The Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas, a Formula 1 racing venue for high-end racing events and demanding fans, hosted its inaugural GRAND-AM of The Americas in March 2013. Track management proposed luxury accommodations for customers and initially planned residential-grade shading for its trackside VIP areas. A marketing representative for outdoor products, H.C. Haynes, set track officials straight: “It quickly became apparent to me that the track needed a highly engineered product that would also have the aesthetics you associate with international racing.”
COTA called on TUUCI, a Miami, Fla., shade design and engineering group with roots in the marine industry, for a custom solution that included 32 cantilevered shade structures twelve-and-a-half feet square that provided a high-tech aesthetic look. The structures, built from stainless steel and anodized aluminum, were covered with TUUCI Tough Skins made of Sunbrella® fabric. TUUCI engineers used patented designs for the cantilevered structures and developed a special mount specifically for the COTA VIP areas. The shade structures can stand up to high winds (including cars racing past at 200 mph) and can be closed easily if stormy skies develop. The 26,650 race fans attending COTA’s inaugural event experienced nothing but blue skies.