. red bull ring spielberg circuit austria (formerly a1 ring circuit)
Where we headed this time?
red bull ring spielberg circuit austria (formerly a1 ring circuit)
April 1, 2011 sees the re-opening of the red bull ring spielberg circuit austria (formerly a1 ring circuit) after it was closed down in 2003. Great news for auto racing fans! It was always a blast of a place to visit and now the tyrolian alps will once again hear the echoes of high performance racing. I'm so excited!
In 2011 the DTM - German Touring Car Masters race from 3rd to 5th June will be the highlight, but who knows what the future might hold, including perhaps a new Austrian Formula One Grand Prix! For right now about 15 different racing events will be held place (as far as I know - no official schedule available yet)... Austrian Historic Automobiles Cup, Historic F1, Formula Renault 2, Supermoto Intercup, Ducati Masters, ADAC GT Masters (German GT Championship), Formula 2, Ferrari Challenge, Porsche Alpenpokal and Austrian 500 miles Endurance Challenge.
Venue Physical Address: Speilberg Austria. (If you're in Spielberg, the track ain't hard to find)
> Directions? How do we get there?
(200km/120 miles) take the A10 towards Klagenfurt, until St. Michael im Lungau exit. Change to B96, towards Tamsweg - Scheifling - Judenburg, in Judenburg take the s36 to the Zeltweg exit or the Knittelfeld-west exit. Find Salzburg Hotels
(200km/120 miles) take the A2 towards Graz until you hit the Seebenstein crossing, then take the S6 towards Bruck/Mur, then the S36 for Klangenfurt. Exit Speilberg/Zeltweg or Knittelfeld-West, and follow signs. Find Graz Austria Hotels
(100km/60 miles) take the A2 towards Graz/Vienna up to the exhit Bad St. Leonhard. Then the B76 towards Zeltweg. This is the scenic route through lovely villages and my favorite on a still quiet Thursday afternoon. Klagenfurt Austria Hotels
NOTE: take a good map, not all routes are marked clearly. Austria borders on several European countries. These borders are seldom even noticable these days since EU borders are open. Austria's only non-EU border is Slovenia, a greatly underated place, that’s relatively inexpensive and close to Venice and Border town Grado Gorizia. Total drive time from this region is 4 hours so it’s a nice vacation idea before or after a race!
Hotels Accommodations nearby?
> Find Hotels in Austria City List
> What's the nearest major airport?
> (VIE/LOWW) Vienna International Airport Austria
> Find Hotels near Vienna Intl Airport Austria (VIE) + Hotels in Vienna on a map
> Official Airport website : Vienna International Airport
> (SZG/LOWS) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Salzburg Airport Austria
> Find Hotels near Salzburg Mozart Airport, Austria (SZG) + Hotels in Salzburg
> Official Airport website: Salzburg Mozart Airport website
however Austria’s central location in relationship to all of Europe means that if you plan to fly and drive you could shop for a cheap fare to/from
> (VCE) Venice Marco Polo Airport
> Find Hotels near Venice Marco Polo Aiport (VCE) + Hotels in Venice/ Venezia
> Official Airport website: Venice Marco Polo Airport
> (MPX) Milano Malpensa Airport
> Find Hotels near Milan Malpensa Airport (MXP)
> Official Airport website: Aeroporti di milano - Milan Malpensa MXP - see my Milano Monza Guide
Find Hotels near All European Airports
If hopping in from anywhere in Europe, ask your travel agent about cheap flights by smaller air providers. Don't pay more than 100EUR.
Shop for the cheapest airfare to the above airports for your trip to Austria with my online travel store or get your flight tickets from the Airline online and save. See my listing of Airlines of the World Links.
Driving Parking Tips
RV Parking and Camping at this track? there was. and lots of space for it. IN 2002 it was around $50EU for the entire weekend. Copious. See A1-Ring trackmap below for parking layout & see pics bottom right.
