Austin F1 Track Update

By , September 27, 2011 12:11 am

Still a baking 102 degrees in Austin on Sunday, but I thought it was about time I ventured out to the track site again. It was a little hard to discern progress from ground level, but it is evident that things are moving forward at a reasonable rate.

Track Access Improvements

Progress on track construction is being slowed because of work on the main route into the track (FM812). The road is being widened near the track entrance to give additional lanes, as this section of the 812 is currently one lane in each direction. The photograph below gives an idea of how the work is progressing.

Work on Track Access from FM812

Work on Track Access from FM812

Apparently work on access is actually delaying the next stage of track construction. Looking at the somewhat half-hearted effort that the Texas Department of Transport (TxDOT) seems to be making on the job, I feel inclined to encourage them to realize they are a pretty vital link in a chain of events that need to happen for the track to be ready!

As far as I can tell, on race day there will be a contraflow system used, with 3 lanes going South into the track and one lane North. Looking at the problems at Silverstone experienced some years ago on race day for the British GP, when some people completely missed the race because they were stuck in traffic, I am still concerned that access is not going to be adequate, even if a lot of people use the proposed “Park ‘n Drive”.

Where EXACTLY is the Track?

One of the questions that I get asked most often is from people living in the Austin area who have yet to visit the track: “I know the track is somewhere near the airport but where EXACTLY is it?”. Well, the easiest way to get there is to head South on Highway 183 from Austin, passing the Highway 71 turn for the airport, and then take the next exit, which is FM812. Head East on 812, and after you pass under Toll road 130/45 the track is just over a mile further on your left.

I am also seeing some artistic license being show on the position of the track in relation to downtown – for example, images showing the track framed by the Austin skyline.  To test this out, I went to the highest p0int of the track, and looking towards Austin this is the view I could see (with the Austin Bergstrom airport control tower also visible). Bear in mind I was using a 10x zoom to get this perspective. So, yes the track is close to Austin, but don’t get to thinking the cars will be heard from Congress Avenue!

Austin F1 Expo (Experience)

Great news here!  There seems an inevitable momentum to creating an event showing the full F1 experience through an “Expo” which will take place a few weeks ahead of Austin’s inaugural GP. When I met with CoTA recently they confirmed their interest in such an event as part of the drumbeat leading to the race, and will offer their support.

So, we are looking to hold it either mid-June at the Austin Convention Center, or mid-August during the season break at the Palmer Event Center. LOTS more on this soon!

One Response to “Austin F1 Track Update”

  1. Richard Massi says:

    I’m not sure if this race will ever happen. First thing they have to understand is, Bernie has 4 more countries standing in line with CASH and it will be his contract or no contract. They should have realized that long ago. Now that he has New Jersey, Austin is expendable. If they really want this to happen, get on with it…….Remember, it’s Bernie’s way, or the highway…….

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