19th March, 2012
I was in Austin for SXSW a week or so ago, and coming up in November is the first US Grand Prix for a number of years hosted at a circuit that is being built just down the road.
Austin is by no means a stranger city to huge events arriving in town - between the hundreds of thousands of people at the three SXSW events and the motorcycle convention one local told me would rock up every year, it’s used to having huge volumes of people descending on the town. Meanwhile Downtown hotels have already sold out for the Grand Prix weekend, and by the looks of it prices were up 3 or 4 times over their usual rates.
I spoke to some Austinites while I was there, and there was general apathy towards the event. They didn’t seem to understand why the race was going there in particular. One resident I spoke to - who had let out their room on AirBnB for SXSW - said they were going to do the same for the GP weekend to cash in.
We’ll have to see what the Americans make of it when they get there.