Schwantz: Texas GP offers “exciting prospect”

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

The former 500cc World Champion has been a key figure in the signing of a ten-year deal to bring MotoGP to his home state from 2013, and discussed his enthusiasm at the announcement of the news.

Following news on Tuesday of the addition of the Circuit of the Americas™ in Austin, Texas, to the MotoGP calendar from 2013, Kevin Schwantz spoke to motogp.com about the ten-year deal to bring the World Championship to his home state.

Discussing the new facility, which is currently under construction and is due for completion in mid-2012, the 1993 500cc World Champion’s enthusiasm was evident at the prospect of the new event.

“Having watched the development of this facility I am genuinely excited about it, and I think it’s going to be highly attractive,” Schwantz told motogp.com. “From a rider’s perspective, which is how I look at things, I think it’s going to be a great track. It’ll be really challenging, it’s going to be safe and it’s going to be a nice, long lap. As a rider you will have to work to be able to put good laps together in order to be able to stay at the front of the race. There are a lot of good things and for me it’s a very exciting prospect.”

The input of Schwantz has been central to helping develop the circuit as one suitable for motorcycle racing, as he continued to explain: “One of my good friends here in Texas, Tavo Hellmund, is the one who put this whole project together. He is one of the three owners of the facility and when talking with him about it he was speaking about F1 – I was thinking that from a safety perspective we needed to make sure we didn’t do anything that would alienate us from bringing bikes here.”

“When they got into the design process of it I got fairly hands on. I don’t do a lot of work on the project day-to-day, but I sat in on quite a few meetings with the guys from the design group to make sure that we leave enough run-off for bikes, that it is safe enough for motorcycles, and hopefully that’ll be something that everybody notices.”

The importance of a long-term vision for the GP will, in Schwantz’s opinion, aid the raising of MotoGP’s profile further in the US.

“It’s all about the riders. If they like and love the place and feel it’s safe, they will be the biggest advocates of it and will talk about it and like racing here, and that’s what will attract the people here,” he said. “We want to try and make the profile of MotoGP here in America just like it is in Spain and Italy. We want it to be one of the top two or three forms of sports over here.”

“As riders we also know how excited people can be about racing. We want to be able to put everything in place to make it an event that everybody wants to come to, and one which you simply can’t afford to miss. From a logistical standpoint we are going to have a track that’s less than 10 miles from the state capital, with the airport being halfway between the city and the track. There are a lot of things that have been really thought through that will make it that much more enjoyable for the fans and a greater fan experience.”

Schwantz’s work in aiding the promotion of the new event will continue in the lead-up to the debut GP in 2013. “It’s exactly what I’ve been doing in the past at any opportunity I’ve had, with both Laguna Seca and Indianapolis. If I’m needed to do anything while all the MotoGP guys are off racing and there’s help needed with the publicity I’m hands on and am happy to do it,” he said.

“What I want to do is to try and get our sport the recognition it deserves. Laguna Seca has Wayne Rainey, Eddie Lawson and all those guys out there in California, and I do help there on occasions when I can, and it’ll be the same thing here in Texas. Home is close by, and I hope to be able to help promote everything that happens at the facility with motorsports in mind.”

“Having to travel only 20 minutes for my school to a site that’s a world class facility will be ideal,” he commented. “From the very beginning I knew what the facility would be like and for us something that hosts a World Championship level event and something close by here in Texas will be excellent.”

TAGS 2011 Kevin Schwantz

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