Circuit of the Americas

X Games Austin
10:00 am
Mon June 9, 2014

Photos: The X Games, Texas Style

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

Update: Check out our photos from the first ever Austin X Games in the slideshow above. And see more on the KUTX Flickr page.

Original Story (June 6): The X Games are underway for the first time in Austin.

Most of the extreme sports events are happening at the Circuit of the Americas track.

Morgan Wade has competed in the X Games before. But this year will be different… because he’s practically a hometown boy.

“It’s always nice to have a hometown crowd cheering you on," Wade says. "It’s different than all the other places we’ve been, obviously, because Texas is bigger and better than everywhere else we’ve already been.”

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Austin
12:42 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Eckhardt Criticizes McCombs for Seeking Tax Breaks, Suing Appraisal District

Travis County Judge Candidate Sarah Eckhardt criticized Texas booster and San Antonio billionaire Red McCombs over his request for tax breaks from the county.
facebook.com/saraheckhardtaustin

This is an excerpt from an article written by our Austin City Hall reporting partner, the Austin Monitor (formerly In Fact Daily).

Travis County Judge candidate Sarah Eckhardt continued her verbal campaign against billionaire businessman Red McCombs Thursday, taking him to task for asking taxpayers to contribute millions of dollars to build the Circuit of the Americas race track but going to court to get his property tax bill on the facility lowered.

Eckhardt, a former Pct. 2 Commissioner who is running for the top job in Travis County, issued a statement criticizing McCombs – one of the developers of the Formula 1 race track – for throwing his political and financial weight around to get what he wants.

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Austin
11:27 am
Wed January 8, 2014

iHeartRadio Country Fest Will Head to Frank Erwin Center

Florida Georgia Line will play both Red Fest and iHeartRadio's Country Fest.
flickr.com/concerttour

Austin's got another music festival. 

Today, iHeartRadio announced a one-day country festival, featuring Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean and Lady Antebellum, among others. 

The Clear Channel-sponsored, Bobby Bones-hosted festival will descend upon the Frank Erwin Center on March 29th, making it the second country music fest planned for May 2014, after Jeff Foxworthy's Natty Light-sponsored Red Fest at Circuit of the Americas. 

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Formula 1
6:02 am
Fri November 15, 2013

F1 is Back in Austin – So What's Actually Happening On the Track?

An aerial view of the Circuit of the Americas racetrack.
Judi Radice Hays

A version of this story first ran Nov. 16, 2012.

Formula One events begin today at the Circuit of the Americas track.

F1 doesn’t have a huge following in the U.S. – it’s only in its second year in Austin – and a lot of people may not know the first thing about the sport. Here's what we learned about the basics.

First things first: what is the “formula”?

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Formula 1
12:24 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

What Austin’s Doing – and Isn’t Doing – for F1 After Last Year

A classic racer at last year’s F1 expo. Austin is making a more measured predictions after hosting its first Formula 1 race last year.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

This time last year, many local businesses were staffed up and overstocked.

In the weeks and months prior to its first Formula 1 Grand Prix, Austin prepared to host thousands of fans from around the globe.

With the sport attracting a coterie of high rollers, business expectations were high. The Austin Better Business Bureau even urged local businesses to consider accepting foreign currency.

For some, the event brought an increase in business. But for many vendors and retailers, the crowds never seemed to show up.

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Formula 1
11:20 am
Thu November 14, 2013

MAP: F1 Fan Fest Road Closures in Downtown Austin

A scene at last year's Austin Fan Fest on F1 weekend.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Update: Austin's second Formula 1 weekend has come and gone. Now comes the exodus of fans and visitors.

Read more here: Record Airport Travel Expected as Austin F1 Ends; Downtown Road Closures Persist (MAP)

Original story: It’s Grand Prix weekend in Austin, and that means tens of thousands of visitors coming to Central Texas. It also means a free downtown festival focused on racing activities, vintage vehicles and live music.

Austin Fan Fest starts today and runs through midnight every day, except Sunday when it ends at 8 p.m.

Road closures for the festival began Wednesday and will continue through Sunday. Street closures stretch from Congress Avenue to San Antonio Street and between Second and Fifth Streets.

