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Tilke & Partners delivers: Unique and landmark products through reliable Project Management, Design Consultancy and Site Supervision Services. Superior services to the market based on cost, time and quality through effective Project Management. ... more.
Christian Epp, Director of Americas for Tilke GmbH
"A First Class Motorsport Facility. A track topography like no other.
Christian Epp - Manager - The Americas - Tilke
We spoke to Christian Epp, the man overseeing the revamp, for an exclusive inside line on how work is progressing, and what we can expect in little more than six months time...
"Things happen a bit differently out here sometimes," laughs Christian Epp, representative of Tilke GmbH & Co. In his role as Director of the Americas for Tilke, Epp is responsible for every facet of the sweeping changes being made to the Mexico City circuit. "The first challenge we had was dealing with the heritage of the track," Epp explains. Christian Epp Work it has, but the scale of the undertaking shouldn't be underestimated. On top of Epp's comments about working within a living city - Mexico and its capital are both major tourist hubs - the schedule is exacting. Every inch of the circuit is being resurfaced; the old pit buildings have been dismantled, with new facilities - including medical and media centres - gradually nearing completion; a new paddock tunnel is being constructed; and new drainage systems are being installed throughout. At any stage in time, between 500 and 800 people are working on site - the "beauty" of a 4.3 kilometre-long building site, as Epp puts it, although admittedly "more labour intensive" than his last Grand Prix project, the Circuit of The Americas in Texas. Nothing has escaped attention. Tilke have even re-plotted the start/finish straight, which has been shifted 15m to the right of where it used to run in order to afford better views from the existing Turn 17 grandstand - "basically the only element we kept as it is," according to Epp. Epp says they plan to join these grandstands together before November "to create a single, enclosed stand - and an amazing atmosphere". With work continuing apace, Epp says that "90 per cent" of the heavy work will be completed by the time of the FIA's compulsory inspection on August 1. The detail work - installing tyre walls, proper safety barriers, kerbs and grass, and painting the surfaces - will follow, but they are in "good shape", and possibly even ahead of schedule, for F1 racing's arrival in the final week of October. The teams too are well prepared, aided by Tilke's own simulations. "We know the exact braking points, the speed at each part of the circuit, the brake cooling time, the run-off areas needed - there's a good understanding," Epp adds.
Texas Governor Rick Perry talks with Christian Epp of Tilke and Associates prior to the United States Grand Prix Sunday at the Circuit of the America's in Austin. Tilke and Associates designed the 3.4 mile circuits and grounds. Photo: Express-News / SA
Texas Governor Rick Perry talks with Christian Epp of Tilke and Associates prior to the United States Grand Prix Sunday at the Circuit of the America's in Austin. Texas Governor Rick Perry talks with Christian Epp of Tilke and...
Tilke's director of the Americas, Christian Epp, tells us that the Austin track incorporates a few sections that might feel familiar to drivers and fans.
Between Turns 12 and 16 is a stretch he says is similar to the stadium section at Hockenheim. (While Tilke redesigned Hockenheim in 2002, the company did not alter that section.) And, he says, "Turns 16, 17, and 18 are basically something similar to Istanbul's Turn 8," Istanbul being another ground-up Tilke project. Alan Wilson-whose wife, Desiré, briefly competed in F1 in the early '80s-is America's Tilke of sorts, having designed more than 30 tracks. He agrees that safety is a major priority but not for liability reasons. "The key is to recognize that the superstars come once a year," he says, while a successful track has to be open year-round (weather permitting).