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AustinF1

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  1. Shea Lowers Boom on COTA for Attempted Property Tax Dodge. "COTA = Cheap on Tax Appraisals"? Now, I've never been a Brigid Shea fan, but she makes some very good points here. http://www.statesman.com/news/news/opinion/shea-unfair-tax-system-shifts-burden-on-homeowners/nghwW/ According to the Statesman, Circuit of the Americas is arguing in court that “the $7 million plus property tax bill they receive in January is more than 2 1/2 times higher than it should be.” As one protester’s sign at the fireworks said, “COTA= Cheap On Tax Appraisals.” Circuit of the Americas’ effort to cut its property tax appraisal by more than 60 percent is even more galling given the public largess they’ve received: $25 million-plus a year for 10 years in sales tax revenue from the region; a $14 million electric substation, paid for by rate payers; $13 million in water and wastewater lines, paid for by water customers; and $21.6 million and counting from Travis County taxpayers for roads. And now they’re arguing in court that their property tax bill should be $2.7 million instead of $7.3 million. They could easily pay their bill out of their sales tax rebates alone. Circuit of the Americas’ overreach couldn’t come at a worse time. Homeowners are suffering under dramatic increases in their property tax appraisals, while a growing number of big businesses are under-appraised. As stated in a headline on the Statesman’s Sept. 29 article, “You pay more, they pay less … Texas’ tax appraisal system benefits commercial properties, shifting a greater burden to homeowners.” According to a new grass-roots movement called Real Values for Texas, “Big commercial property owners exploit loopholes in property tax law to knock an average 40 percent off their tax bill.” This number is confirmed by the Texas Association of Appraisal Districts and the Houston Chronicle. Every homeowner I know would love to see a 40 percent reduction in their home appraisal. Instead they’re seeing an average increase of over 12 percent in Travis County this year. Many report increases much higher than that. This broken system is hurting families and literally driving them out of their homes. After campaigning door-to-door for five months, I’ve lost track of the number of people who’ve told me they have to sell and move away because their appraisals have gone up so much.
  2. Sylt: Gene Haas Pays $20M Deposit to F1. Rossi Set to Join Team?... http://www.autoweek.com/article/formula-one/gene-haas-pays-20-million-deposit-formula-one?utm_source=DailyDrive20140717&utm_medium=enewsletter&utm_term=headline-center&utm_content=body&utm_campaign=awdailydrive
  3. I was wondering if this was gonna blow up. Vance watched the traffic jam from Haywood's Hill the night of the fireworks. I had no idea people were stuck out there that late though. 'Parking fail': Thousands left in COTA parking lot for hours after fireworks show: http://www.kvue.com/story/news/local/2014/07/05/thousands-faced-traffic-nightmare-at-cota/12255937/ Check out the tweets after the article.
  4. COTA traffic woes continue: http://www.austin360.com/weblogs/austin-music-source/2014/jul/13/review-kiss-def-leppard-austin360-amphitheater/
  5. COTA Trackday

    Nice pics & thanks for the heads-up!
  6. Ecclestone considering F1 buyback: http://www.express.co.uk/sport/f1-autosport/486923/Ecclestone-considers-F1-bid
  7. Yep. I think so too. You never know. He might even go back the other way, to V10s or V12s. Mmmmm....
  8. Vance did get some nice shots of the fireworks from Haywood's Hill though... https://www.facebook.com/vance.facundo/media_set?set=a.800005550034262.1073741848.100000744737116&type=1
  9. Check out the comments from their facebook page. They probably took most down by now. When I and another guy corrected them/Dial for saying that Simona would be the first ever full time female F1 driver, they took those comments down pretty quick. Tools. They rarely make a press release without at least one error, usually related to racing. Like · Reply · 7 hours ago · Edited Circuit of The Americas Hey everyone, we are so sorry to hear that some of you had trouble exiting after the event last night. Thanks so much for the feedback. Your comments help us make improvements for the future. Like · Reply · 3 · Yesterday at 11:07am Erica Hutton I wouldn't have brought my 3 month old to this event if I knew there would be no traffic control. 2 hrs, haven't moved an inch. (Fireworks and symphony were great... But not worth this) Like · Reply · 10 · Yesterday at 12:05am · Edited Tim Zeimann There's an APD unit wandering around through the parking lot. How about some traffic handling? Going on two hours and still have barely moved. Like · Reply · 8 · July 4 at 11:44pm · Edited Adam Orendain Worst traffic management and vendor organization I've ever experienced. 