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.

Coulthard & Red Bull Racing Burn Up Austin City Streets

Red Bull Racing brought their Formula 1 Show Car to downtown Austin.  This was to be a non-public, non-published event.   Bottom line, Red Bull had let the ponies out of the barn, too soon.  It wasn’t supposed to be a event known to the general public.  The ever ready Austin Formula 1 race fan community, with their fingers on the pulse of anything Austin USGP-related, found out about it & it spread like wildfire.

Red Bull logo on their promotional Formula 1 Racing Show Car, driven by David Coulthard - Photo by Jon Etkins

I had hoped to get there & witness the action in person, but no, I was snookered into thinking it wasn’t going to happen, that it had been canceled.  I now realize I was not diligent enough in reading the various last minute posts on Facebook, et al, to figure out that it was again a go.  Apparently, something at the city level were approved late last Friday night…

David Coulthard launches his Red Bull Formula 1 Race Car in the city streets of Austin, Texas - Photo by Deborah Cannon, American-Statesman

Therefore, this report is really a recapping of the works of others’ eyewitness accounts of individuals I know & did meet with later in the day.  This was at the Austin Formula 1 Club (AF1C) Meet & Greet After Party at Doc’s Motorworks, in South Austin.  I briefly met with Charlie Robinson, head coordinator of the AF1C & others of the club.

AF1C - Austin Formula 1 Club logo

Also present were the folks from The Austin Grand Prix group.  I already knew of this website & was formally introduced to Kevin Olsen, on of the group’s co-founders.  He acknowledged how we are all working toward the same goal here, to support increased fan awareness of the Austin Formula 1 USGP, staring next year at Circuit of The Americas (COTA).  These are the T-shirts with their logos they offer for sale on the web.

COME AND RACE IT - T-shirt Design by The Austin Grand Prix

It all started very early Saturday morning.  The ever vigilant, Sondra Sondregger, shot out a great event prep teaser  candid shot via Facebook – this was at 6:54AM!

The Red Bull Racing Show Car crew, getting organized early Saturday morning, 20-AUG-2011 - Photo by Sondra Sondregger

Later in the morning, as I finally made my way Austin bound, I received more updates.  I was disheartened that the event (that was supposedly canceled) pretty much came to pass  with former Formula 1 driver David Coulthard (DC) doing a few city block “laps” and ending his performance with a truly earsplitting, tire chunk spitting series of donuts.

David Coulthard doing expensive donuts in the Red Bull Racing Formula 1 Show Car - Photo taken by John Etkins

Here’s one of many videos circulating the Internet.  I chose this one by Sondra as it’s the most assertively loud one I found…turn up your speakers!

The Red Bull Racing Show Car is a 2005 RB1 chassis with the Cosworth V10 and the 2009 aero package – thanks Jon!  BTW, Jon Etkins put together 2 very thorough galleries of quality stills pix of the following Red Bull Racing promo events in Austin:

DC had wondered about & later picked up on the fact the the Hook ‘Em Horns hand signal was a good thing!

David Coulthard, Red Bull Racing Show Car driver, showing the crowd he can Hook 'Em Horns with the best of them!

Enough people found out about this event to make a good showing.  There were easily more than a hundred people there.  David Coulthard was sufficiently impressed by the spirit & enthusiasm of the fans that showed up & cheered.  Here are DC’s thoughts in a nicely prepared video posted by the COTA.

Apparently a day prior, David was given a good tour of COTA by Tavo Hellmund (managing partner of race promoter Full Throttle Productions), as this picture at the pinnacle of the developing track at turn 1 attests.

Tavo Hellmund describing the future COTA track layout to David Coulthard, at the peak of turn 1.

One of the eyewitnesses, Jon Etkins, heard DC say that he wasn’t able to get out of 2nd gear – with only 2 city blocks, or so.  Well, somewhere in the vicinity of FM 812, near Speedcity (Elroy), TX, David Coulthard was able to release the furry of that ferocious V10 Formula 1 racing engine.  Check out this video, posted on Facebook by Jack! (Sorry, you’ll have to login to Facebook to see it…)

Screamin' Red Bull V10 Formula 1 race car, piloted at terminal velocity by David Coulthard

WOW!!!  Hope you had your ear plugs handy…

I’m glad I didn’t post this collection of Austin Red Bull Racing events earlier.  Here’s some unbelievable still pix of the future Red Bull video promo.  I just came across these…

David Coulthard, arriving at the Circuit of The Americas, in the Red Bull Racing Formula 1 Show Car!

Going up the hill to turn 1 – that looks steeper than I remember it!

The 1st Formula 1 car, the Red Bull Racing Show Car, at speed on the yet to be paved track surface at the Circuit of The Americas!

Here’ some of the on-track (still dry Texas clay) video filmed at COTA, on a hot Sunday, August 21st, 2011!

Well, I’m impressed by what I saw (virtually) & talked about with a variety of eyewitnesses.  Racing Ready is really rarin’ to go about all of this!

Dan

Austin F1 USGP Race Date Confirmed by Ecclestone

Circuit of The Americas (checkered banner)

Okay Formula 1 fans of the Austin USGP, here’s a confirming announcement we’ve all been waiting for, directly from Bernie Ecclestone:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 10, 2011

Ecclestone Statement Confirms United States Grand Prix™ in November
U.S. Race Date Among Numerous Schedule Adjustments

AUSTIN, Texas – August 10, 2011 – Formula One’s Bernie Ecclestone was quoted today in the media confirming earlier reports of a revised 2012 F1 schedule, placing the United States Grand Prix on November 18, 2012. The schedule, which contains numerous adjustments from the calendar issued in June by the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile, is not considered official until the World Motor Sports Council ratifies it at its meeting later this year.

[There’s more…]

Complete details of this press release can be seen here.

Of course, Racing Ready is pleased with this race date move confirmation to November 18th, 2012, the weekend just before Thanksgiving.  More here, as things develop at the Circuit of The Americas.
Dan

Formula 1 KHP Consultant Learns Austin’s Influence

A few weeks ago, I received an interesting request to be interviewed regarding my thoughts on Formula 1 in Texas.  This contact came via LinkedIn from KHP Consultant to Formula 1, Michael Cox.

Michael Cox - KHP Consultant

He asked:

“I see that you’re a fellow F1 enthusiast.  I’ve scheduled a trip to Texas in August to meet with F1 stakeholders. Schedule permitting, I would like to meet and gather your thoughts on what’s needed to make F1 a success in Texas.”

So I checked out his profile:

Business Development at KHP Consulting
Motorsport Consultant:
Business Development, Sponsorship, Hospitality, Events, PR
Location: London, United Kingdom

Here’s the introduction to the company Michael works for:

KHP is an international marketing and communications agency.  Since 1984 KHP has been operating mostly in Formula One™ and other motor sports, and more recently in the America’s Cup and Commonwealth Games.  KHP has been an integral force behind the development of Formula One™ from a purist motorsport activity to the lifestyle sport it is today.

Since then, we coordinated & met. Michael had a very interesting & challenging road to get to his position at KHP.  He is very busy traveling across Europe, & will be working between London & Abu Dhabi for the next few months – all business.  Michael has been with KHP for a little over a year, is working hard & enjoying the experience.  To mix it up for his trip back here stateside, he flew into Indianapolis &  then drove his recent model BMW 3-series Coupe down to Austin, TX.  I guess living in Europe makes you want to stretch your road trip travel legs.

To make Michael’s visit more successful,  I hooked him up with other influential Austin-area Formula 1 movers & shakers in the Austin Formula 1 fan community.  We met this past Saturday at Harris Hill Road, while Sondra Sondregger was facilitating another successful Velocity Adventures HPDE (high performance driver education) event.

Michael Cox & Sondra Sondregger at the H2R paddock

 We were able to review the variety of cars participating & vicariously share the experience with the drivers’ enthusiastic comments.

Velocity Adventures HPDE H2R course tracking of curves - fun & educational!

Michael also was able to spent some quality time discussing the challenges of running a motorsports facility, like Harris Hill Road, with Philipp, the H2R General Manager.  Afterwords, I showed Michael around the H2R facility & here we are in the Clubhouse.

