Austin Race Roundup #5

News + highlights about Austin Hotels and Formula One

There are less than four days until the start of the 2012 Formula One season in Melbourne, Australia. Elements are in place to make this the most intense year for F1 ever – the most races in one season (Twenty!) and the most world champions ever on track (Six! Sebastian Vettel, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen, Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher). Of course, 2012 is also the inaugural year for the US Grand Prix in Austin, Texas. We’ve gathered some of the most relevant stories from the last few weeks for this Roundup:

  • The Formula Expo™ has been officially announced and sanctioned by the Circuit of the Americas™. It’s being produced be a local Austin company and will be the first major public showcase of Formula One teams in the city. Visitors will experience the marriage of the most advanced race cars and worldwide sport prestige, and learn why Austin’s role as the host city is a grand honor. Tickets are on sale now.

Formula Expo Logo

  • Former F1 driver David Coulthard endorses the Circuit of the Americas layout once again. Last summer, he arrived here with a Red Bull F1 car, drove it on the under-construction dirt F1 track, filmed a promotional video which included cowboys, and headlined a high-profile F1 party at the W Hotel.  He also praises Austin’s citizens, quipping “three of the last five playmates of the year have come from Austin.” We love you too, DC. Read more in this 2012 F1 season circuit guide.
  • The Circuit of the Americas is still working to contact the potential Personal Seat License buyers who placed their $100 (refundable) deposit. Note that these are different from General Admission tickets, which will go on sale early in the Summer. PSLs give you a 15-year license to your seat and priority access to tickets and parking. Prices range from the low $1,000′s – $5,000, plus the cost of a season ticket.
  • COTA is also posting frequent construction photo updates. Their images of the pit building and grandstand construction can be seen in our gallery above. The author’s most recent visit to the track was on a day when 642 workers were building, digging, and transporting materials. We can assure you they are working almost constantly with a real sense of dedication and urgency to complete the circuit by the August FIA inspection date.
  • Finally, COTA is putting the tech world of F1 into your hands with an application to be developed by Austin’s Phunware. According to the press release, “the Circuit of The Americas mobile application will feature a 3-D interactive map and virtual tour of the venue, a guide to Austin with area information and news, alerts and videos highlighting activities throughout race weekend.” We’re hoping they’ll integrate live parking and shuttle transport information!
  • UK residents – the Austin GP might help you get here faster all year ’round. The Phunware press release also included this nice travel nugget:  “Mayor Lee Leffingwell and representatives from the City of London reviewed the possibility of a direct flight between Austin and London to support the Formula 1 teams as well as travelers to the event. The creation of such a nonstop flight could result in accelerating a permanent route, one of the many benefits on the horizon as a result of Formula 1 returning to the United States.” There’s not an official announcement on this, but it’s a nice idea.
  • Of course, there is the intrinsic drama of Formula One that will always cast its shadow over Austin as long as we’re involved with it. News is circulating that the planned MotoGP race may not make it to Austin by 2013 because COTA does not hold the rights to host it. Local news source, the Austin American-Statesman, reveals letters between Kevin Schwantz, motorcycle legend and Austin resident, and Steve Sexton, President of COTA. Read on for this week’s entry in the F1 soap opera.

Austin’s economy is in great shape, and we have the hotel development to prove it. Here are just a few of the many Austin hotels in the planning or construction stage:

  • The Hyatt Place – Downtown Austin, a 296-room hotel opening Spring 2013, is being built one block from the Austin Convention Center. Regular construction updates are posted on their Facebook page.


austin hotel hyatt place downtown

Hyatt Place Hotel Downtown Austin

  • A Hampton Inn with 137 rooms will open just north of Downtown, near the University of Texas, later this year.


Austin hotel hampton inn lavaca

Hampton Inn - Austin

  • The Grand Austin Hotel at Waller Creek will the Austin’s newest Convention Center hotel, and if built as planned, the city’s tallest building. At 1,035 rooms, it will help to ease the strain of finding a room during events like SXSW, Austin City Limits, and the USGP.


Austin Hotel Waller Grand Gensler

Grand Austin Hotel at Waller Creek

  • A new luxury hotel concept for North Austin’s Domain shopping center is set to open early 2013. Lone Star Court will be a motor court style hotel, styled of “Texas Hill Country inspired luxury” in a fairly new section of Austin. The hotel will have 123 rooms, with nightly live music and is described a business “ranch-tech” property.


austin hotel lone star court valencia group

Lone Star Court Hotel

That’s all for now – keep checking back for updated hotel rates and reviews, and we’ll keep bringing you the news!

COTA Track construction photos with captions:


Pit building

Circuit of the Americas Pit Building

austin f1 cota view of pit building from track level

Circuit of the Americas - Pit building

austin f1 cota pit building turn 1

Circuit of the Americas Pit Building from Turn 1


Circuit of the Americas Grandstand frame

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