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COTA chief would like to see motorcycle racing on US GP support bill

The boss of the Circuit of The Americas would like to see motorcycle racing support Formula 1’s United States Grand Prix, believing it would be “a lot of fun".

Maverick Vinales, Aprilia Racing

Aprilia Racing

F1 is poised for the biggest three-day weekend attendance in its history this weekend in Austin, with an estimated 440,000 fans due to attend the United States Grand Prix.

The F1 race is being supported by Masters Historic and Masters Endurance Legends events, but the schedule was left with a gap after W Series had to cancel its planned round in Austin due to funding issues.

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Asked about the possibility of having other support series such as F2 or F3 on the F1 weekend in the future, COTA chairman and co-founder Bobby Epstein said it was “more up to Formula 1” to decide.

But he expressed an interest in shaking up the race weekend schedule by adding other disciplines such as motorcycle racing.

“We can fill it up either way, two or three support series would be good,” said Epstein.

“It would be great. If it can’t be an F2 or F3, I think we can get creative.

“I’d love to see the motorcycles race during F1 weekend. I think it would be a lot of fun, and I think the fans would like it, so we’re exploring that.”

Alex Albon, Williams FW44, Mick Schumacher, Haas VF-22

Alex Albon, Williams FW44, Mick Schumacher, Haas VF-22

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

One of the biggest hurdles to overcome for a multi-discipline race weekend would be ensuring the safety standards comply for both cars and bikes, given the differing homologation requirements of tracks.

Epstein felt there were “ways to look at it”, but said the focus of any support category had to be on ensuring fans were kept entertained by the weekend-long package.

“This is what it’s about, let’s make sure that we entertain the crowd,” he said.

“I don’t want to leave the racing fan out either. So what you’re speaking to is the right question and making sure we have the content that satisfies that audience.

“I think there was some disappointment that the W Series didn’t come, but it was such short notice you couldn’t really replace it.

“But I do think overall the fans still get their money’s worth.”

COTA hosts MotoGP’s Grand Prix of the Americas each year, but Epstein said his idea of a motorbike race supporting F1 did not necessarily have to be the premier class.

“It doesn’t have to be MotoGP, it could be bikes, which would be good for MotoGP, because it would give them a nice platform,” said Epstein.

Jack Miller, Ducati Team

Jack Miller, Ducati Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

“Just other types of racing. In the past, if you go back, [F1 has] done some great celebrity races. That’s something we’ve got to consider.

“It could be fun. I think F1 has the celebrity draw and celebrity appeal and it hasn’t been done in a while. These are all worth discussing.

“If Formula 3 comes or Formula 2 comes, that’s probably even better.”

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