1 hour wait for food only to have them run out. I feel conflicted about venting because the event was free but take it as a voice of possible improvement. Adam Orendain's photo. Like · Reply · 8 · July 4 at 11:17pm Carla Gandara-Reynolds Horrible!!! Parking/event staff should all be fired...been in parking lot over 2 hours and barely out. Stupid!!! Like · Reply · 7 · Yesterday at 12:09am Tim Zeimann Worst event planning ever, no traffic control to get out of here whatsoever. Sitting in one spot without moving for over an hour. #epicfail #trafficnigtmare Like · Reply · 7 · July 4 at 11:00pm Robert Friedrich Terrible planning, or perhaps there was none?! 2 hours to exit an event; there are no words for it. NEVER AGAIN. Like · Reply · 6 · Yesterday at 12:56am Danny Snyder Why isn't TCSO running the traffic control for this event? Austin Police Dept obviously has no idea what they're doing. Like · Reply · 6 · July 4 at 11:06pm Christel Coleman As usual Austin, no one thought about the logistics of moving traffic for an event this size Like · Reply · 6 · July 4 at 10:55pm Steve Williams Performance was great and so were the fireworks. Traffic management on the way out was the worst of any event I've been to here. We've been sitting in Lot A for at least 30 minutes Like · Reply · 6 · July 4 at 10:38pm Jill Honken Sitting in a line of traffic not moving for a hour! Where's the cops or event staff to direct traffic?!? Like · Reply · 5 · July 4 at 10:58pm Steve Williams Amy - I have been there for events with almost 10x the number of people and the longest it took to get out was 30 minutes. Like · Reply · 2 · Yesterday at 2:15am Lucina Martinez All I have to say is never again..im happy we left Lot F before the fireworks started, parked a ways down in a empty lot on COTA to enjoy the fireworks& then we zoomed out. Only to find Elroy Rd was filled to the T up&down with parked cars off 2 the side to watch the show. I see why, & started to realize with all them leaving+the Parking lots at COTA. I knew traffic was going 2 be a disaster. How did they possibly plan this event&truly think they would fit the Audotorium Shores crowd here? Yes it was free, definitely not worth it. Extremely Overwhelming& we were only in the gates 4 an hr. Like · Reply · 2 · Yesterday at 1:42am · Edited Amy Regner Cloudt So how about a thank you to HeB, and Austin symphony orchestra for putting on an FREE event. Even if it cost us sitting in traffic for an hour or two Like · Reply · 2 · Yesterday at 1:38am Katalina Pierce I like your angle but HEB and Austin Symphony have to pay COTA A TON OF $$$ to have the event out there. COTA needs to fork over some kind of traffic control and they don't Like · Yesterday at 2:17am · Edited Larry Baltierra What if there was a fire a shooting do you believe all those people would stay calm with a hand full of cops and no escape plan . It's a perfect situation for a terrorist attack Like · Yesterday at 7:38am View more replies Vance Facundo Amy Regner Cloudt So it's 1:30 and we just got home. Everyone complaining about traffic management, just stop. Did you see all the people there??? There's only 1 road in and out. Clearly you all should have known how horrendous that was going to be. We waited about two hours in the parking lot, then it just took a few mins to get out. Yes, the traffic was horrible. Yes, the lines were so long, but there were a TON Of people there!!! Just calm down, relax, and don't go back.... I don't know what you guys expected with a crowd that big. Like · Reply · 2 · Yesterday at 1:34am William Brown The sad thing is that it only took 1-1.5 hours longer to get out at the F1 race with 100k+ people. very poor management of the lanes of direction leaving the parking lots. The fact that it was down to one lane turning right onto 812 didn't help either... Like · Yesterday at 10:10am Katalina Pierce I think what people expected was for the exiting to run smoothly as it does for concerts and races. They have 100k+ people for those events and I've never heard of traffic exiting being that bad for those events. But maybe because it was a FREE event, they didn't have the budget to pay anyone to direct traffic the way they do for other events(?) I fully expected it to be at least an hour but not 2-3 hours of sitting and not moving at all. Like · 1 · Yesterday at 10:19am View more replies Vance Facundo Celestte Vazques What a disaster. Never again!!!!!!!! Like · Reply · 2 · Yesterday at 12:30am Jennifer Kelly Traffic leaving COTA was bad, but no worse than leaving downtown. We sat in a parking garage for 2hours last July 4. Like · Reply · 1 · 16 hours ago Jeremy N Sweredoski The difference is there's mass transportation and multiple streets. It's the fault of the garage if it took 2 hours to get out. We had no problems at all when we parked DT. Like · 11 hours ago Vance Facundo Tim Peck No 30 minute venue should have a 4 hour ride home afterwards. (Especially when you're only 30 minutes away) Like · Reply · 1 · Yesterday at 10:10am Steve Williams As for the accident on 130. Saw it. Looked like a single vehicle accident but had no less that 15 police cars and emergency vehicles. If the incident was that bad, and they knew there was tons of traffic, how about dispatching appropriate resources to deal with the traffic. Terrible response by police and still to COTA - You dropped the ball. You just alienated a large number of prospective venue patrons. Like · Reply · 1 · Yesterday at 2:19am Mike Jankowski To all who complained about traffic, obviously you weren't aware of the accident at the entrance and the the one near 130. Though minor, those threw a huge wrench in the works. Still, traffic was going to be difficult, and it was about an hour after the show that we could leave Lot C. Like · Reply · 1 · Yesterday at 1:56am Mike Jankowski One thing is no one wants to pay to expand the roads for traffic. I agree, things need to be improved. Like · 2 · Yesterday at 2:17am Daniel Pierce COTA should have been forced to make the roads better -- they build something where 1000s of people are heading and they have two-land access roads... Not the city. Not the county. The COTA people charge plenty of money -- let them make the roads better. Like · Yesterday at 9:48am View more replies Vance Facundo Mike Dayum Robison To all the complainers.