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DATE News (chronologically)
12/23/12
track news
Driving schools to use Circuit of the Americas track, after all
After a back-and-forth between the Circuit of the Americas and at least two high-performance driving schools, circuit officials said Saturday night the schools will indeed have use of the Austin-area track.

Circuit officials said the kerfuffle was caused by miscommunication.

The situation started Saturday morning when automotive website Jalopnik reported that the circuit had “canceled all rentals, club races, driver’s education events and other track days for 2013,” even with organizations that had mailed checks. The story was based on emails sent to the website from two high-performance driver’s education schools, one in Northeast Texas. The schools see great appeal in giving their customers the opportunity to drive on an international track that drew rave reviews during its inaugural Formula One race in November.

Rick Schwalenberg, owner of The Driver’s Edge school in Mount Vernon, told the American-Statesman that he had received a call from the circuit’s track manager Friday informing him that circuit organizers were canceling all rentals to noncompetitive organizations. Schwalenberg said he was planning for two days of track time on Jan. 12-13 and for 140 drivers and 45 instructors, though he hadn’t opened up registration.

The Drivers Edge teaches high-performance driving to amateur and professional drivers in their own cars, mostly high-end vehicles such as McLarens, Porsches, Mercedes and BMWs, Schwalenberg said. The school hosts an average of 12 events a year at several racetracks around Texas, he said.

According to Jalopnik, on Saturday the Circuit of the Americas’ Facebook page was “already brimming with angry comments from enthusiasts who feel like they’ve been screwed over.”

A circuit statement Saturday evening said it will honor the agreements and is just limiting the number of vehicles “on (the) track at any given time to ensure a fun and safe experience for participants.”

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