Construction activity at the troubled Circuit of the Americas outside Austin, TX appears to be happening again. A visit this past Monday, Columbus Day, revealed trucks lined up and stabilizer dirt available for placement.
That Monday there was no work in progress because the area had just received a much-needed dose of rain - but with dry weather in the forecast, they expected to be running the next day.
The 3.4-mile Grand Prix road course is comprised of 12 turns and has a first turn with both a great, climbing elevation change and decreasing radius that certainly looks challenging. At this point, we've been told they're getting the infield done first - and in fact an earth mover started rumbling down the first turn toward the infield as we watched.
The State of Texas is contributing money to the endeavor that's expected to cost about $300 million all told. The city is committed, too, hoping the Austin city experience brings people back for, say, the 2013 MotoGP, once the first Formula One race is in the books.
The track is, to put it bluntly, remote at best and there are no four-star hotels within 15 miles. A single-lane road leads into the circuit; there are freeways five minutes away on a good day.
Everyone at the circuit is, of course very upbeat about the project. While they recognize that the FIA requires a 90-day blessing on their circuit, at this time the expectation is to pour the first asphalt in springtime, even though a minimum 90-day cure is necessary.
The jury's still out on Circuit of the Americas, Formula One's new home in the United States. Whether it flies or not depends on the activity monitor over the coming few months, which will determine its readiness for the biggest racing show in the world.
© 2011 Anne Proffit