……I hear Dallas is wayyy better than Austin. Do you need help packing? Like · Reply · about an hour ago Jennifer Kelly We went early to check out all of those family friendly activities. I have to say I was pretty disappointed. I expected more. Like · Reply · 16 hours ago Annie Nøiers Teles That was just awful...as visitors to Austin we were mislead onto dark roads in the middle of the sticks after waiting for almost 3 hours to get out...the display was nice but not worth the effort at all. Like · Reply · 20 hours ago Mike Owen 1st and last time for me. Fail. Like · Reply · Yesterday at 2:33pm Lee Black It was discouraging to finally get to move out of the parking lot only to watch 3 parking attendants sitting on the curb doing nothing. Where were all those guys that helped us get parked in the first place. Police had a great set up at the west exit. Like · Reply · Yesterday at 12:34pm Angie Irish Hernandez Sad to say our first experience was a crap experience. My son has been out there many times and was shocked we took so long to just get out of the parking lot! POOR planning for this event obviously! Like · Reply · Yesterday at 11:48am Tatiana Christina Montano It was a wonderful event, I had a ton of fun. The traffic management could have been a lot better, but hey, learn from mistakes and try to improve for next year's event. My friends and I passed the time with conversation and looking up videos on youtube when we were stuck in traffic, so it wasn't too horrible Like · Reply · Yesterday at 10:58am Tatiana Christina Montano P.S. Sorry again to the guy who's beer I knocked over on my way out. It was dark and I didn't see you. My bad bruh. Like · 1 · Yesterday at 11:06am Vance Facundo Beautifulmind Bm Ok, some one in administration needs to take NOTES down to spend a bit on taking out the bottle necks from the whole route if you are expecting so much cash flow from race events . Even without accidents, how can you imagine 6 lane traffic coming out from COTA can merge on single lane roads outside???? Maybe thats why when we kept wondering stuck in traffic for 3 hrs where cops are, we saw only one cop managing traffic on the bottle neck junction only. Why would they have deployed any traffic management authority inside? Eilroy ln and Pierce lanes NEED expansion PLEASE!!!! Like · Reply · Yesterday at 10:52am Laura Cartwright This is something I will NEVER do again. We sensed the huge outpouring of people coming so left 30 minutes early and watched fireworks from our car. despite being ready and leaving early took 3hours to exit into heavy traffic. Car behind us even nudged us in the bumper. "excuse me sir but where do you want us to go"? Insane and rude Like · Reply · Yesterday at 10:51am Sarah Mancha I appreciate that it was a free event,and counted on it taking at least an hour to make my way home- but to sit, in my parking space, for 2.5 hours before even turning my car on to sit in another line, was ridiculous. No one had a clue as to what they were doing, and I will never attend this venue again. Like · Reply · Yesterday at 10:49am Dale Stephens NO TRAFFIC CONTROL inside COTA~! THREE hours to get back to Austin. Not worth the Free Fireworks and Symphony~! Like · Reply · Yesterday at 8:56am Katalina Pierce Daniel Pierce Like · Reply · Yesterday at 2:10am Katalina Pierce 2 hours to exit. You called it ! Like · 2 · Yesterday at 2:11am Vance Facundo Amy Regner Cloudt Oh yeah, by the way, it was a FREE event Like · Reply · Yesterday at 1:36am Larry Baltierra Still a great venue for concerts and races Like · Reply · 1 · Yesterday at 8:28am Elvira A. George What time to the fireworks go off? Like · Reply · July 4 at 7:10pm Circuit of The Americas 9:30! Like · July 4 at 8:26pm Elvira A. George Thank you Like · July 4 at 8:27pm Vance Facundo Circuit of The Americas Forecast is that storms are staying north and south of the track. All clear! Like · Reply · July 4 at 6:54pm Josh Thompson Why has it taken us over an hr and a half to move 30 ft?!!!!! Unacceptable COTA! This is not the way a world class track is supposed to operate Like · Reply · 2 · July 4 at 11:11pm Patricia Coursey Ortiz I'll never go to COTA again if this is how traffic is managed. Just absolutely ridiculous. The fireworks show was a disgrace. We got there at 3:30 to get a good spot and waited anxiously to see an amazing show? What?! That was it?! I'm so disappointed. I'll never do that again. Not I mention waiting in the parking lot for 2 hours just to move one car length!! Absolutely disgraceful. Sooooo very upset about this still. Like · Reply · 1 · Yesterday at 10:46am Chris Dean This is the worst venue I've ever been to! 2 hours and I'm still sitting in the parking lot! Like · Reply · 1 · July 4 at 11:54pm Jill Honken What's the pro tips to exiting?!? I think we could use that right now! Over a hour and half without moving! Like · Reply · 1 · July 4 at 11:33pm Brent Holm No rain and plenty of room Like · Reply · 1 · July 4 at 7:03pm Janet Kilgo Is it packed? Like · Reply · 1 · July 4 at 3:53pm Daniel Pierce Nice pro tip! You needed some tips for exiting. Whoever was in charge of logistics should be immediately fired. Or was anyone even in charge of assisting people with getting out? Like · Reply · Yesterday at 9:54am JoeJohn Watson The traffic was well managed getting in. They used the lanes hurricane evacuation style and APD did a great job with traffic. Getting out was ridiculous! We got out after a while but my sister and brother were there til 1:30 am trying to get out!!! It took them more than 3 1/2 hours to get out!!! Like · Reply · Yesterday at 9:21am Dale Stephens