Michael Cox & Racing Ready Dan in the H2R Clubhouse

Michael has already completed his visit to the Austin region to better learn how the Formula 1 USGP will be a great influence here in Texas.  In addition, he was able to watch the Hungarian GP at the Austin F1 watch party that took place at Cool River Cafe.  Unfortunately, I could not make it as I had other commitments.

Here’s Michael’s impression of that event in a text he sent me:

 Had a great time.  That’s quite the venue.  This city is definitely excited for F1, great to see!

Racing Ready is continues to assist to advance the Austin F1 USGP racing community.  Michael, thanks for your visit – we look forward to your next rendezvous!

Dan

Possible Austin F1 USGP Date Change Pending

2012 Formula 1

Here’s hot & welcome news excerpts just off the press from autosport.com:

2012 Formula 1 Calendar Set for Major Overhaul

By Jonathan Noble

Although the FIA published its version of the 2012 schedule at its most recent meeting of the FIA World Motor Sport Council last month, it is understood that Ecclestone has undertaken a major reshuffle in the plans for next year.

As well as that, there was some concern in the United States about the possibility of hosting the new race in Austin in June – when very high temperatures could prove troublesome for drivers, teams and spectators.

Sources have revealed that Ecclestone has now finalised his major reorganisation of the calendar, which he has given to the teams for them to highlight any issues they have.

Ecclestone’s plans for the calendar remain provisional, but if teams do not complain about any major logistical dramas then it could be submitted to the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council for ratification later this year.

Here’s the full article!

Racing Ready, & many others, have been hoping the June 17, 2012 pending Austin F1 USGP race date would be moved.  Sometime in October is a more weather friendly fall date.  We shall see!  Stay tuned for more…

Dan

*UPDATE* – This came out in today’s (July 29, 2011) Austin American-Statesman newspaper website.

Here’s 3 excerpted quotes:

– Austin’s inaugural Formula One race in 2012 might be getting a new date one that could set up one of the biggest, wildest weeks in Austin’s sporting history. Imagine the city’s first Grand Prix, which could attract as many as 120,000 fans on a Sunday, followed a few days later by a Thanksgiving Day Texas-Texas A&M football game.

– Further, the traditional Texas-Texas A&M game is scheduled in 2012 for Nov. 22: Thanksgiving Day.

– Formula One, Longhorns and Aggies — it could be one memorable week in November 2012.

Here’s the full article link:
http://www.statesman.com/news/local/reports-say-new-provisional-2012-f1-calendar-moves-1672200.html

WOW!  We’ll all be looking forward to November 18th, 2012!!!

 

F1 German GP Watch Party Fun at Wild Bubba’s

Today, Wild Bubba’s Wild Game Grill hosted a Formula 1 Watch Party to enjoy the German Grand Prix of Nurburgring.

Formula 1 German Grand Prix Nurburgring graphic

I motored up from San Antonio, TX to Elroy,TX – almost 90 miles away.  It’s just about 3 miles south of the Austin Bergstrom International Airport.  Before I arrived I went off to the side road of Piland Triangle.  This is less than 1 mile from Wild Bubba’s location.  Here are the mid-morning shots I took.

COTA Panorama from Piland Triangle - 2011-07-24

The above is a panorama shot I made, showing the location of the pit straight going up to turn 1.  Click the image 2 different times for the best detail…

Below is a construction view (albeit, from a distance) of one of the tunnels.  This one is under the beginning uphill approach to turn 1.

COTA Tunnel Detail from Piland Triangle - 2011-07-24

This is the view from the “right angle” of Piland Triangle.  This image will change significantly, I’m sure, within the coming year!

COTA Turn 1 & beyond from Piland Triangle - 2011-07-24

Arriving at Wild Bubba’s I saw the new, inviting signage – SO much better now!

Wild Bubba's Wild Game Grill new outdoor sign - 2001-07-24

Quite a good number of people showed up to Wild Bubba’s F1 Race Watching Party.  You can see just a few of the fans’ cars parked out front.

Full parking in front of Wild Bubba's for F1 Watch Party - 2011-07-24

More full parking in front of Wild Bubba's for F1 Watch Party - 2011-07-24

Here’s how Wild Bubba’s front door appeared today – this was surely a limited, special engagement!

