RIAM Joins New Era Circuit Of The Americas F1 Viewing Faithful
This last weekend, the United States saw the return of Formula One international open wheel racing to the series’ world hopping schedule. The race held at the new purpose built Circuit of the Americas (COTA), 3.427-mile (5.515 km) motor racing circuit south of Austin, Texas, marked the return of F1 racing to the United States after a four-season hiatus.
Recognizing the pent-up demand for viewing and sharing time with like-minded individuals of this inaugural event, the Riverside International Automotive Museum (RIAM) in Riverside, California … located not too far from the site of the famed Riverside International Raceway purpose built road circuit and was set up, in part, to archive and honor the history of this great track … opened its doors and hosted a viewing party.
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During the broadcast of the COTA USGP from Austin, Texas, SPEED Channel’s Bob Varsha mentioned that there were many viewing parties being held throughout the United States and that one of note was the gathering being hosted by the Riverside International Automotive Museum which featured Tony Settember and Don Nichols and had on view many great historic open wheel racing cars created from the Dan Gurney Eagle operation.
This excerpted and edited from the Bleacher Report –
Formula One: Hamilton Wins USGP, but Circuit of the Americas Is the Real Star
By Craig Christopher (Featured Columnist) on November 19, 2012
Formula One racing has made a triumphant return to the United States after a four-season hiatus, only to find that some things just haven’t changed.
Lewis Hamilton was the last F1 driver to stand atop the podium at a U.S. Grand Prix when he claimed victory at the final Indianapolis race in 2007.He stood atop the podium again in Austin as he held Sebastian Vettel at bay to claim a hard-fought race win.
While the race winner may not have changed, everything else has.
The fans were treated to a great race, with lots of overtaking, some outstanding wheel-to-wheel action, breathtaking pitstops and Ferrari even delivered a little bit of the intrigue and shenanigans that F1 is famous for.
And it all happened on a track deep in the heart of Texas.
With F1 finding difficulty securing a permanent home since the 20-year tenure at Watkins Glenn, all hope turned to the new Circuit of the Americas in Austin Texas.
It didn’t disappoint.
The circuit is a custom F1 track, designed—as are nearly all new tracks—by German racetrack architect Hermann Tilke. At first glance, it has all of the hallmarks of every other Tilke track—the big runoff areas, the flowing combination of corners, long straights followed by a hairpin—but it worked.
It was a race that F1 had to get right.
With the 2005 Indianapolis debacle still lingering in the American fans’ memory and with no American teams and no American drivers, the product had to deliver on its own terms. It had to bury the perception that F1 is boring and lacking in excitement.
Any lingering doubts were put to rest, despite the dominance of Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton, with action from one end of the field to the other.
Hamilton took the most of a momentary distraction for Vettel, as he got tangled behind a back-marker, making the pivotal pass that Vettel was unable to recover from.
While Hamilton claimed the victory, it was the Circuit of the Americas that was the superstar of the weekend, aided and abetted by a massive crowd of 117,429 fans (via CircuitoftheAmericas.com).
The drivers loved it [all three – Hamilton, Vittle, and Alonzo respectively], and probably would have said so without prompting, even if Mario Andretti didn’t pleadingly fish for praise in yet another pointless podium interview by an ex-driver [and champion].
Hamilton told F1.com:
There are a couple of Grands Prix that are somehow out on their own: there’s Monaco, Silverstone, Montreal, Spa and Monza. Now you can this circuit to that list – it’s already one of the best racetracks in the world, maybe even right up there in the top three.
Then again, he won the race—he would say that.
The museum moved many of its 200 mph cars it has on display, set up a 9’X 12’projection screen and tables on the floor, prepared an Italian salad and sandwich lunch, invited a car constructor and some drivers of F1 and sport car racing note for post race interviews and schmoozing … thus turning the museum into a social rumpus-room of F1 joy.
On hand were F1 winning chassis constructor Don Nichols, who created the Shadow cars that raced in F1 – and would spawn the Arrows F1 Team, Formula 5000, and Can-Am in the 1970’s and 1980’s (Alan Jones recorded his first win at the Austrian Grand Prix, a result which also provided a welcome boost to the lesser-funded teams as it was Shadow’s first victory), Shadow Cars team crewman Gene Lentz, F1 driver Tony Settember (1962-1963), with legendary road racers John Morton and Davey Jordan.
Interviewed in the post race festivities by RIAM PR Director, Thomas Stahler were Tony Settember and Don Nichols with a presentation to RIAM by Gene Lentz a donation of memorabilia from Shadow Cars to museum President, Doug Magnon. AUDIO FILE HERE (43 min.)
There’s a saying in Texas. “I wasn’t born here, but I got here as fast as I could.” This is the first proper U.S. race since Watkins Glen and, at last, COTA represents a worthy home for the USGP event.
That could also be said of this Southern California RIAM viewing party event. Here’s hoping the COTA F1 USGP viewing party becomes an annual Southern California tradition. A Grand Prix time was had by all.
… notes from The EDJE
** Article first published as RIAM Joins New Era Circuit Of The Americas F1 Viewing Faithful on Technorati **