Yes, but took 3 hours to get back to downtown Austin after the Fireworks.. Like · Reply · Yesterday at 8:54am Jason Lynn Horrible horrible traffic getting in and especially out. We had to watch from the parking lot and still took 40 minutes to get out of there. Please get back to auditorium shores next year Like · Reply · Yesterday at 12:23am Katalina Pierce I sure hope they do. Like · 1 · Yesterday at 2:18am Vance Facundo Steve Noynaert Took me 40 min to go from lot T (which was empty btw, with best view of the fireworks) to SH130. Seems that the main issue was people walking on on 812 and blocking/slowing down traffic. For F1 the longest I sat in traffic was 10 min. Of course today everyone left at the exact same time. Hard to fit that many cars on a two lane road. Like · Reply · July 4 at 11:45pm David Aldridge 50 minutes sitting in traffic trying to get out if here, and haven't moved a single inch. Is F1 entry/exit this horrible? Like · Reply · July 4 at 11:07pm Danny Snyder Too bad traffic is such a mess leaving. Why isn't TCSO running the traffic? Like · Reply · July 4 at 10:52pm Patricia Ochoa Herbst It's raining! Is it muddy? Like · Reply · July 4 at 5:44pm
  10. This quote from the article also generated a lot of discussion: when you don't have any money...
  11. Hey Nick! I made an earlier post on this. Tried to merge the two, but can't quite figure out how... Some of our Facebook followers & did a little math on some of the numbers being thrown around in the article. https://www.facebook.com/gpamericas
  12. Trading track time for some PR? Too little, too late.
  13. Is COTA Living Up To Expectations? http://www.keyetv.com/news/features/top-stories/stories/is-cota-living-up-expectations-17372.shtml Hard to believe they say some of these things with a straight face.
  14. Looks like motorsport isn't the only kind of racing COTA has been running off...6th annual Tour of Austin cancelled due to COTA jackassery. Shocking. http://texasbikeracing.com/tour-austin-cancelled/ The 6th year of The Tour of Austin (TOA) has been recently and reluctantly cancelled. With plans to make this year grander by adding more vendors and having two days at Circuit of the Americas (COTA), things sounded promising during the beginning stages of organization. Having last year’s TOA pan out as a huge success, COTA was excited to host it once again. Although TOA has always struggled to attain sponsors, Andrew and Holly Willis were ready take this project on once again. They drew up an agreement and sent it out to COTA in May of 2013, where it went over well. Holly and Andrew were hopeful TOA had finally found a home after years of bouncing from venue to venue and losing money for the first three years. They started having meetings to discuss details with COTA, but the holidays came around and progression started to slow down. An agreement had not been finalized just yet, and everyone was still trying to figure out who would take the reins on certain tasks (i.e. who would book the bands, which person would bring the craft beer in, etc.). Would it be COTA or Holland Racing that would take those responsibilities? Both parties knew they still had a lot of kinks to iron out, and they agreed to meet back up after the holiday madness. Unfortunately for the cycling community, COTA went through a change in management in early spring of 2014. “This is where things started to go wrong,” Andrew Willis informed me. The fast turnover of employees was a pattern he noticed early on in his relationship with COTA. It seemed every time he’d make a visit, he would have to catch a new associate up to speed. “I had a lot of the same meetings over and over again.” After a productive meeting, COTA told Andrew they would get with the new president and contact him in a couple of days. A month went by and Andrew decided to call back after not hearing anything. They returned his call a week-and-a-half later with an offer for one day at the track, which was a complete departure from what they have been working on for the last six months. They pretty much offered Holland Racing the same deal as 2013, which included a large cash rental fee and percentage of the net profit. Not having the sponsorship they hoped for, the Willises found this offer disappointing and financially stressful. It didn’t have any language about live music, craft-beer vendors, or a multiple-day event, and unlike the previous year, there was no percentage of revenue, but a much higher one-day flat rental. They said to themselves, “We can’t do this.” “It was a complete departure from our model. Normally we won’t put on an event unless we can cover our fixed costs upfront with sponsorship,” said Willis. The year before, Holly and Andrew were in over $50,000 before the Tour of Austin even opened for registration, confident they would make it back, and they did. “It was a complete departure from our model. Normally we won’t put on an event unless we can cover our fixed costs upfront with sponsorship. The entry fee model just doesn’t work, but for COTA we decided to take that risk in an effort to get our foot in the door with them,” said Andrew Willis. This new agreement left them feeling unconfident and uncertain. Coming to an agreement so late in the year left no time to develop sufficient sponsorship to cover costs and would leave Andrew and Holly’s funds exposed once again. Would people once again pay $75 to race or would there be a “been there, done that” mentality? Andrew wrote back with a counter offer, reminding COTA about the music, the beer vendors, and the second day. They notified him that they were extremely busy with the