Wild Bubba's F1 Watch Party Today! - 2011-07-24

Once inside, the crowd of 30 or more Formula 1 race fans gathered to enjoy the 2011 German Formula 1 race.  Wild Bubba & friends had set up 2 good-sized LCD monitors, along with a nice audio system to best appreciate the racing action broadcast on the Fox Network.

Wild Bubba's F1 Watch Party in action - 2011-07-24

Wild Bubba's F1 Race Watch Party in action - 2011-07-24

Now, if you have not yet visited Wild Bubba’s Wild Game Grill, you are in for a surprise regarding the menu.  The key words here are: Wild Game!  Go ahead & review to pre-order -there is definitely no lack of variety!

Wild Bubba's extensive Wild Game Grill menu - What a WILD variety - YUM!

In addition, Wild Bubba’s has just received its beer license.  To celebrate, you can see the great variety of German & German-style beers that are available.  Thirsty yet?

Wild Bubba's Wild Game Grill menu now includes BEER - Drink up, my friend!

 Of course we all know that beer isn’t bought, but you only rent it.  So, with that in mind, I think this is one of the best directional signs in the place!

Best direction sign inside of Wild Bubba's - aim carefully!

There are other lunch-type eateries popping up in Elroy.  But Wild Bubba’s has been around awhile.  Don’t be fooled, there are NO imitations.  This is the eating place of choice for the COTA (Circuit of The Americas) construction crew, I’m told.

Let’s not forget to wish Lewis Hamilton congratulations on his Formula 1 win today!

Lewis Hamilton wins the 2011 German Grand Prix

Although it’s not a nearby drive, Racing Ready was pleased to attend this special event & to be able to report it to you here.  Hope you can make it out to Wild Bubba’s Wild Game Grill, soon!

Dan

Austin Formula 1 COTA Track Drive-Thru Tour

This is a pretty decent (for non-insiders) Formula 1 news review from Austin, Texas.  Here is a local television’s take (“KXAN Exclusive First Look!”) of what is going on with Circuit of The Americas.  This was released earlier this evening.  Click the video screenshot below to click through to the news story!

KXAN Exclusive First Look at Austin Formula 1 Circuit of The Americas!

This video helps the so-called Formula 1 & Circuit of The Americas neophyte learn what is really going on.  Racing Ready approves of this message!  🙂

Dan

V8 Supercars Series Championship at COTA

Wow, 2 days in a row of blockbuster announcements for the Circuit of The Americas (COTA).  This is gaining some great momentum!

V8 Supercars Racing Championship Series logo

V8 Supercars Agrees to Five-Year Deal
With Austin’s Circuit of The Americas(TM)
to Host Championship;
SPEED™ to Broadcast Races
Australia’s Most Popular Motorsports Series
Makes Its First U.S. Home in Austin, Texas

AUSTIN, Texas – June 30, 2011 – V8 Supercars and Circuit of The Americas, along with Texas Governor Rick Perry and Queensland Premier Anna Bligh, announced today a five-year agreement to bring the famous Australian V8 Supercars series to the new Circuit of The Americas beginning in 2013.

“While Texas has established itself as the nation’s place for business, it’s quickly becoming the nation’s place for big sporting events, as well,” said Governor Rick Perry. “V8 Supercars now joins Formula One, MotoGP, NASCAR, the NFL, NBA, NCAA and USTA, among the many that have chosen Texas to host major events in the last few years. This is more good news for the Lone Star State, and will provide a significant boost to the economy of Central Texas.”

“The addition of V8 Supercars into our lineup at Circuit of The Americas will add to what we already know will be a rich and exhilarating fan experience,” said Steve Sexton, President of Circuit of The Americas. “We’re thrilled the racing world is so excited about our facility. Austin is poised to become the premiere North American destination for international motorsports. In addition to hosting the 4 wheel and 2 wheel world championships, the United States will now enjoy the world’s best touring car series here in Austin.”

V8 Supercars is among the fastest growing motorsports in the world. The Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) recently sanctioned it as an international series. The series is enormously popular in Australia and New Zealand and will be making its first entrance into North America at Circuit of The Americas.

