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2016: Break from The Bash

2016: Break from The Bash

Hello Dear Friends,

Thank you all for your messages and inquiries about a 2016 Buxton's BIG TIME Bash. The support that we've received, with enthusiasm, is why we started The Austin Grand Prix on May 25, 2010, when Formula 1 announced that Austin would be the home for Formula 1 in the United States beginning in 2012. We saw an opportunity to connect Formula 1 fans with the great city of Austin, and we knew Austin had a lot to learn about the sport and business of Formula 1. Our initial goal was to bridge the gap between the two, and The Bash has been our culmination and celebration of those efforts, which we have gladly grown with your support.

Since then, it's been nothing short of an extraordinary experience. And we can confidently say that we've accomplished our goal of making Formula 1 good not just for the sport, teams, drivers, media, and businesses that jet set into Austin annually. Since our initial Bash at Fado Irish Pub in 2012, with your overwhelmingly gracious giving and support, Buxton's BIG TIME Bash has raised over $80,000 for charity. This includes over $60,000 directly raised for Meals on Wheels Central Texas and over $20,000 for Justin Wilson's Children's Fund alone in 2015.

Your support has arguably kept us going and The Bash has become THE Grand Prix weekend kick-off event that we never imagined could be possible. Will Buxton somehow gets Formula 1 drivers, past and present, motorsport personalities, legends (Thank you, Mario Andretti, 2014!!!), media, and more to step away from a jam-packed weekend of sponsorship, team, and personal obligations during their short stint in America to join us on stage for candid chats, Q & A, and storytelling that you simply can't get elsewhere. Will obtains the most amazing, unspeakable mementos donated from Formula 1 teams and sponsors, and also manages to wrangle up the entire NBC Sports Formula 1 Broadcast Team to join him on stage for arguably the most accessible, conversational, and social fan-friendly event during the Formula 1 US Grand Prix weekend. We all do this because we believe that Formula 1 has an important role in America, and more importantly, we want it to succeed in Austin.

For 2016, we are taking a break, but we want everyone to know that we are already focusing on coming back with a bang in 2017. While we will not be physically gathering in Austin, we want to share two important fundraising opportunities with you and if you are able to contribute, please know that your giving will go a long way and continue to make an immediate difference in the lives of those who need it the most.

We invite you to support the following (click on the name to follow the link):

Meals on Wheels Central Texas

In Loving Memory of Bill Buxton

Thank you, sincerely, for making this more amazing than we ever could have imagined. We hold your enthusiasm, support, and kind words very near and dear to our hearts. THANK YOU!

-Kerri Olsen and Kevin Olsen

The Austin Grand Prix


Texas High Schools Advance in F1 in Schools Competition

L-R: Axium Racing of Granbury High School, Team NOVA of PSJA Southeast High School and Talon Racing of Granbury High SchoolF1 in Schools, the leading global educational initiative in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics ("STEM"), held its Texas Regional competition at Circuit of The Americas on March 23. The worldwide program aims to create a fun and exciting learning environment for students aged 9 to 19 to develop hands-on experience with STEM-focused careers partnered with business skills such as marketing and sponsorship and prepare them to compete against other teams, mirroring the Formula 1 industry.

Teams of 3-6 students design and manufacture a model F1 car using 3D computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing programs and then test the aerodynamics of their design in a Virtual Reality Wind Tunnel using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software. After analyzing the design for efficiency and performance, a block of balsa wood is put into a computer numerical controlled router, or CNC. These CNC machines cut the 2-D models into 3-D models for racing. The cars are powered by compressed air in the form of CO2 cartridges in order to race down down the 65' (20m) track in less than 2 seconds. In addition to finding the optimal aerodynamic features, the cars must adhere to specific weight and measurement standards, similar to the rules and regulations that make Formula 1 the sport that it is today.

Saturday's competition was hosted by SAE International and welcomed eight teams from across the state: XLR8 Racing and Axium Racing (Granbury High School); Talon Racing (Akins High School); Los Compadres and The Eclipse (Reagan High School); RED SHIFT (Pflugerville High School), J-Conn (John B. Connally High School); and Team Nova (PSJA Southweat High School). This 2013 Texas Regional Formula One Technology Challenge resulted in three winners qualifying to advance to the US National Championship at the Michigan International Speedway in May: Team Nova (First Place), Axium Racing (Second Place) and Talon Racing (Third Place).

We sat in on a few verbal presentations from the teams and were impressed by the collegiality between students of various ages and backgrounds. Successful team members knew it wasn't just about racing their car down the track; they explained how they stepped outside their assigned roles to help each other in building their team. This proved to be a vital element as teams aren't judged solely on the speed of the car, they're judged on their Portfolio (project management, team work, portfolio clarity and quality), Marketing (team identity, marketing and pit display) and the F1 car design process (ideas, development, testing and evaluation).