X-Games and it would take a while for a response. Andrew was confident he could at least lock down COTA for one day and decided to pursue a third venue since he already had The Driveway. He reached out to Belterra, and the same property manager he had worked with previously told him that they would love to have the race back. Things were looking to be back on track for The Tour of Austin: one day each at The Driveway, COTA, and Belterra. The meetings with Belterra were going great, but the Willises still hadn’t heard back from COTA. After May of 2014 came, phones calls and emails were made in hopes of contacting and finalizing the deal with COTA. Another roadblock came up when Andrew reached out to Hayes County. Since the last Belterra race, the county had changed the way they do road closures, requiring more documentation since the county had grown. While working to meet these requirements, both Belterra and the Willises realized they were running out of time for the Tour of Austin. After the X-Games came and went, Andrew reached out to COTA yet again and got no reply. He couldn’t get them to answer his phone calls or his emails. With things out of his reach or control, Andrew discussed other options with Holly and other pillars of the cycling community. Suggestions were tossed around, but it boiled down to not having sufficient time even after months and months of work. They wanted to ensure that the event would work for the residents, be safe for the riders, and be something they could be proud of when they put their name on it. The cards did not fall that way. For several years, Andrew had bent over backwards to make sure the Tour of Austin and a slew of other events happened no matter the cost. But he realized they couldn’t lose money any longer. The long weekends. The stress. Relying on relatives to watch their kids for days on end to help make a bike race happen. It was all for not if, in the end it didn’t benefit the family. In the first five years with Holland Racing, Andrew had gained 50 pounds, sacrificed quality time with his family, and after Georgetown Grand in 2012, the physical and mental stress gave way to signs of some heart problems. “I must put being a good father and husband first and also think about my health before trying to be a super promoter,” Andrew admitted. The future of The Tour of Austin is uncertain at this point in Andrew and Holly’s eyes. They, of course, would love nothing more than for the event to go on, but a mutual and reasonable agreement with an ideal venue is crucial. Despite the rigmarole with COTA, Andrew would love to work with them in the future; after all, it is an amazing complex. Being a promoter can often be a thankless position, but we here at TexasBikeRacing.com would like to express gratitude to this power couple. Andrew and Holly have devoted so much time into cultivating the cycling scene in Austin and in Texas, and we appreciate you. Cheers and keep your heads up!
  15. http://www.mystatesman.com/news/news/circuit-of-the-americas-says-tax-bill-nearly-5-mil/ngXfW/#05f6dbad.3578670.735415 By Marty Toohey - American-Statesman Staff  The managers of Austin’s Circuit of the Americas race track are arguing the $7 million-plus property-tax bill they receive in January is more than 2½ times higher than it should be, an assertion disputed by the arm of the local government that sets property values. The two sides have been in district court since the fall, and Wednesday, in a separate hearing, Circuit of the Americas will argue that government appraisers are trying to overvalue the track for the second year in a row. At stake is roughly $5 million that would be split between the city, county, health care district, Austin Community College and the Del Valle school district. Circuit of the Americas president Jason Dial declined to speak to the specifics of the case, citing the ongoing lawsuit. But he said the tax bill would require the track to add $50 in taxes for each ticket sold. Travis Central Appraisal District chief Marya Crigler said the district stands by its determination that the track was worth $273 million in 2013, but likewise said she could not speak to many of the case’s specifics because it is in court. “The Circuit of the Americas is a unique and complex property to appraise,” she has said. Track critics said the dispute speaks to the larger debate about whether Texas’ property appraisal system is weighted too heavily in favor of large businesses, at the expense of homeowners. “They’re basically saying that Travis County homeowners should pay higher taxes to cover what (the circuit) wants us to think it shouldn’t have to pay,” said Bill Aleshire, possibly the loudest Circuit of the Americas critic. The former county judge and tax-office chief added: “It’s ridiculous that after going around telling everyone what an asset to the tax base they would be, and getting tens of millions in tax breaks on the notion they are such an economic boon, that they would turn around and argue it isn’t really worth that much.” The 3.4-mile-track has hosted the United States Grand Prix, for which it was built, the past two Novembers. In addition, it has staged the internationally televised X Games and Moto GP, among other events. The venue is about 1,500 acres total and also includes a 14,000-seat amphitheater. The Statesman is a corporate sponsor of the amphitheater. Circuit of the Americas has been widely praised for its efficient staging of the events. The track has, quite literally, brought international attention to Austin and, according to its supporters, brought millions of dollars to the city. But