, at Cadillac V-Series Lab, at CoTA - December 2012

I appreciated my instructor, Nick, with his positive attitude & encouragement.  He introduced me to the CoTA track racing line (at least for the Cadillac CTS-V cars) & was riding shotgun with me during all 3 behind the wheel sessions.  Witness all this here in the video they provided later (yes, that’s me driving). Turn it up & enjoy!

Between sessions & other downtime, we were able to hang out & visit with one of the Cadillac GT racers, Andy Pilgrim, #8 racer of the Pirelli World Challenge.  He & Johnny O’Connell take turns doing these events during the year.  Andy is a very personable guy & shared some great racing anecdotes.  In addition, he was accompanied by his actual Cadillac race car #8, based on the CTS-V Coupe.

Racing Ready Dan with Andy Pilgrim's World Challenge Series Cadillac race car, #8, at V-Lab Series event at CoTA - December 2012

Cadillac CTS-V Coupe, chasing its racing 'brother' run by Andy Pilgrim in the Pirelli World Challenge Series

We were able to ask Andy all sorts of questions about the race car, his involvement with it & racing.  Here’s his press release information & which he autographed for me:

Andy Pilgrim, Cadillac Racer #8 in Pirelli World Challenge Series- Info & Autograph

Andy Pilgrim on the job in 'his office' at speed, Cadillac racer #8, Pirelli World Challenge Series

In addition to 2 laps around CoTA in a CTS-V Coupe, we were able to put the new Cadillac ATS Sedan through its paces.  I left with a good impression of these new mid-sized Cadillac sedans.

Cadillac ATS 'autocross' handling dynamics experience, at CoTA - December 2012

They had set up a course for us to do a short drag race & them slam on the ABS brakes.  Then we went through an accident avoidance exercise – I was most impressed by what the Stabilitrak did in keeping the ATS Sedan completely composed in that maneuver.  Lastly, we went through a short series of chicanes.  We were driving the 3.6L v6 model – nice car!

2013 Cadillac 3.6L V6 engine in ATS Sedan, at CoTA - December 2012

2013 Cadillac ATS Sedan, leather interior cockpit, at CoTA - December 2012

Part of this session was an explanation of what Michelin did to develop tire technology for the Cadillac ATS Sedan.  We were ALL extremely surprised to hear these cars were riding on run flat-tires.  These were the newly developed Michelin Primacy MXM4 tires, with new sunflower seed oil technology – AKA, grippy in all weather conditions.  They handled most famously & we had no clue they were run-flats!

2013 Cadillac ATS Sedan, on Michelin run-flat tires, at CoTA - December 2012

Michelin Primacy MXM4 tires on 2013 Cadillac ATS Sedan, at CoTA - December 2012

My last module was driving 3 additional laps in a Cadillac CTS-V Wagon; this time I chose the standard transmission edition.  Nick explained that the Wagon body is aerodynamically cleaner than the CTS-V Coupe.  The wagon was the model that clinched the best track time, for a wagon, at the Nurburgring!  The clutch & transmission engagement were fine, but the shift throws were very long & somewhat rubbery (like Nick said, it’s a Corvette tranny).  It was still fun, though!

Cadillac CTS-V Wagon, manual transmission, at CoTA, during the V-Lab Series in December 2012

After our last session, we were dismissed to make way for the afternoon group.  Going back to the parking lot, I was awestruck by the vast quantity of Cadillac CTS-V & ATS models needed for use that day.  They were lined up to be pressure washed, to have their fluids & other maintenance needs addressed.  Seeing the large number of Cadillacs & understanding what they had just gone through, it was no surprise that this care was needed.

 Vast Quantity of Cadillacs at V-Lab Series, CoTA - December 2012

Very long line of ATS Cadillacs at V-Lab Series, CoTA - December 2012

Racing Ready was honored to be able to attend such an event at a world class racing facility.  I will have to say my opinion of Cadillac as a brand has improved.  Let’s find & do more of these kinds of events!


