Austin F1 Track Adds MotoGP Race, Plans Additional Facilities
The F1 track in Austin "will be the host of not one, but two huge international motor races, and the project, now pegged with a $400 million price tag, will include a conference center, a 22-story signature tower and possibly a hotel," according to Maher & Novak of the AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN. The track, "newly christened the Circuit of the Americas, Tuesday added a premier" MotoGP event that "will begin a 10-year run" in '13. The new race is "just one of the plans for the growing development." Investor Bobby Epstein said that the site has "swelled from the original 970 acres to 1,100." A 40,000-square-foot conference center is "on the drawing board as well as 14 executive meeting suites," and Epstein said that talks "are at a 'good stage' with a major hotel developer to build a hotel at the venue." The track also "will have a 5,500-square-foot medical facility," and it will be "able to handle outdoor concerts drawing up to 35,000 fans." Full Throttle Productions Managing Partner Tavo Hellmund said that "one or two more large motor races might be added and that running and bicycling events could be held there as well." He added that there are "ongoing talks with two auto manufacturers about building a research and development facility at the site." The initial estimates to build the track alone were around $200M, and organizers "did not say where the money would come from to build the growing complex." Maher & Novak note the track was designed by "racing-savvy German engineering firm" Tilke GmbH. But while that company is "in charge of the track, Dallas-based HKS Inc. is responsible for the fan experience and amenities." It appears that "local architects will design the signature structure, a 22-story tower with a museum at the base that will overlook the 3.4-mile circuit and offer a view of the Austin skyline" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 4/13). Former Vikings Owner Red McCombs, an investor in the Austin track, said that the project "has broken ground and 'we're meeting the construction milestones.'" McCombs: "It is a big deal and we're all so excited about it" (L.A. TIMES, 4/13).