Formula 1 in Austin
Formula Expo kicks off the U.S. Grand Prix pomp
And so it begins. The first in what will be a long line of awareness raising and build up events starts this weekend. Formula Expo kicks off Saturday morning at the Austin Convention Center.
Even if you know nothing about Formula 1 this event will be engaging. In fact, this event might be best for those who know nothing about F1 and of course car guys. It is Father's day after all.
There is a wide range of exhibits presenting everything from vintage British cars (a very cool '52 Morgan Plus 4, and a bad ass '65 Shelby Cobra stand out here) to state of the art Formula 1 racing simulators. Gamers prepare, these F1 sims are incredible.
"We want to show Formula 1 how cool Austin is, with it's music and all that; and we want to show Austinwhat Formula 1 is all about."
The former Formula 1 cars on display are perhaps the most intriguing part of the Expo — cars driven by F1 driver Michael Shumacher to an F1 McLaren driven by Alain Prost. Visitors get an opportunity to view these impressive cars up close and see how they and Formula 1 have evolved over time.
If you just like fast sports cars, all of them are here — Ferarri, Lotus, McLaren, Tesla.
There are also activities for kids. The Expo installed an impressive pit stop simulator where teams can race to find out who is best. Trophy's will be given out every hour and there are plenty of racing simulators so visitors will be able to experience the ride.
The whole idea, as Ian Weightman, President of the Expo explains, is to begin introducing Austin to this international sport that, outside of four wheels spinning, has very little in common with NASCAR. "We want to show Formula 1 how cool Austin is with it's music and all that; and we want to show Austin what Formula 1 is all about."
This weekend is appropriate for the Expo not just because it's Father's Day, but also because Sunday, June 17 was the original race date chosen for the U.S. Grand Prix. If you're up for learning a little bit about it, it might be worth "hangin' out with a bunch of people who like cars" as Weightman would say. The exhibits are not nearly as big as say the boat show, so you needn't plan to be there eight hours.
Next year, since the track will be finished, Weightman plans to hold Expo at the Circuit of the Americas.
Formula Expo opens at 9:00 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday at the Austin Convention Center, and runs until 7:00 p.m. Saturday and 6:00 p.m. Sunday. Tickets cost $20 at the door or $50 for a family four-pack.