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Del Valle
9:56 am
Tue September 24, 2013

County Commissioners Approve Some Proposed Roads Near F1 Racetrack (Update)


View Proposed Roads Near F1 Racetrack in a larger map

Update: Travis County Commissioners have agreed to fund the construction of a new road in Del Valle near the Circuit of the Americas track using non-taxpayer approved bonds. Commissioner Margaret Gomez, who represents the area where the road will be built, says the project is critical for economic development.

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Formula 1
7:33 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

Is Driving on Austin's F1 Track Worth $55,000?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/oxherder/8258420452/

If you ever wanted to ride an Formula 1 track in your own car, the Circuit of the Americas is now selling the opportunity. A full-day private track rental goes for $55,000. Group rates are available at $2,500 per person.

"Response has been strong with more than 250 people expressing interest within the first few days of offering the experience online," Circuit Executive Vice President Bruce Knox said in a press release. 

For a sport that caters to people who commute by helicopter and drop $10,000 on bottle service, it's probably not shocking to see a $55,000 price tag attached to a single day of entertainment. But how does it stack up against the competition? We poked around and found out. 

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Austin
1:54 pm
Fri May 24, 2013

How Many 'Austin Bashing' Bills Made It Out of the Lege? (Update)

With five Austin-centric bills this session alone, lawmakers are keeping a keen eye on the Austin City Council this legislative session.
flickr.com/atmtx

Update: The legislative session adjourns Monday – and Austin City Council members can breathe a collective sigh of relief.

All of the bills below disappeared into the legislative black hole – that is, they either never made it out of committee, or were never cleared for a vote.

Update (March 26): Here’s some additional bills that meet the Austin City Council’s definition of “Austin bashing” – legislation that would defang local policies.

  • HB 1858, Rep. Paul Workman (R-Austin)

The bill would ban cities from restricting the removal of trees if a developer or land owner deems the tree to be a fire hazard. Opponents worry the bill provides a work-around the city’s Heritage Tree Ordinance, and point to an additional piece of Workman legislation, HB 3087, as creating additional development loopholes for removing trees.

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Austin
4:41 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

City Council OK’s COTA Bid to Lure X Games to Austin

The Circuit of the Americas Track could be the next venue for the Summer X Games. The games are currently held across multiple venues in Los Angeles, like L.A. Live.
flickr.com/g155

Update: Today the Austin City Council gave the go-ahead to the Circuit of the Americas’s attempt to secure a three-year Summer X Games contract.

The city approval allows COTA to seek state money and incentives under the Events Trust Fund during the bid process for the games. It also includes $150,000 in fee waivers for police overtime and trash clean-up.

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Austin
12:34 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

The X Games Could Come to Austin Next Summer

Motocross jumping could become a familiar sight at the Circuit of the Americas, if Austin secures a three year X Games contract.
flickr.com/mustmoto

Update: It's official: The X Games are coming to Austin. Read more here from KUT News.

Original post: Austin could be getting extreme in the summer of 2014.

The Circuit of the Americas announced yesterday that the 1500 acre racetrack and concert venue is on a list of four finalists to host the 2014 Summer X Games and enter into a three-year contract with ESPN, the event’s sponsor.

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Austin
5:08 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

Austin Police on 'Heightened Alert' for MotoGP

Police Chief Art Acevedo advises Austinites to stay "vigilant" in light of the attacks in Boston.
Andrew Weber for KUT News

Austin Police say they will step up security this weekend as the city gets ready to host a major international sporting event.

Moto GP comes to the Circuit of the Americas for three days, and organizers say they expect tens of thousands of people to show up. Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo says the explosions at the Boston Marathon will lead to more awareness this weekend as the motorcycle racing fans roll in.

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Austin
3:50 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Get to the Chopper: Suggestions May Smooth Helicopter Service

Helicopter operations could change in time for Austin's 2013 F1 race.
twitter.com/Austin_Police

Whirlybirds, eggbeaters, choppers — whatever you want to call them — helicopters brought some kind of ruckus over 2012’s Formula 1 weekend. And now a group is looking at what can make for a less turbulent 2013.

Over 265,000 attendees descended on the Formula 1 track over race weekend, according to the Circuit of the America's count. And as F1 attracts its fair share of uber-wealthy racing fans, many skipped ground transportation altogether in favor of helicopters.

