Formula Expo took place in Austin, TX this past weekend. It was a good gathering of some of the sights & information all about Formula 1. It’s intent to was to help introduce the world of Formula 1 to Austinites & others of us in the region.
I attended midday on Saturday. Overall a saw a LOT of young families. That is good for the sport. There were others of us that are dyed in the wool fans of F1. On display were a variety of automotive vendors, both high end retail (Lotus, Ferrari, etc.), exotic car rentals & experiences, as well as motorsports shops & racing education schools. Many F1 driving simulators that had consistent lines of waiting fans were available. In addition, & what I most appreciated, were the historic Formula 1 cars on display, circa 1978-80. You can see how Formula 1 race car technology has significantly evolved!
Next was a Formula 1 visual history wall. The brothers from Sutton Images had assembled a brief, but very comprehensive display of Formula 1 history, from pictures they had taken over the years. The pictures were well taken & some of them elicited some strong emotions of awe, excitement, wonder & sadness, especially from seeing fallen heroes of Formula 1’s rich past.
Here’s an image that you will want to refer back to when RUSH, the F1 racing movie comes out in the Spring of 2013. This is the story that Ron Howard is directing & is currently editing about the competitive F1 rivalry, in 1976, between Niki Lauda & James Hunt. Howard has been taking much care to keep the visuals & the racing recreations in the film to be as accurate as possible. I know this will be a film I will be adding to my collection next year!
The folks from Circuit of The Americas gave a nice turn-by-turn review of the track. In addition, they gave some good overviews of racing spectator sight lines from the future grassy knolls & as yet to be built grandstands around the track.
Toward the end of my visit, I was interviewed by Jon Massengale & Les Kiser of SpeedCityPodcast.com, in conjunction with Austin’s ESPN radio affiliate 104.9FM – The Horn. I was talking with Jon about how San Antonio is slowly awakening to the realization of the Formula 1 experience actually coming to fruition in Austin. I explained my contribution of the SAF1C Race Watch Parties that we’ve started in San Antonio this F1 season. Also, I explained I want to find out what more the San Antonio business community will be doing about participating in the Formula 1 event. I hope to find that short interview & post it here later.
On my way home, I stopped by Harris Hill Raceway, by Mazda & visited with Philipp Huebner, H2R Site Manager. He explained that San Marcos hotel bookings for the November 2012 Formula 1 weekend are getting filled up fast. Also, the folks at the San Marcos Municipal Airport are seeing many reservations being placed for helicopter shuttle rides between there & CoTA. Makes sense to me.
I was able to speak to many people who have been longtime faithful believers in Formula 1 coming to South/Central Texas. They note that the response & numbers of people becoming interested has started to exponentially increase within the last month. I was told that as recently as a month ago, non-F1 fans in Austin who had heard about Formula 1 & CoTA being built still didn’t think it was moving forward. Well, that sentiment has changed. Having Formula Expo as the catalyst will give a great uptick & interest. Local & international ticket sales have met & exceeded expectations.
Still, many in Austin have NO idea what the Formula 1 “machine” will bring to the Austin & South.Central Texas business & motorsports community. I say it will be all good – BRING THE RACE ON !