it remains a polarizing bit of Austin civic life, mainly because of the up to $25 million in state tax incentives the track expects to collect each year for its first 10 years, along with discounted utilities and other enticements the city offered to get the track built after a series of protracted, contentious debates. Track critics say those incentives should not be going to a private event. The cost to build the circuit has been reported anywhere from $300 million to $450 million. The eight pages’ worth of court records filed so far provide few details as to how Circuit of the Americas determined how much the track is worth, and how that differs from the appraisal district’s conclusions. The track’s lawyers submitted only a one-page letter to the appraisal district in May 2013 requesting an unspecified lower value, according to the appraisal district. At the end of 2012 the appraisal district determined the track was worth $273,110,489, making its property-tax bill $7,349,949.48, according to Travis County Tax Office records. The track paid $2,751,972.89 on time, according to the tax office. The rest of the bill, $4,597,976.59, is based on inaccurately high valuing of the property, according to Circuit of the Americas. Based on the $2.8 million in taxes they have paid, the owners have apparently decided the track is worth roughly $102 million. Dial, the Circuit of the Americas president, said the bill accompanying a $273 million value “translates to over $50 in taxes per ticket sold. That $50 tax would be on top of sales tax and other applicable taxes. This is an excessive tax burden placed on Austinites attending or wanting to attend events at Circuit of The Americas and Austin360 Amphitheater.” The court challenge is based on the argument that the track has not been appropriately compared to similar properties. State law allows commercial properties to be appraised based on the median value of “a reasonable number” of comps. Such a comparison has not happened, according to the lawsuit. It’s not clear from the court records what properties track managers think should be used in the comparison. As of Tuesday, Circuit of the Americas also owed $827,635.80 in late penalties and interest, in addition to the $4.6 million still unpaid from the January bill. But tax office spokeswoman Tiffany Seward said the penalties will ultimately depend on the outcome of the lawsuit. The track is not delinquent on its taxes, according to the tax office. The appraisal district contends the track is now worth $289,242,788, the amount on which the bill arriving next January would be based. — This story has been updated to clarify an unclear description of the Circuit of the Americas incentive agreement with the state.
  16. Yesterday, a "Michel Boisvert" sent me a tweet saying that a Canadian GP contract announcement was coming soon.... @gpAmericas @Austin_F1 Expect an announcement this weekend! 10 year deal for the #GPCanada http://www.grandprix247.com/2014/06/06/new-canada-gp-contract-set-to-be-announced/ Montreal race promoter Francois Dumontier has sounded alarmed in recent weeks and months, as the backing of the event by the varying levels of Canadian government was holding up the signing of a new ten-year contract beyond 2014. But La Presse, the French-language Quebec newspaper, has now said that Formula 1 will continue at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve until 2024, “barring a catastrophe”. “An announcement should be made [Friday] at noon at the scene of the race,” said correspondent Sebastian Templar, “ending negotiations that started almost two and half years ago.” Templar quoted a spokesperson for Quebec’s tourism minister as hinting that there “could be good news soon” regarding the Canadian Grand Prix. Radio Canada is also expecting the announcement to be made during a press conference on Friday. (GMM)
  17. Canadian GP contract renewed?

    ....and then they penalized PEREZ, saying he changed his line and caused the incident. Holy crap! He did change his line ever so slightly, but Massa jinked hard to the right, right into him. It looked to me like Massa would have hit him even if Perez had held his line perfectly. 50/50 racing incident in my opinion, & IF a penalty was necessary, it should have been on Massa. I like Massa, and I got a chance to ask him a couple of questions in person in Austin, but I told my boy a few laps before the incident that he should watch closely, but Massa had a fast car in traffic, so the chances were high that he'd do something stupid....and voila! Re: Montreal, yeah, I was never really worried they'd lose the race again like they did a few years ago, but I was still glad to hear of the renewal of one of my favorite races in great destination. Probably taking the family next year.
  18. Canadian GP contract renewed?

    Canada seals new 10-year F1 deal, commits to facility improvements: http://www.jamesallenonf1.com/2014/06/canadian-grand-prix-seals-new-10-year-deal/
  19. Canadian GP contract renewed?

    Michel Boisvert@cheesy_poofs @Austin_F1 The mayor of Montreal has called a press conference Saturday to make an major announcement regarding the future of the #GPCanada
  20. That really was an amazing finish. One of the best I've seen anywhere. The rest of the race wasn't too bad either. Can't wait for the sprints tonight. Gonna try to get some good pics.
  21. Lots more at the link: imgur.com/a/By57N
  22. With RedFest coming up & X Games construction underway, will RedFest be surrounded by construction? I've heard sales are pretty miserable for RedFest though, so maybe it's not that big of a deal.
