Circuit of The Americas and Make-A-Wish Central & South Texas Create an Unforgettable Day for Young Racing Fan
AUSTIN, Texas (September 9, 2022) – Over Labor Day Weekend, a special guest and his family traveled from Tennessee to Circuit of The Americas for the experience of a lifetime: the chance to “drive” a race car on the only purpose-built Formula 1 track in the United States.
Circuit of The Americas (COTA) has hosted children on behalf of Make-A-Wish and the grown “kids” from Wish of a Lifetime on numerous occasions. As a premier motorsport racing facility in the United States, wish-granting organizations contact COTA not only for a unique racing experience, but for the dedicated individuals who make the wisher’s day special. Between meeting favorite racing drivers, attending legendary races, or riding in a real racecar, no two wishes are the same and each recipient is just as unique.
Wish kid Knox is a major racing fan, hailing from the home of the Bristol Motor Speedway and IndyCar’s Music City Grand Prix. He’s one of those kids that knows every detail pertaining to his interests, so it was no surprise that he could name every driver in Formula One at the drop of a hat. When Make-A-Wish asked Knox what he wished for, his answer was a no brainer: Ride in a racecar.
Knox and his family began the day in Austin with Les Kiser of Speed City Broadcasting fame. An Austin expert, Les lent his iconic voice and enthusiasm to show the young fan Labor Day festivities around the city before they travelled via limo to COTA on Saturday afternoon. After they arrived, COTA representatives took him “behind-the-scenes.” The track was hot with Edge Addicts from Cresson, Texas, so Knox got to see car after car zoom around the 3.41-mile track from the POV of race control.
Knox and his family also took a ride up to COTA’s 25-story Observation Tower for the ultimate track view. From the top, Texas skies revealed the ever-growing downtown Austin architecture in the distance, the rolling fields around Del Valle, and – most importantly – the straights and chicanes of the track Knox was about to race on.
When unpredictable Texas weather came into play, COTA representatives were determined to ensure Knox was still able to have the ride of a lifetime. “I heard him whisper that he was afraid he wouldn’t get to go on the track, and I thought ‘I’m gonna make this happen’,” said Janet, a COTA team member who arranged Knox’s day.
In the true spirit of Texas hospitality, the skies cleared. Marshals were still in place, the driver was ready, and the track safety manager gave him the go-ahead.
Knox prepared for his ride in the paddock, looking at some of the cars that had been on the track and talking to drivers. Once the green light was given for Knox’s ride, his family brought out a perfect present for the day: A racing suit! The Edge Addicts team also pitched in for the experience, providing Knox with a small helmet. His driver, Todd Coady, ran him through a few instructions (thumbs up for more speed, thumbs down for less), and Knox stepped into chassis 001 of the original 2008 Doran Ford GT-R production.
Prepared for two laps at high speed, all that was missing was the roar of the crowd. Though it wasn’t long until every onlooker ran to the pit lane wall to cheer Knox on! The window-rattling roar of the racecar reverberated around the track and its ridiculous speed shot the car, and Knox, along the famous lines of the Circuit. As the beast of a car came around Turn 20, the final turn, for the first time, Knox’s family and everyone in the paddock greeted him with cheers and waves.
COTA team members arranged for his parents to wave the checkered flag and Texas flag used during major races. The Hastings were naturals on the flag stand, start line and finish line.
After two unforgettable laps and a pit lane parade, Knox and Todd returned to the garages. “He got out of the car, and he was just so happy. He ran to his mom totally lit up. It was like giving the Hasting’s family a million dollars…They were just so grateful,” Janet said.
Knox showed everyone sincere gratitude and unwavering cheerfulness that was irresistible to adore. COTA is humbled by the strength and love that Knox and all Wish kids have. It was an honor to host Knox and his family.
Earn the COTA knowledge pole position by following the Circuit of The Americas on social media: @cota_official on Instagram, @CircuitofTheAmericas on Facebook, @cota.official on TikTok, and @COTA on Twitter!
About COTA: Circuit of The Americas is the premier destination for world-class motorsports and entertainment in the United States. Set on 1,200 acres in the rolling hills just outside downtown Austin, Circuit of The Americas has hosted the biggest names in racing, action sports and music since 2012. At its heart is a 3.41-mile racetrack that was designed to challenge the world’s most exacting competitors while providing a thrilling spectacle for audiences.