The organizers of the Formula One United States Grand Prix have released detailed plans of the circuit which will be built on a site located southeast of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in Texas. The promoter of the race, Full Throttle Productions LP, will host the race from 2012 to 2021 and chairman of the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix, Tavo Hellmund, was pleased with the circuit lay-out.
In the press release Hellmund said, "In the modern era of Grand Prix racing, I think this track layout and topography will be very special." The 3.4 mile (5.7 km) long circuit runs anti-clockwise, has 20 turns and an elevation change of 133 feet (40.5 meters). It has a long straight of approximately three-quarters of a mile (1,200 meters), the track itself will be between 39 and 52 feet wide. The circuit has been designed by German architect Hermann Tilke.
According to Hellmund the estimated top speed on the new circuit will be around 200 mph. "It will have many of the elements of previous 'classic' circuits combined with the benefits of FIA-mandated safety for the competitors and spectators alike," Hellmund said. "Add in the amenities fans have come to expect, like rare, multiple-turn viewing opportunities for added value, and you have an ideal, world-class venue."
The press release also stated the circuit 'combines modern features with details reminiscent of traditional races from the 1960's'. Hellmund is adamant the circuit is not just another Hermann Tilke circuit: "In the modern era of Grand Prix racing, I think this track layout and topography will be very special."
"For the competitors, we'll have all the ingredients necessary," Hellmund added. "You'll see fast turns that require commitment from the drivers and technical turns that will test the engineers from a set-up point of view. We have a good deal of elevation to make it not only scenic but challenging also, and the view of downtown Austin is wonderful as well."
In an interview with the Austin-American Statesman, Hellmund said he expects Turn One, which is also the highest point of the circuit, will become the 'signature corner' of the circuit and he believes it will be one of the four corners which will give drivers the best opportunity for overtaking. "Everybody will pull out and probably go three-wide into that braking turn."
Hellmund also defended the German Tilke GmbH company, because many fans and drivers feel the design of the Tilke circuits is responsible for the lack of overtaking opportunities in modern Formula One, and said the the design of modern Formula One cars is to blame for the lack of overtaking maneuvres, rather than the design of the circuit: "They [the cars] are so on the ragged edge that it's hard to pass."
The sections 3,4,5 and 6 have been designed to resemble the famous Maggots-Becketts corners at the British Silverstone circuit, while sections 12, 13, 14 and 15 will have 'the feel of the Hockenheimring in Germany.' Turns 16,17 and 18 were inspired by Turn 8 at the Istanbul circuit in Turkey, and according to Hellmund they will be 'similar to one gigantic turn'.
The circuit will offer a good vantage point for spectators, due to the changes in elevation which will serve as natural grandstands. "The most essential thing is that has to be a masterpiece in its suitability for fans. Spectators have to be able to see large parts of the track from wherever they are," commented Hellmund.
The circuit can accommodate up to 140,000 spectators; there is room for 20,000 spectators on the main grandstand at the start/finish line, and another 50,000 spectators will find a seat on the other grandstands. The plans also include a Medical Center, a Media Center, a Broadcast Center and apart from the pit building, also special team buildings.
The costs for building the track itself are estimated around $220 million dollar, while the organizers expect the Grand Prix will bring the state of Texas between $200 million and $400 million per year. McCombs Enterprises, the investment management division for McCombs Partners, will be the main investor of this project.