by Tiffany Harelik
Austin is buzzing in preparation for its first Formula 1 US Grand Prix race taking place on Nov. 16-18, 2012. The new circuit in Austin is a 3.4 mile loop. Drivers will make 56 counter-clockwise laps around the course. Mario Andretti recently drove his championship-winning Lotus 79 through the track claiming “The track is phenomenal. It has all the features that you are looking for, giving you the opportunity to overtake, while negotiating some tighter corners. You can tell that a lot of thought has gone into it.”
Before plans were finalized to bring F1 to Austin, an environmental commitment agreement was drafted between the City of Austin and the Circuit of the Americas (COTA). COTA as agreed to comply with the sustainability initiatives set forth in the agreement and will report on these measures annually. But that is not all. COTA has committed to long-term sustainability goals. Edgar Ferrara, COTA Director of Sustainability, recently stated, “we’re going to raise the bar and we’re going to set an example, ‘ And that’s the approach we all have taken”.
COTA has committed to setting a standard for sustainability in North American motorsports. They have joined the Green Sports Alliance and are working closely with many leaders in the industry. “We are excited to be collaborating with the best minds in sustainable facility management”, said Ferrara.
See some of COTA’s Sustainability Initiatives highlighted below:
- They have removed invasive plant species as well as introduced more tall grasses in efforts to restore dry creek and blackland prairie areas.
- They have planted over 1,000 new (mostly native) trees.
- Low flow toilets are being used to conserve water at the facilities.
- Recycling and composting programs are in effect. Also food and beverage vendors will be using recyclable or compostable/biodegradable cups and dishes.
- Carbon Reduction project in effect with non-profit group TreeFolks
- Transportation: Mass Transit Options and Access for Cyclists
- Eco-Opt Ticketing Program. Ticket buyers have the options to add a charge to their purchase to support one of three local eco projects.
For more information on the Austin Grand Prix, visit: http://circuitoftheamericas.com/