V8 Supercars joins the already existing 10-year agreements Circuit of The Americas has to host the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix™ beginning in 2012 and MotoGP World Championship™ beginning in 2013. This first purpose-built Grand Prix facility in the United States is currently under construction in Austin, Texas.

Additionally, SPEED™ will televise the two 200-km (124-mile) races live and in full throughout North and South America.

“I can’t describe how excited we are to bring the V8 Supercars race to such a spectacular facility. With Formula 1 racing, MotoGP and now V8 Supercars, it’s obvious Circuit of The Americas will be a top-notch destination that houses the best racing on earth, and we are thrilled to be a part of it,” said Tony Cochrane, Chairman of V8 Supercars.

“We have expanded V8 Supercars’ geographical influence over the past few years with plans to stage up to six races each year to complement our existing events in Australia, New Zealand and the Middle East,” added Cochrane. “Our entrance into the United States marks a new day for the series and we’re excited for Americans to experience what has made V8 Supercars so popular in many places around the world.”

Formerly the Australian Touring Car Championship, the current series was devised in 1993 and branded as “V8 Supercars” in 1997. The cars are based on modified versions of Australia’s two most popular – and most rivaled – passenger cars, the Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore.

V8 Supercars continues as one of Australia’s largest sports both in attendance and television viewership. In 2010, approximately 1.7 million people attended V8 Supercars events, including V8 Supercars’ 20 millionth spectator at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.

V8 Supercars Racing Series Championship - USA debut at COTA in 2013!

About the V8 Supercars Championship

The V8 Supercars Championship is one of the worlds’ largest and best-known touring car categories, recognized internationally as a leader in motorsport and entertainment. The Championship consists of 15 events across Australia, New Zealand and the Middle East in 2011, as well as racing at the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix™.

In 2010, more than 1.8 million people attended a V8 Supercars event. Every race is telecast live on the Seven Network across Australia and the TV3 Network in New Zealand. In addition, more than 130 countries telecast V8 Supercars live, as-live or on delay, dependent on time zone and programming. The massive SPEED™ network in North and South America and ESPN Star throughout Asia are among the sport’s major international broadcasters.

In 2011, V8 Supercars was granted ‘international status’ by the world governing body of motorsport, the FIA, which enables it to race at up to six international destinations outside of Australia and New Zealand each year, elevating the sport to the top tier of all categories worldwide.

The Championship’s world-renowned races include the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide, Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, Armor All Gold Coast 600 and the season-ending Sydney Telstra 500 on the streets of Olympic Park in Sydney.

Backing for the sport is at an all-time high with annual sponsorship in excess of $150 million across the 18 teams and Championship series. V8 Supercars’ major sponsor is Australia’s largest Internet service provider, Telstra BigPond. Its sponsors also include multinational companies, with FMGC partners becoming increasingly prominent. Etihad Airways recently became the official international airline of V8 Supercars.

All V8 Supercars run on 85 percent CSR Ethanol, a renewable fuel bi-product of the sugar refining process.

More information can be found at http://v8supercars.com.au

About Circuit of The Americas™

Circuit of The Americas™ will be a world-class destination for performance, education and business. It will be the first purpose-built Grand Prix facility in the United States designed for any and all classes of racing, from motor power to human power. It will be the U.S. home to both the Formula 1 and MotoGP Grand Prix World Championships.

The Circuit of The Americas™ master plan features a variety of permanent structures designed for business, education, entertainment and race use. Its signature element will be a 3.4-mile (5.5-km) circuit track with capacity for 120,000 fans. Other support buildings will include a medical trauma and care training facility, 14 executive meeting suites, a conference center, a banquet hall as well as an expansive outdoor live music space.

Future proposed amenities include a driving/riding experience, a motorsports driving club, kart track, grand plaza event center and tower, and a trackside recreational vehicle park.

For more information and downloadable video, audio and photos, visit: CircuitofTheAmericas.com.

Media Inquiries:
Russ Rhea
Representing Circuit of The Americas™
Office: 512-344-2040
russ@hahntexas.com

Racing Ready is striving to get more involved. This announcement makes COTA even more important for the South/Central Texas region.

Dan