Filmmaker Ron Howard attends F1 kick-off lunch


by HEATHER KOVAR / KVUE News and photojournalist JOHN FISHER

Bio | Email | Follow: @HeatherK_KVUE

Posted on November 1, 2012 at 7:00 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 4 at 9:19 PM

AUSTIN -- Actor and two-time Academy Award-winning filmmaker Ron Howard debuted behind-the-scenes clips of his upcoming movie at a Circuit of the America's kickoff luncheon.

The movie, called "Rush," is  about a 1970s Formula 1 racing rivalry between Englishman James Hunt and Austrian Niki Lauda.

Howard joined Governor Rick Rerry, Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell, and Circuit of the America's founders and supporters at the Downtown Austin Hilton.

Proceeds from the "The Starting Grid"  luncheon benefit Seton Breast Cancer Center and Dell Children's Blood and Cancer Center.

Ron Howard told the crowd he felt like he was on a parallel path with people in Austin when it comes to F-1. He says through making "Rush" he's learning about F-1, and with F-1 coming to Texas, we're learning about it.

Howard said, "It only moves through your region once a year, and so there is an element of excitement, almost a festival feeling."

He went on to say Austin knows a lot about having great festivals, such as music, film and sporting events. He said that massive state government is here, and that "I don't think it's going to be that different in that it's going to be some unique burden. There's something cool about it."

Circuit of the America's Chairman and Founding Partner Bobby Epstein says private investors have put down nearly $450 million to bring Circuit of the Americas to the spotlight.

He said, "we're about to be known by about a half a  billion people around the globe."

His partner Red McCombs says he's never been more excited about anything in his life, and that people are coming in from every state and 52 countries.

"We've sold tickets in six continents, missing only Antarctica. And if I could find some ear muffs, I'll go  there and get them," McCombs offered.

The crowd of about 1,100 people laughed at the imagery.

Race weekend is two weeks away, November 16-18th, and there is still construction at the site.

President of Circuit of the Americas Steve Sexton says the facility is ready for the big weekend, but that they've been through quite a bit to get here.

Sexton said, "I think everyone is gonna have not only a sigh of relief when we get to race weekend, but I think an immense gratification."

It's expected to produce more than $300 million in economic activity, in one weekend alone.

Texas Governor Rick Perry is also learning about Formula One. He attended the Italian Grand Prix in September.

He said the U.S. Grand Prix is more than a cash infusion, that "it's an opportunity to demonstrate to the people all around the world everything that we have to offer in the Lone Star State."

While the world will be watching Austin this month with Formula 1's re-entry into the United States, F-1 will further take the stage when  "Rush" is released September 2013. That's two months from the expected 2013 U-S Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas.

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