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Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Promoter reveals designer, few details

Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas -- Race promoters say they have secured a site and designer to build a track for the new Formula One United States Grand Prix to be run in Austin beginning in 2012.

Tavo Hellmund, managing partner of Full Throttle Productions, wouldn't disclose Wednesday the location of the Austin-area site nor its price but said it's "more than 700 acres."

Hellmund also said the German firm Tilke GmbH had been hired to design the venue. Tilke has built racetracks in Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Shanghai and Istanbul, among other cities.

Formula One officials made the surprise announcement Tuesday of the revival of the United States Grand Prix, which hasn't been run since it was held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2007. The officials also announced the Austin track would be the first in the United States built specifically for a Grand Prix event.

So far, Hellmund has not released details on how much the Austin racetrack is expected to cost, other than to say it will be built with private money and not with any public funds.

In a statement from Full Throttle, promoters said the course would be "one of the finest permanent road course facilities in the world. Fans should expect the craftsmanship Tilke is famous for, with a priority placed on green building and a track similar to the great Grand Prix tracks of previous generations."

Formula One president Bernie Ecclestone said the race in the Texas capital would mark the first time a course would be built specifically for an F1 race in the United States.

Before its run in Indianapolis, Formula One had been hosted by Long Beach, Las Vegas, Detroit, Dallas, Phoenix and other cities on city street circuits. The race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway was run on a road course built inside the oval track. Watkins Glen, N.Y, hosted a Grand Prix from 1961 to 1980.

Austin seemed an unlikely destination for a Grand Prix event on a circuit that includes stops in Monte Carlo, Sau Paulo and Singapore. But with a metro area population of about 1.7 million, Austin is a 3-hour drive or less from Dallas, Houston and San Antonio.