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Formula 1 Grand Prix Weekend

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Circuit of the Americas

By Jonathan Murthy

The Track

Formula 1The international racing event returns to Austin Oct. 31 through Nov. 2 at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) with the internationally acclaimed Formula 1 United States Grand Prix. COTA is considered to be one of the foremost leading venues for sports and entertainment, and the F1 Grand Prix has quickly become one of the biggest events housed in the space.

COTA’s 1,500-acre location and structures are specifically designed to accommodate sports, business, education and entertainment. The specially designed 3.4-mile, 20-turn raceway features incredibly difficult elevation changes and a plethora of challenging turns derived from some of the world’s iconic Grand Prix tracks.

The Austin360 Amphitheater is an expansive outdoor live-music space featuring the largest permanent stage in Central Texas and allows for an audience capacity of 14,000 guests. COTA’s iconic 25-story observation tower has a viewing platform offering 360-degree views of the venue, downtown Austin and the Texas Hill Country. The 44,000-square foot event center offers an expansive convention and banquet space that doubles as an international media center during sports and entertainment event. The center includes more than 30 broadcast booths, an internal café and a dedicated news conference room.

COTA’s massive main grandstand features permanent seating for 9,000 people, a variety of well-appointed suites, the velocity lounge and hospitality area. COTA also offers a state-of-the-art on-site medical facility, parking for 25,000 vehicles, taxi and shuttle-bus depots and a permanent heli-stop. For more information and downloadable video, audio and photos, visit, or COTA’s dedicated FTP site,

Who’s Who

Some of the leading racers as of the Belgian Grand Prix include Nico Rosberg from Germany, representing Mercedes, who leads all standings with 220 points. Lewis Hamilton from the UK, also with Mercedes, is another driver to watch, with 191 points. Daniel Ricciardo from Australia, representing Red Bull, with 156 points, and Fernando Alonso from Spain, representing Ferrari, with 121 points, are also must-sees.


The weekend of the Grand Prix falls on Halloween in Austin and features the North American Ferrari Challenge and the Ferrari Racing Cup Challenge on Friday. The Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup will be on Saturday, and on Sunday, there will be a driver’s parade with the world’s best drivers and classic cars. The entire event will close with a performance from Kid Rock at the Austin360 Amphitheater.

BeastBeast: The Top Secret Ilmor-Penske Engine That Shocked the Racing World at the Indy 500

Beast, by Jade Gurss, is a compelling literary account of the inception and creation of a monumental piece of engineering brilliance. Nicknamed Beast, the renowned Ilmor-Penske engine that dominated the 1994 Indy 500 became one of the most talked-about pieces of racing lore in recent history. Gurss chronicles the efforts of Paul Morgan, Roger Penske and Mario Illien to bring together designs from military and commercial-grade equipment to create a masterpiece of form and function. The Beast tore through the competition when it was unveiled, and although it was only used for one race, the impact it had on the racing world is still felt today.

The book follows each individual designing member closely, citing exact conversations they shared with one another and the secrecy involved in making the engine. The intricate and cryptic correspondence of the designers shows how delicate a process such a design can be in the face of such a competitive environment. The success that both Penske and Illien experienced is partially due to the manner with which these individuals conducted themselves regarding this particular project as both businessmen and engineers.

Beast is available on


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