Tuesday, July 22, 2014

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Development potential beyond the F1 race

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Economic development professionals see a lot of potential when they see the site of the Circuit of the Americas. They believe the impact of Formula One's return to the United States will go far beyond race weekend.

"The sport is back. It's coming back in a very different way because we do, for the first time in this area of the country, have a purpose-built facility for Grand Prix racing," Circuit of the Americas Julie Loignon said.

While races and other events are expected to attract more than a million visitors to the site each year, Austin city leaders are excited about the possibility of the area's future development for business.

"What we hope to do in addition to having the Formula One race is to utilize the track itself to build similar to what Silverstone has done here," City of Austin spokesperson Rodney Gonzales said.

What Silverstone has done is created a Technology Park and Innovation Centre, a place where start-up companies can office. Local officials say thanks to Silverstone, Northamptonshire is home to several High Performance Engineering & Motorsport companies who employ more than 6,000 people.

"We certainly want to begin those discussions with race car teams like Renault, McLaren and Ferrari about how they might be able to replicate some of those R & D facilities in Austin," Gonzales said.

Silverstone also partners with local schools and technical colleges to bring together racing and education, something that could also be replicated in Austin.

"There can be partnerships with the local school districts and the local universities, centered around math science and technology that comes from the Formula One cars themselves," Gonzales said.

Circuit of The Americas representatives say the Grand Prix is just the beginning.

"There's a business plan and a company that's here, it's grounded it's going to be around for quite some time,” Loignon said.

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