It's a good time to be a racing fan in Austin. Circuit of the Americas, a brand-new, 120,000 seat Formula 1 race track premiered yesterday with a ceremonious opening lap featuring Formula 1 racing legend Mario Andretti and a handful of other notable figures on hand.
This comes just in time for the track's first race, the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix set to go take place in less than a month on Sunday, November 18. Some call this the Super Bowl of Formula 1 racing, and for good reason. This is the first time the race will take place in the U.S. since 2007 and will attract a worldwide audience of millions who will surely watch live.
Andretti cut the ceremonial opening ribbon yesterday before completing the 3.4-mile track's first lap in the same Lotus 79 racecar which helped him win six races and a World Championship back in 1978. He was joined by an assortment of notable figures including actor Patrick Dempsey and Lotus team member Jerome D'ambrosio.
The owners hope that the $300 million facility will work as a vehicle for attracting new American fans to the internationally popular sport of Formula 1 racing.
Austin city officials stated the construction on the Circuit of the Americas track created 1,000 jobs for Central Texans and now expect the track to generate around $220 million for Texas and $13 million for the city of Austin during the week of the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix.