Another bustling news week in Austin, Texas. Let's jump right in.

// Tour with Tilke

Very early in the week we shared the story and photos from our on-track tour with Tilke Engineering out at Circuit of The Americas on April 20. In case you missed it, it's here.

// Drag Racing, Hotels and Asphalt, Oh My!

On Monday, Alexis DeJoria, Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Nitro Funny Car Driver and daughter of John Paul DeJoria, held a press opportunity at the circuit. The Austin American-Statesman was in attendance and spoke to Alexis about her hopes to one day race at COTA.

On Tuesday, COTA announced their partnership with Austin-based Hotels For Hope and the initiative to donate $2 of every hotel room reservation during the November F1 race to two Austin charities, Partners in Education and Boys & Girls Clubs of Austin. 

An aerial photo of COTA by Lance Armstrong 5/2/12The following day, we got the nitty gritty details of the composition and detailed work that goes into the newest development at the circuit - the asphalt. You can start to see the new layer very well in this photo that Lance Armstrong tweeted on Wednesday.

// Not All Green Pastures

On Friday, Autoweek took a closer look at the executive makeup of COTA and the PSL pricing strategy. Today, the promoter of the Canadian Grand Prix shared his hesitations of both US races:

I am one of the skeptics who is not convinced that (Austin) is going to happen this year and I am more than skeptical about New Jersey.

He insisted it was not out of fear, but instead thought three North American races would be good for the sport, from a "visibility standpoint."

// An American Return to F1

Alexander Rossi on FOX Austin News 5/4/12Next weekend we'll witness the first American to participate in a Grand Prix weekend in almost five years as Caterham test driver Alexander Rossi will replace Heikki Kovalainen in Friday's practice session in Spain. Austinites were treated to an exclusive interview with Alexander on FOX Austin news last night. The "Friday Sports Extra" included on-screen interviews with Mr. Rossi, Austin-based motorsports commentator Jonathan Green and COTA President Steve Sexton while teaching Austinites about Formula 1 and COTA.

Alexander said:


America has produced some of the best athletes in the world and there's no reason why we can't compete in Formula 1.

By being the test driver for Caterham F1 and having the opportunity to be part of the team going to Austin and being in the American presence for the return of Formula 1 to the States is phenomenal for me. It's a fantastic opportunity to kinda bring, ya know, the love and support and passion that America has back to Formula 1.

We need an American driver in the [F1] series so Americans have someone to get behind and fully support and on top of that we need an American team.

I hope that not only am I able to get into Formula 1 but in the near future there will be more than one American Formula 1 driver.

// More Details on Tickets

The men behind a new Austin-based podcast for gearheads, Speed City Podcast, sat down with COTA VP of Sales, Todd Fleming. Jon and Les spoke with Todd about RV accommodations, general admission tickets, transportation in and out of the circuit and more. Great news, as it confirms that 3-day general admission prices for the November F1 race will be comparable to an Austin City Limits Festival 3-day ticket, of between $150-200.

Here are some highlights from the 45 minute podcast:

RV Spots - still working out exactly how many; will work similar to PSLs; people own a slip for up to 15 years; annual payment required; ability to stay overnight; 70-80 slips from initial outset with opportunity to expand in surrounding land like NASCAR offers; RV parking between T 11 & 12 (DRS zone) with abilities to see T 6-11.

General Admission Tickets - Individual ticket sales will start in less than 30 days, or the beginning of June. General seating will include uncovered grandstands, bleacher style seats; berm seating throughout but specifically on the east of the circuit in T 5-10; near the Grand Plaza between T 16-18; a large grassy knoll between T 17-18.

PSL Preference - If you put down $100 for PSLs but decided not to move forward, Todd suggests you leave it down because you will have access to the reserved and general admission grandstand tickets before the general public. Meaning, grandstand seating which is not sold to PSL holders will be pre-sold to those who put a $100 deposit down, and then will go on sale to the general public. Again, this should all take place in the next 30 days according to the interview. Todd went on to explain that PSLs help fund and maintain the facility; help COTA garner other races & extend the contracts with the race series that we already have. That's what the PSL is in place for; hence why PSL sales are important.

Under 200 days to go now until the Formula 1 United Stated Grand Prix in Austin! Stay tuned as we inch closer to the November race.