Construction begins at new US GP venue
|By Jonathan Noble||Friday, December 31st 2010, 10:21 GMT|
United States Grand Prix officials have proved they are firmly on course to get the new Austin track ready on time for its inaugural 2012 race after finally beginning construction work on the circuit.
Following behind-the-scenes progress in recent months to get the necessary paperwork in place so it could begin building works, the race's promoter Tavo Hellmund was on hand on Thursday to oversee the official groundbreaking at the area known as Wandering Creek.
Although there is still plenty of work to do before the $250 million (USD) facility is ready for F1 cars, the fact that contractors are now on site and are beginning their initial work is a big boost for those who have worked hard in recent months to overcome the administrative hurdles.
The track has been designed by F1 architect Hermann Tilke, and construction will be overseen by Dallas-based construction company Austin Commercial.
Hellmund, who pulled off a major coup in securing a United States GP deal with Bernie Ecclestone earlier this year, has also managed to secure investment and backers since the deal was announced.
As well as having biking legend Kevin Schwantz on hand to raise the event's profile in the United States, Hellmund has secured the support of well-known American businessman Red McCombs to help his effort.
At a press conference in July, McCombs said he had no doubts the track would be ready in time for 2012 - and he had made that clear to Ecclestone in conversations he had had with him.
"Bernie said: 'How do you think you are going to get a facility built in Austin in time for the 2012 race'," explained McCombs. "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."