Rear door of Cadillac CTS-V Racing transporter, at CoTA - December 2012

2012 F1 Season Completed, and Still Digesting

I know it’s been almost 3 weeks since we enjoyed the scintillating shrill of 24 Formula 1 cars blaze their inaugural trail around the Circuit of The Americas (CoTA).

First time into turn 1 at CoTA, 2012 Formula 1 United States Grand Prix - they all made it through without incident!

It’s been almost 2 weeks since the Formula 1 season came to a dramatic close at the Brazil GP in the rain, at the Interlagos Circuit in Sao Paolo (I love watching the drama of racing in the rain!).

First turn misdirection by Vettel on 1st lap of 2012 F1 Brazil GP!

It’s been about a week since the SPEED staff put together their final Debrief & shared their final farewell…(sniff)

SPEED Debrief Final Farewell

And I know I haven’t blogged about ANY of this…

I will have to say I haven’t yet fully digested all I experienced in the 5 days spent exposed to the world of Formula 1 in the Austin area.  This was at CoTA, in a variety of venues in downtown Austin & elsewhere.  I would like to properly present what I was able to experience.  I want to share with you what I learned about this special Formula 1 world of racing.

Pondering questions in preparation for the FOTA Fans' Forum in the Hilton, Austin, TX - 14-NOV-2012

Thank you for your patience & anticipation.  Racing Ready appreciates your continued readership!


2012 Formula 1 USGP in Austin – Finally Here!

2012 Formula 1 United States Grand Prix - Returns to USA in Austin, Texas!

It’s here & happening now:

Formula 1 Returns to USA in 2012

2012 Formula 1 United States Grand Prix!

For the latest information to keep up to date, click Calendars link below:

Austin Events Calendars for 2012 Formula 1 USGP Racing

To learn what it took to get here, I offer the following review…

The Formula 1 spectacle has arrived back in the USA.  Round 19 of the 2012 F1 season takes place just a few miles south of the Austin, Texas airport.  The formation & creation of the Circuit of The Americas (aka, CoTA), has been a long time in coming.  We at Racing Ready, & many others, have known about it for 2 & 1/2 years.  But the initial gestation period started much longer ago, thanks to Tavo Hellmund.  Today, you no longer see his name officially associated with CoTA.  But the idea & desire behind it all started with Tavo.

Circuit of The Americas - Home of The World Championships

Starting in May 2010, the public was made aware.  The concept of a Formula 1-spec track was proposed to be built in southeast Travis County, where Austin, the Capital of Texas is situated.  Things started to move quickly, but not exactly smoothly:

Here’s what Jenson Button, F1 driver on Team McLaren, said in expectation:

You can see elements of the Maggotts/Becketts complex from Silverstone; there’s a reverse of Istanbul Park’s Turn Eight, too; and I can even see a bit of the Hockenheim infield.

I think we’re in for a fantastic weekend – I really cannot wait to get out to Austin and see the city, the people and the track. I think it’s going to be brilliant.

See these 2 track comparison illustrations for you to appreciate:

Circuit of The Amrericas track layout comparison - showing 'Maggots & Becketts' detail


Circuit of The Americas track layout comparison - Hockenheim 'Stadium Section'

This is a historic event in American Motorsports.  Much will continue to be written, but now enjoy the racing.  To all visitors, both here at Racing Ready & in Austin, Texas, we are SO pleased you took the time to visit.  We look forward to your return.

AUSTIN - Texas Charm, Global Appeal



P.S. – For in-depth reading, off track, review this: F1 Racing Grand Prix Fan Guide.  Be advised, it’s 109 pages (!), Courtesy of the Austin America-Statesman.

Circuit of The Americas, a sunset in anticipation of Formula 1 racing success!

CoTA Formula Run: Dramatic Track Revelation!

How can it be said any more enthusiastically…?


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.



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 Girls.  Many people were posing with them for photo ops all night long…

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

Wild Bubba with the 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!!!


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 Girls!