Austin is becoming the land of international speed.
If you want to see world class motorsports in the United States, Texas' capital will soon be the No. 1 place to do it. MotoGP — the top high-speed motorcycle racing circuit in the world — will be joining Formula One in holding races at the new track that's being built out by Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.
MotoGP signed a 10-year deal that will start in 2013 to hold its world championship grand prix at the Austin track, which will be built to handle both Formula One cars and ultra high-speed motorcycles. Formula One signed a nine-year agreement last May that puts the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix in Austin starting next year.
The new track is expected to be completed in time for the 2012 Formula 1 United States Grand Prix. The combination of Formula One and MotoGP gives Austin unprecedented international speed cred.
" I believe it is the first time in American Motorsports history that both the cars and motorbikes world championships are held at the same facility annually," track promoter Tavo Hellmund said. "We are very proud of becoming the United States international facility for motorsports."
Both Formula One and MotoGP are popular international sports (in Formula One's case, hugely popular) that have struggled to gain a consistent audience in America. The Grand Prix will be the first F1 race on American soil since 2007. MotoGP holds two other races in the U.S. currently, but it hadn't run in America for 10 years before a 2005 return.
Now, everything centers on Austin. The city's new track hasn't been finished yet, but it did pick up a name on Tuesday as well. It's been dubbed Circuit of the Americas.
It will not just hold mega motorcycle and Formula One race weeks every year either. Officials say that there will be a outdoor concert venue at the site as well.
The press conference in Austin to announce it all Tuesday was a big-enough deal that Red McCombs, the co-founder of Clear Channel Communications, came out himself to talk up the track. McCombs — the former San Antonio Spurs and Minnesota Vikings owner — is the main investor in the multi-purpose project.
The $250-million facility is expected to be able to hold up to 120,000 fans on race days.
That's not just Texas big. It's internationally large.