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Impressions of the Austin track from the ground


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#1 Dan333SP

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 05:15

I'm here in Austin for the GP, and wondering what everyone thinks about the track so far? After barely making it to FP2 today because of delayed flights, I was expecting to be frustrated. I have to admit, I've been really, really impressed so far with the circuit and the facilities. It's a fantastic track to view on as a general admission spectator. There were also more spectators there today than any Friday I've seen in Montreal since J Villeneuve was a contender. Nearly every corner is accessible to GA spectators with clear lines of sight around the track and lots of jumbotrons. No covering up the good views with boards and tarps like they do in Canada, forcing you to buy a grandstand seat. They have done a great job of providing a huge variety of (typically overpriced) food and wine vendors. There are food trucks from all around Austin parked all over the circuit, especially at the main plaza, and from the smells of it they're all much better than any trackside food I've ever gotten in Montreal (where I've been going for 12 years). The staff and people in attendance have all been exceptionally nice and helpful. The elevation around the track is remarkable- much more than I was expecting after playing sim games and watching videos of it. The parking/walking aspect is easier so far than expected. I'm parking in a lot just behind my grandstand at T11 (hairpin), and I had no trouble getting in and out today, and walking the whole track is easy except for a portion in front of the T12 grandstand that is a massive chokepoint as spectators walk in front of the stands. I'll be sure to come really early and stay late for the next 2 days this weekend to avoid a traffic nightmare. I also am impressed by the enormous tower that stands overlooking the whole circuit, but I can't figure out how to get into it/how much it costs. I'm assuming it's something stupid like $50 to spend 10 minutes up there, but the view is surely spectacular.

My only 2 real complaints- The support paddock is totally inaccessible to spectators, and the track infrastructure is still maybe only 85% complete. One of the highlights of the Montreal weekend for me is walking in the support paddock at the far end of the circuit, looking at the cars and chatting with the drivers. This is especially cool when the historic GP cars are racing, as they are this weekend in Austin. However, that critical element of fan interaction with F1's past is missing because the area is totally off limits. As for the incomplete bits, it's mostly just things like landscaping and finishing lots/bathrooms. The ground is mostly dirt and rocks which makes walking difficult at times, and the main amphitheater is not complete so it can't be used for concerts in the way it was intended yet. Walking along all these dusty paths, I'm just thankful that the weather has been absolutely perfect because a heavy rain would turn the entire trackside area into a mud bowl.

Anyway, I've attached some pics from today, and I'm looking forward to hearing about other people's impressions of the track-
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Edited by Dan333SP, 17 November 2012 - 05:22.


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#2 senna da silva

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 05:21

Montreal is over rated in so many ways!

#3 repcobrabham

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 07:52

nice one :up: have fun! i think blocking off the support paddock is a rookie error but the failure to meet construction deadlines is a worry for a number of reasons. apart from that, though, it looks really good. the track itself sounds and looks promising.

#4 Ralliart

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 08:04

Drivers are saying place(s) to pass are non-existent. Way to go Tilke circuit-builders! First turn reminds of old Osterreichring's Hella Licht corner, but without passing areas, it's a failure.

#5 bourbon

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 09:55

I"m digging the whole experience. There are a few details like paving and finishing work that will have to take place for next year, but on the whole (and due to the good weather), it is very conducive to a great race experience.