Racetrack decks hold up to the Texas sun for Formula 1 fans.
For Austin Deck Co., Austin, TX, when a large commercial deck project comes along, they are all in, bringing the big guns as far as materials, tools, and installation techniques. When owner Abe Oeltjen and his crew took on two major deck projects for Austin-based Circuit of the Americas (COTA), the only permanent Formula 1 circuit in the United States, he inspired confidence with the track officials that the job would be high quality, fast, and on time. COTA’s challenging 3.41-mi. racetrack boasts 20 turns with an intimidating 133-ft. hill at Turn 1. COTA is the home of the World Championships and the United States Grand Prix, and also attracts the biggest names in music to its Austin-360 Amphitheater.
The initial deck required two weeks of planning and discussion with track owners and included specifications using capped polymer deck board from AZEK, Skokie, IL, and a fastening system from CAMO Edge Fastening, Grand Rapids, MI, ensuring a fastener-free surface.
“We first designed a 1,200-sq.-ft. deck for the Vitamin Water-sponsored area for parties and entertainment events,” said Oeltjen. “This served as a test deck for 18 months as the racetrack officials considered building a very large, permanent structure for the Personal Seat License (PSL) seats for viewing the track.”
After the deck performed well and stood up to continuous crowds and blazing Texas heat, Oeltjen got the green light to break ground on the new 4,650-sq- ft. PSL viewing deck located on the track at Turn 15. It would boast amenities such as a large canopy with audio/video systems, food and drink service, and a great view of the track. Previously, COTA would erect and tear down a temporary structure before each race or event with inspections required. The construction would provide a permanent structure also used year round for picnics and concerts.
“Keeping fans comfortable outdoors in Texas can be tough,” said Brian Mishkin, COTA’s senior director, Facilities & Events. “However, Austin Deck Co. helped us to provide the best environment possible. The AZEK deck accomplished many different benefits—it doesn’t retain heat and is extremely low maintenance, plus the CAMO edge fastening gave it a fastener-free surface for safety and a nice look. It really has been a great structure and we’ve used it quite a bit already.”
“We designed and built the seating area in a way that fans of any physical ability can use the deck equitably,” commented Oeltjen.
The same AZEK Slate Gray color used for the Vitamin Water party deck was chosen for the PSL deck because it blended with the general décor of the racetrack. Custom metal railings that match the miles of metal railing within and around the racetrack property were also selected.
The resulting PSL viewing deck and party deck are value-added additions to Circuit of the Americas’ management and tens of thousands of fans. “As an outdoor venue in Texas, we are constantly looking for ways to improve our fan experience and Austin Deck Co. really nailed it with the shaded viewing deck,” said Mishkin. “We feel that the new deck was an excellent amenity to enhance their entire race experience.”