  23. Bernie Ecclestone Casts Doubt Over Future Of British Grand Prix. Long, but very interesting read (imho). As one of our followers put it, you could basically change Silverstone to COTA and most of the article would still be true. The end of the article reads like a plea for METF-esque state subsidy help to save the British GP. http://www.forbes.com/sites/csylt/2014/05/10/bernie-ecclestone-casts-doubt-over-future-of-british-grand-prix/ Silverstone is owned by the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC), a group of 850 senior motor racing figures which took over the lease of the track from Britain’s Royal Automobile Club in 1952. It sits on a former airfield and hosted the first round of the F1 world championship in 1950 which makes it one of the most historic tracks on the calendar. Nevertheless, the BRDC has been trying to sell the track’s operating company Silverstone Circuits Limited (SCL) and lease its related land for the past five years. It isn’t surprising since SCL made a $3.6 million operating loss in 2012 and lost a further $1.5 million the previous year. Earlier this week the BBRDC announced that the sale talks had collapsed and this has driven the doubt over the future of the British Grand Prix. The BRDC has been down this road before. It did a similar deal in 2000 when marketing firm Interpublic took over management of Silverstone. The arrangement was short-lived, as Interpublic made huge losses on the deal, and it ended three years early in April 2004. The BRDC took back the management of the track and Mr Ecclestone was instrumental in helping it get a huge payout from the deal. It was used to build a business park surrounding Silverstone but Mr Ecclestone suggests it should have been kept in the bank. “God only knows what is going on at Silverstone, it’s quite incredible,” he told Forbes. “This is the BRDC. That’s the problem. Years ago they could have sorted all that out. I got them out of a silly deal and got them 60 million in cash. Who knows whether the race is at risk. We have come to an arrangement with them. I’m happy with that.” Although Silverstone hosts more than 50 motor races every year, the reason that the track loses money is largely due to the single F1 Grand Prix. Race organisers generally do not get any revenue from F1’s television broadcasts or its corporate hospitality and advertising hoardings during a Grand Prix. Money from them goes to the rights holder the F1 Group leaving the circuits with ticket sales as their sole source of income from the series. This usually barely covers the annual hosting fee with running costs often funded by investment from governments. The British Grand Prix is a rare exception as it gets no state subsidies. It means that the BRDC has to try to cover the running costs and hosting fee from ticket sales alone. This task is made all the more difficult by the fact that the hosting fee increases by an estimated 5% annually and this year comes to an estimated $23.1 million. This is the special “arrangement” Mr Ecclestone is referring to since F1 race fees rise to more than $60 million annually and usually increase by 10% every year. Despite getting a good deal, the increasing hosting fee has still driven up the British Grand Prix ticket prices to become some of the most expensive in F1. They started at $244 (£145) in 2013 making them more expensive than even the cheapest tickets to the Monaco Grand Prix and the men’s final at Wimbledon. The higher the ticket prices, the harder it is to fill the stands and cover the running costs and hosting fee for the race. It explains why the BRDC took the decision to try to distance itself from the track and, in turn, from the organisation of the British Grand Prix. The sale process began in 2009 when the members of the club gave the directors permission to sell a lease on the circuit and surrounding land rather than permission to sell it outright. The club then engaged accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers to contact potential investors and it entered into exclusive talks with a preferred bidder. The talks fell through and in May 2012 the BRDC announced it had opened discussions with other parties. In August last year it came to light that the talks had paid off as British newspaper the Independent revealed that a buyer had finally been found. The BRDC confirmed the scoop in September and announced that property group MEPC had paid it $54 million (£32 million). In return MEPC got a 999-year lease on 280 acres of land surrounding the circuit including the business park which was funded with the money from Interpublic. The BRDC also said it had agreed terms to sell the lease on Silverstone itself and in November 2013 the Independent disclosed the details of this. Its report revealed that terms were agreed on 8 August 2013 when the BRDC signed a conditional binding agreement to sell its circuit business, Silverstone Circuits Ltd, along with a separate lease of the 467 acres of track-related land. The deal put a price of just $16.9 million (£10 million) on Silverstone which stands in stark contrast to the construction cost of purpose-built F1 circuits. Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, has hosted F1’s United States Grand Prix since 2012 and cost an estimated $400 million to build. Likewise, the facility in Abu Dhabi, which hosted its first F1 race in 2009, cost a total of $500 million. A new 3.5-mile track, which is set to rival Silverstone, is being built just 110 miles away in Wales and its management has forecast that it will cost $420 million (£250 million) to build. The construction cost is one thing but the price obtained for a track on sale is another. The reason that Silverstone’s sale value was so low is common to all F1 tracks. Former BRDC chairman Stuart Rolt explained in a letter to club members last year that “the value of an asset that has a locked purpose as a business (in Silverstone’s case to be operated primarily as a motor racing circuit) is largely calculated from the profit that can be derived from it.” He adds “we made a net loss in the year…Our circuit assets value reflects this.” Clause five of the BRDC Members’ Charter ensures that “the core operation and activity of the Circuits and immediately surrounding land to remain essentially as a venue for car racing and related activities.” Accordingly, the lease-holder could not convert Silverstone into a different business, such as a housing estate, so its price can only be based on its financial performance as a racing track. Bearing that in mind that Silverstone made a $3.6 million operating loss in 2012 it doesn’t sound too bad that the following year it had a $16.9 million sale price. However, in the end the BRDC could not even get that. On Wednesday the BRDC announced that the sale of SCL and lease of the track-related land has fallen through. It is perhaps no surprise given that the asset on offer was a loss-making business. The announcement said that “the BRDC will now