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.

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

One Year Before the Race – Wild Bubba’s Meet, Greet & Eat!

Wild Bubba's Meet, Greet and Eat - 'One Year Before The Race'

This past summer, Wild Bubba of Wild Bubba’s Wild Game Grill, kicked off the first Wild Bubba’s Meet, Greet & Eat.  It was a quality get-together of Formula 1 race fans & an interesting variety of people involved in the Austin area racing community.  Now, here’s the important event announcement on Facebook!

Wild Bubba's Wild Game Grill - Meet, Greet and Eat - 'One Year Before The Race'

Here are the specific details about this event:

All Racing Fan’s…This is the one event you don’t want to miss! Racing fan’s from all over will be meeting and greeting while dining on delicious Burgers from Wild Bubba’s Wild Game Grill.  Shiner Beer will be available as well as soda and water.
The event will feature:
– 2 F1 racing simulators for your racing pleasure
– A fashion expo from Congruent Style
– Booths from various social media organizations
– Door prizes including a Grand Prize to be drawn
– Live Music featuring “The Volente Beach Boys”
– Cash Burger and Beer Bar.
Come out to the Hitchin’ Post, which features a huge outdoor deck with plenty of room to mingle and talk F1.  You never know who might show up.
😉

The Hitchin' Post

Don’t make the mistake I did last summer.  This event will not be at the actual Wild Bubba’s Wild Game Grill location in Elroy, TX.  The Hitchin’ Post is about 1 mile north of the ABIA Airport, off of Tollway 130 at 12100 FM 969, Austin, Texas.  Here’s a map – click to enlarge…

Hitchin' Post map

Racing Ready will be there.  If you are at all interested in the Austin F1 USGP, this countdown kickoff party will BE the place to be!  You want to, need to show!!!

Dan

BBC Sport Version of Austin F1 Coulthard Video

BBC Sport – Coulthard Drives Off-Road
on New Circuit of The Americas

This is the BBC version of footage depicting David Coulthard & the F1 Team Red Bull crew descending upon Austin this past summer.  Although it’s not as slick as the highly edited Red Bull video, I like it better as it has a LOT more fulfilling content.  It’s very enjoyable & informative!

Coulthard drives off-road on new Circuit of The Americas - by BBC Sport

Visit this BBC Sport site to open & view their 5 & 1/2 minute video.  You will get a good review of some of the very interesting personalities behind the USGP Formula 1 coming to Austin next year.  🙂

In addition, this was the exciting buildup of information surrounding the filming & preparation of the original Red Bull Racing Team Austin F1 video – some good snippets here that you won’t see in either of the other 2 videos!

San Antonio F1Club - Celebrating the Formula 1 Fiesta!

Racing Ready is stoked about F1 racing coming to Austin.  We’re SO so enthused, in fact, there is in formation a new San Antonio F1 Club that is gaining traction, here!  This is a grassroots effort to bring together like-minded fans, to have F1 race watching parties & much – follow here for more information!

Dan

San Antonio F1 Club - Celebrating the Formula One Fiesta!

COTA Highway FM812 Paving Expansion Progress

On my way back from the Six Lounge GP race viewing party, I stopped by the Circuit of The Americas (COTA).  It has been 1 week since they started the paving expansion of the shoulders.  So far, they’ve gotten most of the 3/10th of  a mile section directly in front of the main track entrance completed.

Highway FM 812 Lanes Expansion at COTA, off in the distance...

It’s just a start.  More details in this article of the FM 812 Road Improvements

Highway FM 812 Expansion, in front of COTA entrance!

According to this article, the start of “vertical construction” might be held back due to this delayed road work.  See the geographic details in this map below.

FM 812 Pavement Expansion, by COTA entrance

Racing Ready continues to monitor COTA construction progress for you…

Dan

Official USGP Race Date Confirmed & Recent COTA News

Formula 1 2012 Calendar

It’s now REALLY official!  The Austin Formula 1 USGP race will take place on November 18, 2012.  Here’s the official  FIA confirmation of the 2012 Formula One calendar showing the US F1 Grand Prix to take place in Austin on November 18th.

31 Aug 2011

FIA confirms 20-race calendar for 2012

The FIA has released a confirmed calendar for the 2012 season following a fax vote by members of the World Motor Sport Council. The addition of the United States round makes for a 20-race season, which will get underway in Australia on March 18. The season finale will take place in Brazil on November 25.

2012 FIA Formula One World Championship calendar:
18/03 Australia
25/03 Malaysia
15/04 China
22/04 Bahrain
13/05 Spain
27/05 Monaco
10/06 Canada
24/06 Europe
08/07 Great Britain
22/07 Germany
29/07 Hungary
02/09 Belgium
09/09 Italy
23/09 Singapore
07/10 Japan
14/10 Korea
28/10 India
04/11 Abu Dhabi
18/11 United States
25/11 Brazil

Here’s a recent, quality “Formula 1 is coming to the USA!” promo video from grid1.tv:

Circuit of The Americas – Premier, Purpose-Built International Racing Facility

Video Intro to New, Purpose-Built Racetrack in the USA - Circircuit of The Americas

Racing Ready Exclusive from COTA – documented, timely notes & images:

Recently I was at the Circuit of The Americas (COTA) track environs & captured these panoramic shots from the northwest/west side of the track property, from McAngus Rd.

COTA signature Turn 1 as viewed from east of track

Please be sure to click on the images to enlarge, & click again to enjoy the detail!

COTA ground level panorama view from east of track

Afterwords, I swung by Wild Bubba’s Wild Game Grill to say “Howdy!” & quench my thirst.  As an after benefit, I got to see  The Speed City Cam, (230X zoom webcam, mounted atop a 40 foot Rohn tower!).  This is being facilitated by Vance Facundo, of the Friends of the Circuit of The Americas FB page.  This is located in an area east of the COTA track.

Speed City Cam tower foundation, east of COTA

Speed City Cam tower, just east of COTA

Vance is still awaiting the finalization of the tower installation for rock solid image stability.  Therefore, we’ll have to wait a bit longer until we can see LIVE track images…

Speed City Cam - Coming Soon!!!

Yesterday I learned about a coordinated logistical effort between COTA & the ABIA (Austin-Bergstrom International Airport).  I was informed the FAA folks working with the ABIA control tower are discussing helicopter flight lines and routing.  It may be the case that round-trip helicopter transfers between ABIA & COTA & back will be charging $50.00.  Apparently this is the going rate of similar trips between the DFW (Dallas-Fort Worth) Airport & the Texas Motor Speedway.  This just might be worth it,  depending on the proposed race day congestion.

Jenson Button, Vodafone Formula 1 driver, getting buzzed by a helicoptor

Racing Ready continues to bring you other views & news, different from the common buzz!

Dan