However, we'd be remiss if we didn't recognize the thrill of launching the car after the lights go out on track. That's right, just like in F1, five red lights light up one by one above the starting line of the track and when the lights go out, the "Driver's" reaction time is tested to 1/1000th of a second to hit the button and launch the car. The cars have small hooks on their undercarriage with a tether line run underneath it, and this tether line runs down the length of the track. This prevents cars from going airborne off the track. Cars are raced four times and another formula calculates points from the reaction race time and the total race time. Even with all the regulation, it is great fun!

The F1 in Schools program operates in over 40 countries and each National Champion is invited to compete at the World Finals, which will be held in Austin prior to the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix this November. This mirrors the global appeal of Formula 1, and also like F1, the F1 in Schools program is governed by technical documents (US Competition Regulations - 46 pages; US Technical Rules & Regulations - 36 pages), teams are lead by a Team Manager, and sponsorship dollars can make a difference when it comes to marketing the team and the car. After a "day at the track," one can see how this program is a leading example of leveraging STEM subject matter to real world racing and we're looking forward to the World Finals in Austin later this year.

// Check out the F1 in Schools Gallery for more photos!

Hotel Initiative Raises over $50,000 for Central Texas Youth

Mark Kiester (Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area), Neil Goldman (Hotels for Hope), Bruce Knox (Circuit of The Americas) and Cathy Jones (Austin Partners in Education)This week, Circuit of The Americas and Hotel for Hope, an Austin, Texas-based social enterprise that "turns room nights into social change," announced that their partnership from the 2012 Formula 1 United States Grand Prix raised a total of $50,800. Through the Hotels for Hope program, participating hotels agree to donate $1 per booked room night and Hotels for Hope matches the donation. The Hotels for Hope program facilitates an opportunity for large events and their participating hotels to give back to the Central Texas community by raising funds and awareness for nonprofit organization that positively impact the lives of children

The two non-profits for the inaugural race year were Austin Partners in Education and Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area. The funds were split evenly so that each organization received $25,400. This is the largest amount Hotels for Hope has raised to date. Some of the organization's other charity partners have included Special Olympics of Texas, Livestrong, A Glimmer of Hope and Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors.

Cathy Jones, Executive Director of Austin Partners in Education, said this generous donation will allow the organization to continue their programs that focus on reading, math and college readiness programs that raise student academic performance. In the last year, more than 2,300 students in 17 schools received a minimum of 45 minutes per week of academic and personal support in elementary and middle school reading and math from more than 1,000 dedicated APIE volunteers. Another 250 high school seniors received individualized tutoring and test preparation support to ensure they graduate from high school college-ready. This donation will also make it possible for APIE to expand their reach in the future.

Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area's CEO, Mark Keister, was excited to recognize Circuit of The Americas as an active community partner. With the funds from this initiative, the Boys & Girls Club has been able to start an after-school program in the Del Valle school district, the area where Circuit of The Americas is located. Boys & Girls Clubs in the Austin area serve 12,000 kids per year and 1,700 per day throughout their 17 clubs in the most economically distressed area of Austin. Through the programs, kids are exposed to life-enhancing programs that enrich them both academically and socially. Club members have better school attendance, make better grades, graduate at a higher rate and are more likely to attend college in comparison to their peers.

COTA Executive Vice President Bruce Knox shared his sentiments:

Giving back to children and young adults in the Central Texas community is very important to the entire team at Circuit of The Americas. We extend our sincere thanks to our hotel partners that participated in this program, which generated business for them and charitable donations for two very worthy causes. Hundreds of thousands of guests, including motorsports enthusiasts from around the world, visited Central Texas for the Formula 1 event. This collaborative effort with Hotels for Hope allowed us to capitalize on the tremendous boost to regional tourism that the FORMULA 1 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX brings to our area by also creating a way for hotels to support local nonprofits.  It’s a winning combination.

Hotels for Hope founder and owner Neil Goldman added:

Hotels for Hope is proud of what was accomplished with Circuit of The Americas to provide this important community service in conjunction with the 2012 FORMULA 1 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX. Since its inception, Hotels for Hope has already made a significant contribution to our partner beneficiaries, all of which make a direct impact on the lives of children.

This partnership will continue throughout the year and designated nonprofit recipients for the 2013 motorsport season will be announced in the coming weeks.

Buxton's BIG TIME Bash a Big Hit!

Will Buxton, Pit Lane Reporter for SPEED TV, presents a TW Steel watch to Elle Cayabyab Gitlin, female karaoke winner at Buxton's BIG TIME Bash

On the Friday of Grand Prix weekend in Austin, Texas, Austin Grand Prix teamed up with SPEED TV's Will Buxton to host a night of celebration, honoring the kick-off of Formula 1 in Austin while raising support for the Austin non-profit, Meals on Wheels and More. The event was a huge success with a packed house at Fado Irish Pub that ran well into the night. 

