This weekend, Oct. 21-23, is the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas just outside Austin, Texas. This will be the fifth year F1 has visited the venue, and SCCA members continue to play a major role in this international event.
As one might guess, a strong contingent of SCCA members make up vital personnel staffing corner stations and waving flags around the 20-turn, 3.425-mile circuit. But SCCA member involvement goes much further. Take for example Frank Diringer of the Wichita Region. The SCCA scrutineer, who has been a member of the Club since the 1980s, has also worked as an FIA scrutineer in the McLaren-Honda garage during the last several F1 visits to COTA.
“It’s absolutely fun,” Diringer said. “I like the cars and being so close to the cars. But you need to be prepared for what you’ll be doing in the garage.”
The years Diringer has spent scrutineering SCCA events have helped immensely in being able to manage expectations at an F1 race. Becoming comfortable around racecars, learning to deal with teams and race officials, and familiarization with inspection processes are all essential skills learned through SCCA involvement. But that’s not all someone needs to work an FIA event.
“I’ve spent many evenings just sitting and reading tech rules and sporting regulations. Plus, there are training sessions when you get to the track,” Diringer noted. “The Formula One teams are all business. But they give the scrutineers a lot of respect. There are no arguments. They may have fancier equipment and detailed inspections, but a lot of what goes on is similar to what we do at SCCA races.”
So if you’re at the USGP this weekend or watching the action on television, keep in mind that SCCA members are an essential part of this iconic, worldwide motorsport event.
Photo: Workers at the F1 USGP