Updated 10/09/2012 10:47 AM
Lockhart council gives green light to go kart grand prix
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The upcoming Formula One Grand Prix in southeast Travis County is drawing international attention, but a grand prix you've probably never heard of is coming to Lockhart.
The Lockhart City Council gave the go-ahead Monday night to bring the Lone Star Grand Prix to town.
Event organizers say Lockhart has a lot of the things they need in a race town — it’s scenic, there is plenty to do, it is near area highways, but also, the town is paved with smooth roads.
The smooth roads are significant because the Lone Star Grand Prix won’t be showcasing your average go karts. The little vehicles can reach speeds up to 100 miles per hour and can go from zero to 60 in less than for seconds.
The high speed nature of the karts is the reason behind finding a location with smooth roads, especially since drivers are just inches from the ground.
Organizers say they expect more than 200 teams will flock to Lockhart for the race, representing 18 states and five countries.
The race track would go around the historic Lockhart courthouse, three blocks to the south as well as one block to the west — taking up a total of four blocks in Lockhart’s small downtown.
Eric Marsh is a business owner who asked the city council to approve the race. He says the grand prix will be good for business.
Many F1 drivers get their start racing go karts.
"There's always a chance that today we'll see the superstars of tomorrow," Marsh said. "Hopefully they'll come back in future years or stay for the barbecue."
No one spoke against the race at Monday's council meeting, but there were some questions.
"Parking and access is my concern and then the noise level because we're trying to work," business owner Laura Cline said.
City leaders say they will work with businesses and residents that will be affected by the race. Mayor Lew White believes the potential upside of the event is worth a couple of days of inconvenience.
"Draw business to our town, visitors that will shop in our shops, buy gas at our gas stations and eat in our restaurants," he said.
Now, the town will be known for a little more than barbecue.
"The idea that we would bring somewhere in the neighborhood of 2,000 to 5,000 more people into town, this could be a start of a new phase for Lockhart," Wayne Bock with the Lockhart Chamber of Commerce said.
The Lone Star Grand Prix will be held March 2 and 3.
City officials is hopeful that the race will become an annual event