The United States Grand Prix organisers have confirmed the location of the proposed circuit to be built in readiness for Formula 1’s return to the country in 2012, in addition to revealing the identity of some of the backers behind the project.
The press conference held overnight seemingly puts some recent speculation – that the project was doomed before it even got off the ground – to bed, and will serve to give prospective investors, fans and the F1 community at large more confidence about the event.
Event promoter Tavo Hellmund confirmed that well-known American businessman Red McCombs will help bankroll the event, with additional support from former 500cc motorcycle world champion Kevin Schwantz.
The new purpose-built circuit, Hellmund confirmed, would be located to Austin’s south-east near its international airport, in an area known as Wandering Creek.
Hellmund was keen to stress that his event – unlike a host of predecessor events in the USA – would finally succeed in bringing F1 to the masses long-term because it was being held on a permanent circuit.
“People have been commenting that F1 hasn’t stuck in the United States, but that is actually completely inaccurate,” Hellmund said. “F1 was immensely successful from 1960 to 1980 when it was at a permanent road course facility (Sebring, Riverside and Watkins Glen).
McCombs – once listed as one of the 400 richest Americans, with wealth earned though his numerous business interests, including owning NFL and NBA teams – was equally excited about his involvement.
“Bringing Formula 1 back to the United States represents the opportunity of a lifetime and one that any city in the world would want.
“The size and scope of an F1 event is comparable to hosting a Super Bowl and will bring substantial economic benefit to Austin, San Antonio and the entire State of Texas.
“We know Tavo has a clear vision for developing Formula 1 into a major event with year-round opportunities. Over the past few years, he has built a solid business foundation and has assembled a great team – one we are proud to be part of. We are ready to roll-up our sleeves and work alongside Tavo to make this project a huge success,” he added.
McCombs was also keen to stress that, despite concerns, the circuit would be completed on time for a 2012 event.
“Bernie said: ‘How do you think you are going to get a facility built in Austin in time for the 2012 race’. I told him remember you are talking about doing this in Texas, we are not talking about doing it anywhere else. We have that reputation.”
[Original image via The Cahier Archive]