Race tracks: They're not just for racing and drinking beer anymore!
At least, that's one possible plan down here in Austin for the Circuit of the Americas track, which will have its debut Formula One race in less than a month. According to this report in the Austin American-Statesman*, COTA officials are looking at using the facility for more than just racing events.
It may sound a bit surprising, but the facility is actually set up for this kind of thing. From the Statesman:
In addition to the paddock and grandstand, the circuit has an amphitheater capable of seating 15,000 for concerts; a grand plaza that can hold tens of thousands; and an even larger infield that could come in handy for festivals.
One promoter is looking at staging tennis tournaments there with 20,000 spectators, the newspaper reported. Other events could include 2016 U.S. Olympic volleyball trials, soccer, and boxing in the amphitheater, which is shown in the artist rendering above.
"You've got suites, parking, everything is there," (local sports promoter Tim) Stallard said. "It's a 1,100-acre sports and entertainment complex. I think that's something a lot of people don't understand."
It makes sense for COTA to want to add some events to their calendar. As it stands now, there will only be five or six major racing events there each year, so a few big-draw sporting events certainly wouldn't hurt. It's not unprecedented, either; the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has hosted a ton of non-racing events over the years.
What do you think, folks? Should Austin's track welcome other sports, or will that water things down for us racing fans?
(*Full disclosure: When I'm not Jalopnik-ing for you on weekends, I am a reporter at this newspaper, but I did not work on this story. Just wanted to let you know in case you care, which you probably don't.)
Photos credit COTA via the American-Statesman