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Arts and Culture
12:02 pm
Mon January 21, 2013

Circuit of the Americas Opening Music Venue in Spring

The Tower Amphitheater will have a capacity for over 15,000 fans
http://toweramphitheater.com/

The Circuit of the Americas announced today that they will debut their shiny new music venue, the Tower Amphitheater, this spring with a concert featuring country music star Kenny Chesney on April 5.

COTA officials say the festival will bring new opportunities to the complex largely known for motorsports, and that they plan on scheduling 15 to 20 shows a year to keep the circuit occupied between race days.

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Formula 1
5:18 pm
Thu January 3, 2013

How Austin's F1 Track Stands to Benefit From the 'Fiscal Cliff' Bill (Update)

The Circuit of the Americas track. COTA may reap tax benefits that were quietly extended in the "fiscal cliff" bill.
flickr.com/acousticdimensions

Update: Here’s more details on the tax break the Circuit of the Americas may be able to capitalize on:  It’s called accelerated depreciation, and gives COTA a fast, seven-year write off on the value of their investment, which may have been as much as $400 million. 

COTA officials says they’re pleased to have the tax break, but say they did not lobby for it. “We did monitor the issue as it moved forward, but were not directly involved in pursuing the extension itself," says spokesperson Ali Putnam.

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Austin City Council
10:11 am
Thu December 13, 2012

City Council Preview: Circuit of the Americas’ Big Ask, Affordable Housing & More

City Hall is filled to the brim with council action today.
flickr.com/atmtx

The days go by so fast: Today marks the last Austin City Council meeting of the year. And at 98 items, it’s going out with a bang. Here ‘s what council has stuffed in their stocking:

Don’t Start Your Engines?: An organizing group with the Circuit of the Americas just received more than $29 million from the state’s Major Events Trust Fund to help pay for costs associated with putting on November’s Formula 1 event.

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Formula 1
1:18 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

F1 Organizers Get $29.3 Million From State Comptroller

How much F1 'fueled' Austin's economy is yet to be determined.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

The Texas Comptroller has paid the organizers of Austin’s Formula 1 race more than $29 million from the state’s Major Events Trust Fund.

The trust fund uses tax revenues generated by an event to cover expenses related to the event.

“We pay them back $29.3 million because we’re saying, basically, that there’s been an incremental tax increase of $29.3 million so we’re going to let you have that money to pay you back for expenses that you had bringing the event here," Lauren Willis, director of communications for the Texas Comptroller, says.

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Formula 1
2:42 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

What Austin Needs to Know About the Actual F1 Race This Weekend

An F1 racer parked in downtown Austin promotes the race.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Ready or not, Formula 1 has arrived.

As Austin readies for an onslaught of some 100,000 visitors, we’ve heard lots about traffic planshelicopter permits, and even counter-terrorism measures.  But what about the actual race: the cars, the drivers and the sport itself? Confused? KUT News has assembled a primer on this weekend’s Formula 1 race.

  • What Sort of Cars Are These?

The FIA Formula One World Championship is the highest class of single-seater auto racing that is authorized by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile.

The "formula" in Formula 1 refers to a set of guidelines that each racing car must adhere to. The results are state-of-the-art.

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Formula 1
2:15 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

Can You Break a Euro? Group Urges Local Businesses to Accept Foreign Currency During F1

The Better Business Bureau notes foreign tourists may not have converted their currency to greenbacks.
Flickr user Images of Money, bit.ly/LeSsiT

Tens of thousands of Formula 1 fans are making their way to Austin for this weekend’s Grand Prix. Many are from foreign countries.

The Austin Better Business Bureau says business owners should be prepared to accept foreign currency or else they may lose out on some customers.

The BBB says business owners should be aware of ever-changing exchange rates and should talk to their banks about whether they’ll charge extra for depositing foreign currency.

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formula 1
7:29 pm
Wed November 7, 2012

Safety First: City Unveils Public Safety Plans for F1 Weekend

Police Chief Art Acevedo and City Manager Marc Ott talk about the increased public safety measure taken for F1 weekend
Tyler Pratt for KUT News

The City of Austin says it’s prepared to handle any and all public safety issues that may arise during the upcoming F1 weekend 10 days from now.

“I’m smiling because I’m ready,” said Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo. “We’ll absolutely have a tremendously positive impact in terms of public safety and in terms of the enjoyment of our residents and our visitors.”

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