Texan legend Red McCombs behind Austin F1 race

Red McCombs is a legend in both sport and business in the USA

Wealthy Texan Red McCombs is the main investor behind the Austin F1 project.

Born in 1927, Billy Joe ‘Red’ McCombs made his fortune in car dealerships and was a founder of Clear Channel Communications. He is ranked by Forbes Magazine as one of the 400 richest Americans. He is heavily involved in sports and especially basketball, and used to own the San Antonio Spurs, Denver Nuggets and Minnesota Vikings teams. The business school at the University of Texas in Austin is named after him thanks to a $50m donation.

He also owns real estate company Koontz-McCombs and McCoombs Energy. As already reported here, there is a push to use the new track to help develop alternative fuels, which partly explains his interest.

McCombs admitted he knew nothing about F1 before the project started. He says Bernie Ecclestone asked him this morning if the track will be ready by 2012, and he replied, “Remember, we are talking about Texas, we are not talking about anywhere else…”

McCombs said: “Competition is what drives me, whatever the sport is, even if it’s a spelling bee. I’m for man against man.” He also made it clear that “we do intend for it to be a profitable venture.” He added that henceforth he wants to call Austin “Speed City”…

“Bringing Formula 1 back to the United States represents the opportunity of a lifetime and one that any city in the world would want,” said McCombs in a statement. “The size and scope of an F1 event is comparable to hosting a Super Bowl and will bring substantial economic benefit to Austin, San Antonio and the entire State of Texas.

“We know Tavo has a clear vision for developing Formula 1 into a major event with year-round opportunities. Over the past few years, he has built a solid business foundation and has assembled a great team – one we are proud to be part of. We are ready to roll-up our sleeves and work alongside Tavo to make this project a huge success.”

Hellmund added: “This project has been a tremendous undertaking. But for at least the next decade, Texas will host a global sporting event on an annual basis in a new world-class multipurpose facility. Knowing that our hard work is being rewarded and that my dream is becoming a reality is extremely gratifying. It is a great honor to have Red McCombs and McCombs Partners as our primary investor and partner. Red’s success in business and the professional sports arena is legendary. Working together as a team and under Red’s direction, we will ensure that this project will make all Texans very proud and will benefit our great State.”

Also involved are Prophet Capital Management, an Austin-based investment company, and Hellmund’s close friend, former two-wheel star Kevin Schwantz.


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15 responses to “Texan legend Red McCombs behind Austin F1 race

  1. SteveTX

    Coming from a fellow Texan: McCombs needs to lay off on the BS “I’m from Texas” talk. Put your money and devotion where your mouth is and get this track done ON TIME so, us, the Texas taxpayers aren’t paying one year’s sanctioning fees for nothing!

    PS- Adam, the Vikings are an NFL (football) team–not NBA (basketball).

  2. Gary Walter

    Adam – Did anyone mention who was paying for it? Is he part of a consortium putting cash into it or is he financially backing the whole thing himself?

    From my understanding the $25M to Bernie is to be repaid by the event; how are they going to do that and make money on this?

  3. Gary Walter

    Also do you see any connection between this announcement and your report of Ron Dennis’ comments this weekend in Indianapolis about two or three other serious proposals that could be completed before Austin? Timing is very intriguing.

  4. Black Knight

    This is great news – seriously. Red McCombs is for real I can attest to that from personal experience. They will have the resources.

    Managing the project however – TBD.

  5. Stag Corner

    I am glad to hear serious noises being made about the Austin project and that plans are starting to fall into place.

    I think scepticism about this project will remain for a while, from both in and outside of Formula One’s inner sanctum. Donington is still fresh in many minds. A calamity of that nature, following USF1 efforts, would surely be a mortal blow for F1 stateside.

    Can’t say I’m familiar with McCombs. However anybody with sufficient capital to sink into said professional sporting teams shouldn’t be underestimated. The announcement of his involvement should also add needed credibility to the project.

    As an aside, and I don’t think anybody else has picked up on this, Austin is a sister city of my home town (Adelaide, South Australia…in case my name didn’t give it away!)

    If there are any lingering doubts from the general public in Austin (and Texas at large) as to the benefits a grand prix can have on a city of similar size, demographic, artistic and socio-economic background, look no further.

    Adam, can you shed any light on the other US projects alluded to or are you going to keep them under your lid?!?

    PS –Thanks for taking the time to keep the blog going. It must be a challenge from time to time, thanks for making the effort. I’ve been along time lurker but a very regular reader. Cheers.

  6. glen

    Isn’t Red McCombs really Jack Nicklaus ??

    Or perhaps his brother ? They look alike !

  7. jim

    When Red owned the Vikings, he was all about trying to extort $$$ from the taxpayers for a new stadium under threat of moving the team to Texas or L.A.
    He’s a car salesman at heart, as that’s how he made his money. He also owned some TV stations.

