Austin Formula One Races the Clock
Construction moves at a clip at F1 track
Will the Circuit of the Americas be finished in time for Austin's first Formula One race? During a site visit on July 27, the project team explained the current state of construction. The track (shown here as it rises up to Turn 1) is still being laid, with the final layer of pavement expected Aug. 14 and 15: Due to the high demands of F1 racing, that will have to be done in one go, with three asphalt trucks running side-by-side to ensure a seamless surface. The main permanent structures – the grandstand (right), the media center (left), and the team garages – have been built and are being finished out. Meanwhile, the signature 23-story viewing tower – which will stand over the recently announced 15,000-capacity Tower Amphitheater – is being assembled using five pre-engineered components. Construction was delayed last year as a battle between project creator Tavo Hellmund and his investors brought it skidding to a halt. However, that conflict bought the engineers more time as the race was pushed back from its original date of June 17 to its current slot on the calendar: Nov. 18. Now the circuit is up against a clock: The circuit must reach critical safety and performance standards before the race can take place. Project engineers say they are confident they'll be ready when FIA Formula One Race Director Charlie Whiting makes his pre-race inspection Sept. 25.