retain full ownership of SCL” and “as the authority granted by Members to the Board to secure a deal has now expired, no further agreements of this nature will be entered into without first communicating with Members.” In 2012 Mr Rolt said that the purpose of the sale was “to completely separate on a financial level Silverstone from the BRDC for the period of the lease.” As the sale will not be taking place the BRDC is left with a loss-making track which is a potential liability and this has fuelled doubt over the future of the British Grand Prix. The news about the brakes being put on the sale comes at a bad time. The prospectus for the stalled stock market flotation of F1 states that race “fees are often due three months before the Event” which is around now since the British Grand Prix will take place on 6 July. The funds from a sale of SCL and a lease of the related land would have helped to offset the $23.1 million race fee though the BRDC is nevertheless getting a boost from elsewhere. British driver Lewis Hamilton is currently second in the F1 standings, up from fourth last year, and Silverstone’s chairman Neil England recently said that this has fuelled an increase in ticket sales. Mr England said he had some concerns early in the year but sales are now “pretty much in line with where we’d like them to be.” In a letter sent to members earlier this week BRDC chairman John Grant added that “forecasts prepared by the management team as part of the sale process demonstrate that results should improve over the coming years, and we expect the business to be profitable before depreciation in 2014.” If this is what happens then it should clear up any doubt over the future of the British Grand Prix. However, if Silverstone makes another loss it isn’t clear what source would be used to cover it. Although many millionaires and several billionaires are members of the BRDC its structure as a club has meant that the directors have historically not approached them for funding. The BRDC’s 2012 financial statements show that it had just $418,000 (£259,000) of cash reserves and they won’t be topped up with the money from MEPC. Instead of putting the money in the bank it is being used to clear debt which funded construction of a new pit and paddock complex. The facility opened in 2011 and helped Silverstone land a 17-year contract to host the British Grand Prix. The BRDC can’t fall back on the Interpublic money either because that was used to fund construction of the business park which was leased to MEPC to clear the debt. If the BRDC had kept the Interpublic money in the bank it would have reduced the current uncertainty which explains Mr Ecclestone’s comment that “years ago they could have sorted all that out.” An obvious source of funding to cover a loss would be more debt. However, it seems unlikely that this would be high on the BRDC’s list of options given the lengths it has gone to in order to become debt free. There is also the question of how much money could be borrowed given that security would need to be provided for a loan and the BRDC has sold off its most valuable asset – the land surrounding the track. Indeed, as the BRDC has spent years trying but failing to sell its remaining asset – the track and related land – it would be ironic if it became the security for a new loan. The reason for this is that the point of a loan security is that it can be seized by the bank if the borrower fails to repay the debt. The bank can then sell the security to try to recoup the money that it loaned. However, if an asset has failed to sell over five years then it raises the question of whether a bank would want it as a security. That said, one of the biggest hurdles in the way of selling Silverstone could have been that the track is loss-making and this of course results from it being used as a race track. Silverstone’s purpose is locked as a “venue for car racing and related activities” in the BRDC Members’ Charter but it remains to be seen whether this restriction would still apply if the track had a new owner rather than a new lease-holder. If the BRDC was no longer the owner then one wonders whether its Members’ Charter could still be enforced over Silverstone. If not, then a bank could threaten to level the track and develop the land for residential purposes which would make a great deal of money. Given Silverstone’s historic status within the motor racing industry such a threat would almost certainly force the government of the United Kingdom into finally giving state subsidies to the track. Not only could that secure Silverstone’s future but it would bring the British Grand Prix into line with the majority of the other races on the F1 calendar. Perhaps F1’s biggest irony is that the British Grand Prix does not get any state funding despite it being the first-ever round of the F1 world championship and despite the F1 Group and the majority of the 11 teams being based in Britain. In contrast, the US Grand Prix gets around $25 million of funding every year from the state of Texas even though not a single F1 team is located in the country. Even the new track which is being built in Wales has already received a $3.4 million (£2 million) grant from the Welsh government which itself is funded by the UK government. The project recently attracted criticism as it is asking for a further $84 million (£50 million) more from the government but has refused to name its investors. Regardless of whether it gets $84 million, the $3.4 million that it has already received is more than the UK government gives to Silverstone which has been creating jobs and acting as a national flagship for the motor racing industry for decades. It is certainly not work in progress like the track in Wales. Although the $3.4 million may not sound like a great deal in motor racing terms it alone could have gone a long way to covering the shortfall in Silverstone’s 2012 financial statements. Time will tell whether it has fared any better since then.
  24. Yesterday was my youngest boy's 8th birthday party & he wanted me to take him to Cotton Bowl Speedway with his buddies.So of course I couldn't tell him no, right? Last night's races were some of the best I've ever seen in the Modified, Sport Mod, & I Stock classes. 3 wide finish, the #2 Camaro coming from last to win after being charged with a caution, & more. The boys had a blast, especially thanks to the drivers who would return their waves as they took their cool-down laps post-race. You know who you are. Thanks y'all. You're all heroes to these kiddos & you may not know how much it meant to them for you to give them a little wave as you passed on the way off-track. Keep up the great driving!
  25. One of our fb followers asked why they don't just hit up the SCCA for experienced volunteer track marshalls like every other road circuit in the U.S. They probably would, except that they pissed off and alienated the SCCA & its members early on.
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