Formula Expo organizers on June 15 were busy preparing for the crowd of thousands they are anticipating for the weekend's event.
Organizer Ian Weightman, of IMS Conferences and IMS Research, said he came up with the concept for the event in 2011, but uncertainty with the Formula One track meant he could not start planning in earnest until January.
"I made it up as I went along, [and] It all just came together. We did it all on a very tight schedule. It's been a great race," Weightman said with a laugh.
Weightman said his previous experience had mostly been with large-scale, high-end corporate events, so the expo presented a new challenge for him.
"I've run music events, high-level businesses conferences. We had expo elements to that, and we'd had trade shows, [but] not of this nature," he said.
The expo will feature live music and showcase a variety of car-related displays that include but are not limited to F1 components.
"We need to help engage people who don't know about Formula One," he said. "You don't want to get that much Formula One content because there's only so much you can do.
"The idea was to educate a bit through the [classic cars], but also just put cool cars in there. Most people think, 'Oh, it's just Formula One. I'm not interested.' You like cars? You like music? Well come along and stay, and then [we] engage them on Formula One."
Among the displays is one that features cars from the All British Car Day group, classic and historical British vehicles that include Aston Martin, Jaguar and Lotus models.
Mark Moore, past president of the Jaguar Club of Austin, was at the expo with his 1963 Jaguar E-type and explained the unique aspects of his vehicle.
"It's an unusual car color, [and] the fact that it's opalescent maroon with a maroon leather was a rare combination. Most of them were either biscuit or black interiors," Moore said.
The car also has covered headlamps, a desirable element among collectors, he said.
Moore said the ties to F1 go back to the beginning of automobile racing.
"it all dates back to the old days of racing. The F1 is an English-based [event]," he said. "Some of the European marks out of England helped start it."
Weightman said the historical cars are just one element that will bring an estimated 10,000 visitors to the convention center for the Father's Day weekend event.
"We've sold over 5,000 tickets. This morning I was watching them [selling] over 100 an hour," he said. "Austin's pretty notorious for [being] last-minute. It's going to be over 10,000, no doubt."
The event will welcome visitors to try to be the fastest to change a tire on a Ferrari—a good time is less than four seconds—and will feature live music from local artists."
"I'm really glad we've got some music elements, too," Weightman said. "It's not just about Formula One."
Tickets to the expo are $15 online, $20 at the door and $25 for a two-day pass. A complete schedule is available at www.formulaexpo.com/info.