COTA: Second North American event would boost Austin 400
21 May 2013
Moves to add a second North American event to the V8 Supercars schedule will be welcomed by the Circuit of the Americas as the venue pushes to develop the Austin 400.
The COTA hosted V8 Supercars’ first foray into the world’s biggest consumer market at the weekend, attracting an announced attendance of 69,000.
Unlike recent international V8 Supercars events in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi that were built on public money as drivers of tourism, the Austin 400 will rely on ticket revenue – and the success-linked local event fund – for survival.
The weekend’s crowd is said to have included Americans from 30 different states, while nine percent of the total patrons travelled from Australia.
Having reportedly paid in the region of $6.5 million to host the series this year, twinning the Austin event with another in North America looms as an attractive option for the circuit as it aims to ensure sustainability over its current five-year term and beyond.
“When there are sports in America that are in various markets that raises the tide for everyone,” said COTA president Steve Sexton, admitting that the circuit has “had discussions” about twinning with another venue.
“It raises the media awareness, the fan awareness, the social media awareness, and that typically converts to selling tickets.
“It’s really V8 Supercars’ decision whether to go and pursue other circuits and reach out in North America, but I can tell you we share the vision of raising that tide and getting V8 Supercars more exposure in the country,” he added.
V8 Supercars’ director of international business, Adam Firth, has remained in America following the weekend, where it is understood that he’ll be meeting with a selection of potential promoters for further races.
The COTA’s contract with V8 Supercars does prevent the category from racing within a designated radius of Austin, Texas, although just how far reaching the limit extends is unclear.
NRL's St George Illawarra legend Wendell Sailor and HRT's James Courtney at the Austin 400