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Campers soak in British Grand Prix

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TWC News: Campers soak in British Grand Prix
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As Formula One races toward Austin, longtime fans will have to make a few concessions if they plan to visit the U.S. Grand Prix.

Sleeping under the stars won't be allowed in the Lone Star State, come November. That was not the case in Silverstone. Lisa Brown and her friend watched the British Grand Prix from the comfort of their lawn chairs.

"When the weather is like this, you wouldn't want to be anywhere else in the world," Brown said.

Brown admits she also wants to catch matches at Wimbledon, but Formula One is in her heritage. She says it began because her dad's an engineer.

"My husband's also an engineer. Something or some of his parts are over there on those racing cars" Brown said.

Brown's one of thousands of campers who braved heavy rains and the resulting mud. Nonetheless, she said it wouldn't feel like the British Grand Prix without an RV, several Union Jacks and a glass of tea.

"It's brilliant to camp. You really feel like you are part of the circuit. It makes it so exciting. It makes a brilliant atmosphere," Brown said.

While it's part of the culture surrounding the British Grand Prix, it's not allowed at the U.S. Grand Prix, at least this year. The permit issued to Circuit of the Americas does not allow anyone to walk onto the track site. City leaders say they want to focus on their traffic plan for the first race and incorporate camping later.

Most Silverstone campers stay on private farmland near the track. The influx Friday led to major delays on area roads because rain flooded entrances to several campsites. Austin's Rodney Gonzales says Circuit of the Americas officials are taking notes.

"They are going to start planning for these types of contingencies like rain -- a deluge of rain like what the UK has been receiving -- so that way they can factor that into their planning as well," Gonzales said.

It's another lesson planners of November's F1 race are taking away from England, but a regret for diehard fans who planned to pitch a tent in November. Campers at Silverstone say the fees for their sites often cost more than the tickets to the race.

Many say they typically take a week off of work and make a vacation out of the trip.

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