Nicole and Thad of Meals on Wheels and More accept a donation from Buxton's BIG TIME BashBuxton's BIG TIME Bash was an amazing fundraising opportunity for Meals on Wheels. Guests were asked to donate $5 at the door and all parties involved were astounded with the final amount - AGP wrote a check for $2,135.25 and dropped it off with Thad Rosenfeld, Director of Communications for Meals on Wheels and More, and Nicole Sarkar, Director of Development, on the Wednesday before the Thanksgiving holiday.

// This size donation can provide about 1,000 hot and nutritious meals in the Austin community!

Thad Rosenfeld, Director of Communications for Meals on Wheels and More, had this to share:

 "In addition to being the best source in Austin for all things related to motorsports, the Austin Grand Prix is also an outstanding community partner. AGP is always looking for innovative ways to help Meals on Wheels and More in our mission to provide life-sustaining services for the home bound and other people in need."

The night wouldn't have been a success without Will Buxton, who MC'ed the entire evening, welcoming and chatting up fans, posing for photos and even performing his own renditions of David Bowie's Heroes and Robbie Williams' Me & My Monkey. A number of daring souls took to the stage and a few even gave Will a run for his money: Fado employee Ali sang the unedited versoin of Cee Lo Green's Forget You, female karaoke contest winner Elle Cayabyab Gitlin dedicated Nobody Does it Better to Will, and male karaoke winner Warren Peck serenaded AGP's Kerri Olsen with Prince's Kiss.

Will summed up the evening rather well:

Will Buxton in Austin, Texas. Photo by Nicholle Jaramillo.

"What an amazing night, and what a fantastic figure to see go to Meals on Wheels. I've got to admit, even with the huge numbers of people who pre-registered, it was still a wonderful shock to see so many people turn out at Fado for Buxton's BIG TIME Bash. I hope we did what we set out to do, which was to welcome Austin to Formula 1, celebrate the sport's return to the USA, sing some songs, drink some beer and raise some money for a worthy cause. From the reaction of everyone who turned up on the night, the atmosphere in the bar, the many messages on twitter and now seeing this huge tally, I think we can safely say we ticked the boxes we'd hoped we would. 

None of this would have happened without Kevin Olsen and Kerri Olsen. They have worked tirelessly behind the scenes ever since the race was first announced, in the first instance to even make sure the race happened at all. Without their tireless efforts, I doubt whether enough people would have been mobilised to see the race through the vital planning and funding stages. I hope when the lights went out on Sunday they felt rightfully proud of the job they had done, and which they had done for no motivation other than their love of the sport and of their city. 

Buxton's BIG TIME Bash also could not have happened without them. Austin is their city and I want to thank them for recommending Fado and organising everything. I'd like to thank the folks at Fado for letting us use their premises, to Kevin and Kerri for making sure it ran so smoothly, to TW STEEL for providing the fabulous prizes for the karaoke competition and to all the fans who turned up, who made it such an enjoyable night, and who parted with their hard earned money at a time of economic belt tightening for us all, to raise so much money for such a great cause. 

I hope this is the first of many years when we will be able to join together, celebrate, and benefit the local community." 

In addition to the hundreds of fans that gathered at Fado to celebrate the return of F1 in America, members of the F1 paddock were also in attendance:

The night could not have gone off so well without the help of numerous AGP and Meals on Wheels and More volunteers. Thank you for volunteering your time to help welcome guests and distribute information about the good work Meals on Wheels does and how to stay connected with motorsports in Austin with AGP. Also, special thanks to Fado Irish Pub, Craig Steckbeck, Scooter Womack, Allison Berguin and Karl and Debbie Olsen!


If you would like to donate to Meals on Wheels and More, please CLICK HERE.

100% of proceeds go directly to Meals on Wheels and More!

If you have images you would like to add, please email us

AGP Street Team: Austin Fan Fest Night 2

Grammy-Award winning musician Enrique Iglesias performs at the COTA Club in Austin on November 17, 2012. Photo by AGP Street Team Member Jenny Tavarez.

Following a great first night with Flo Rida at Austin Fan Fest, the AGP Street Team continued their coverage of F1 Weekend activities with Enrique Iglesias and Nelly at the COTA Club on Saturday, Nov 17th.

Enjoy this video as Nicholle and the AGP Street Team explore the COTA Club and talk with fans following the energizing performances of the two Grammy Award-Winning musicians on the eve of the 2012 USGP.

Video credit: Nicholle Jaramillo (Editor, Producer and Interviewer), Kenneth Eke (Production Assistant) and Jenny Tavarez (Content Contributor).