    Serious questions need to be asked.
    McCombs didn’t want to put up much of his own money for a sport as popular as Football when he owned the Vikings. Now, he’s willing to throw up hundreds of millions on a motorsport he only heard of 7 weeks ago?
    Tavo said previously that his investor group had been working on this for years and that they weren’t from Texas. McCombs said he just signed on to this project 6-7 weeks ago and is about as Texas as you can get.
    I heard something about a college tie in for a technology center. So, how much State money do they want to build the supposed technology center?
    If it goes like Red’s Viking stadium proposals, he’d throw in 20% and the State would pony up the rest. He’d then own the facility outright, while the State would have to pay the ever increasing F1 sanctioning fee.
    [audio src="http://rope.92kqrs.com/everyonewinner.mp3" /]

  8. Matthew Goodsell

    F1 Formula One ( Indy style Race cars for my slower friends ) has announced that they will be racing here in Austin Texas in June 2012. What they did not know when they announced that on May 25th was that I live here.

    What I Didn’t know When I leased a 10 acre yard at the corner of Burleson Road and Hwy 183 ( 8509 Burleson Road Austin Texas ) was that Formula One Would ever come to Austin.

    One day a guy that works with me took a wrong turn to go to the Dump. I had to go rescue him because he blew out 2 tires on the trailer when he turned around. I was pissed! I loaded up my truck and went to rescue him. I turned down Burleson Road on my way. As I passed what I now know as 8509 Burleson Road I saw a For Rent sign. I took a quick look and said to myself ” Thats my new shop!” 4 days later I had a Ten year Lease with a option to buy.

    Serveral months passed and I started to ask myself why? Why would I do this when things are already hard enough as it is. Then I told myself ” Self, that’s what you do, you find the impossible and take a quick look, about .001 seconds before you leap!

    So this is all pre- May 25th Formula One Announcement.

    May 25th forward

    I heard first from a friend ( Gary Tucker ) that F1 was coming to town. ????? I thought to myself ( he has no idea what he is talking about ). Those of you that know me, know I worked for the Arciero Racing, Robby Gordon, Swift Engineering, Chenowth Racing, Jimco Race Cars and had a failed attempt at Paradigm Race Cars myself. So I know a few things about Racing.

    I could not imagin that this was true. I heard it on TV but was still a little skeptical. When It seemed to be a real deal, I started thinking, you know its got to be next to the airport, yeah they gotta fly those cars over from europe in C130’s and ABIA is the only airport with a runway that can handle that plane. HHMMM I am next to the airport on burleson, infact I am the first thing in the COUNTY, I am sittin pretty! Alright! So all this stress and struggle is about to pay off in a huge BLESSING. THANK YOU GOD! I need this, my family needs this, my business needs this!! OH THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU GOD.

    Ok, how do I hold on until it is anounced??????? Things are rough! I got people not paying, I can’t pay my bills, work is hard to get right now. HHHHMM I gotta make this happen. Do the best I can with what I got I guess. Sell what I must, work hours on end. Ok, Up at 4:00 am, work out hard to get my head straight, then eat right and try to stay steady Eddy. It can’t be but a few weeks, RIGHT?

    1 Month 2 Weeks and some change later

    At the yard on Sunday working on cleaning it up and trying to watch my Duaghter at the same time. Ok, thats not working, better take her for a ride around the block so she will go to sleep. Crusing down Burleson Road and right on FM 973, HHHMMM what are people doing working at the Dump on a Sunday at 4:30 p.m. ?????? We got that much trash?? Wait that hill looks like the prefect place for a ” U.S. Grand Prix ” sign.

    Doing the math+++++++ ————+++++++ 1 4 38 29 07 138 831 Hwy 183 ,130 Toll Road Interstae 10 WAIT AAHHHHH I know Ha I Know!!!

    Even better they are gonna build it in the same Block of land where I am at. Oh Man, Pay Day, Pay Day. Ahhh can it be???? People will be lined up. to invest in something like a Hotel Where I am at. Ahhhh cool ” True and Living GOD, Thank You.

    Last Tuesday

    Farce of a Press Conferance, to say a whole lot of nothing with a staged set of questions and no real details other than to say.

    WE ARE GOING TO TELL YOU IT IS HERE, WHEN THE INVIROMENTAL STUDY COMES BACK, WE WILL AT THAT TIME TELL YOU WE HAVE “plausible deniablility” This is amazing that we have found another location so near by, it was a “LAND FILL”, we are going to Repurpose the “LAND FILL” That other location we anounced will become the new “LAND FILL” We are heros Champions for our own pockets, oh meant to say people, but who cares about people right?

    I DO!!!!!!! The entire story with all involved, how when and why is complete and has been sent to several different places acrossed the country. Just Do what is right by all accounts, I am trying my best to make it and so are lots of other people. Lets think about doing something for our City, State and Country before we do something for the ” Greater Good” or broken down for the stupid people that don’t like “REBUKE” “Greater Good for the rich mans pocket”

    If they don’t kill me it will be by the Grace of God!!!

  9. Peter


    Whats all this about?


    As far as I have seen, there has been no talk of this on any F1 related site and its not like Forbes.com is an unreliable source. Whats your understanding of this Adam?

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