Fans have flocked to Texas to see the V8Supercars’ inaugural Austin 400 event.
Australians and Americans alike haveflooded into the Circuit of the Americas, thrilled to see the V8 machinestackle a new track – and a new continent.
Though the event was always going to be aplanning and branding exercise, the success has exceeded expectations.
Three women from Canberra, Australia, have done thetrip over after making the decision around a Bathurst campfire last year, andwith matching pink personalised shirts are supporting the event all the way.
Bridget and Natalie are long time V8Supercar fans, and friend Nicole has now been hooked on the sport after the lasttwo days at the circuit.
“It’s an unbelievable facility!” Bridgetsaid. “We cannot believe the hospitality of the Texan people, they cannot helpus enough.
“The track is unbelievable – we’ve gotgrandstand seats, they weren’t expensive, and we can see about eight corners.You just don’t get that in Australia.
“I’ll be back definitely, it’s unreal."
The event has provided the opportunity tosee not only their favourite sport abroad on debut, but to travel around theUSA and get a good holiday out of it, with stops in LA, Vegas, New York andHawaii.
Argentinian fan Miguel found out about theV8 Supercars years ago when running an internet search on Ford race cars. Hesaw the Falcon – “the one with the round lights” – and was fascinated by the series.
“Since I learned about the series Icouldn’t stop watching them and following online… I think this will show whatracing is to a lot of people here. They do oval racing, drag racing – butthat’s not circuit racing. And this is the best series in the world.”
For years he’s followed V8 Supercars abroad– and drove no less than 21 hours to be here at the event with his brother andfather. In a minivan.
“Yesterday’s race – the colours, thepeople – everything was amazing.
“It’s quite an experience – the soundis so different to what I hear on TV, the smell of the exhaust gases, I tookpictures with the drivers, I stood next to the cars – I was amazed.”
And the fans aren’t the only story at theCircuit of the Americas. Years ago, a 16-year old girl worked in hospitality,in the V8 Paddock Club at Eastern Creek. Now she is Miss Vonny, a Sydney girl pursuinga music career in the US and living in Austin. After an opportunity to sing inVegas, she stayed in the States and is now recording her second album, with asingle on the way shortly.
“A friend gave me a call (about singing thenational anthem) and I was thrilled and honoured to do it,” Miss Vonny said.“It came together literally the day before the rehearsal! But I love it and amglad to be a part of it.
“The moment was right at the end (of theanthem yesterday) when I was doing the anthem and the crowd was doing theAussie cheer – 'Ausssie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi' – that gave me chillsand put a tear in my eye. It was really special and something I’ll neverforget."
While she isn’t a hardcore V8 Supercarsfan, Miss Vonny said she admired the speed and bravery of the drivers, andenjoyed the spectacle.
“The industry is amazing and I think it’sincredible it’s come over here to Austin. I’m really proud of it.”