You’ll need an international drivers’ permit (from your local auto club) and a small vignette sticker for your windshield, an "Österreichische Autobahngubühr", which is valid for 9 days, and costs less than 10USD. This is necessary EVEN FOR A HIRE CAR! You can get one at a post office in any country bordering Austria or as you cross the border, if you pay attention, and you’re there during daylight hours, at roadside stops. Fines are imposed non-vignetted vehicles, I learned!
> Where's the Map? > Check out this A1 Ring Speilberg Austria satellite and road map
Got a trackmap? See Below
> Got the weather and radar?
Alpine sunshine (usually) in late European spring into summer! However, even flimsy clouds,rolling overhead, can mean a sudden drop in temperature so take with you a fancy racing merchandise jacket you buy from me! During the F1 races Between 1997-2001 there was not a drop on race Sunday, although in the mountains you should always be prepared for heavy (not cold, but unexpected) rains during the night. I still laugh remembering Friday night of the 2000 F1GP, and my 10KM/6MI walk through driving heavy rains via the roads around the farms from the village to my campsite. (The long way around, since the cross-track shortcut disappeared when gates closed hours earlier!)
Spielberg/Zeltweg 10-day forecast from weather.com.
Local Public Transit
Trains from outside Austria
See Eurail. I think if you caught one of these to Graz, you'd could get a domestic Austrian train to Knittelfeld, a few miles to the the village/gate 1 campground by cab, shuttle, or foot (?). See circuit map below
travel the circuit/village neighbourhood:
There is a shuttle between Knittelfeld and the circuit every 30 minutes most of the day. Cost is 5EUR. Travel time: less than 10 mins.
Dancing on tables till dawn was all the rage and who needed more! Aches and pains in the morning! No, really, you can travel into the mountains for climbing or walking, there's a go-kart track between the Circuit and the nearby town of Knittelfeld... in Spielberg you get your excercise the old fashioned way!
> For food: At the track, in the display area by gate 1/turn 1, you'll find tents with lots of fried food, particularly, and not surprisingly, lots of wiener schnitzel! Also on the opposite side of the circuit in the general admission area there are 2 restaurant/food halls, the "Enzingerhof" (pictured above, the yellow blob is me), which has a set of outdoor tables, where you can sit, watch the race and enjoy food and a um-pa-pa band on race mornings, (if you book well in advance and/or are staying in the building +43(0)3577/22809). Others can get lunch or drinks there and sit on the banking, or at the 15 or so extra tables that stretch to the left of this pic. But it gets crowded quick. Not too far away is the Schönberghof, with a beer garden and small restaurant that doesn't need booking but gets very full, even though offering a lesser view of the track.
After the racing, in Spielberg village, temporary food stalls provide fast food, and the Santa Maria disco has pub meals.
If you get a chance try the local favorites beef consume with bacon dumplings, and don't miss out on your strudel desert!
For some choice you'll need to make the short trip to Zeltweg, and for finer dining go the other way to Knittelfeld, where you'll find my favorite place to eat, the Rosinni Trattoria at the Hotel Kapuzinerplatz.
Shopping Spielberg is a village, Knittelfeld a few miles away is a town. There you'll find supplies you need. Better though to buy up before you get there, since prices have a habit of rising on convenience food in areas around races.
The Santa Maria disco in the Speilberg village has an outdoor beer garden, and several of the other establishments are more than catered for if it's dancing you're after. Including a large barn that's turned into a nightclub and some scattered 'renovated' barns around the camping areas have 'facilities'. After all what do you need? Bright lights, loud music, plenty to drink, and hay on the floor: Let's dance! There are 40 clubs in Monaco that could learn something from the fun in tiny Spielberg!
Not in the immediate vacinity, unless you have a flashlight and a pack of cards, but Austria has major casinos in: Baden, Bad Gastein, Bregenz, Graz, Innsbruck, Kitzbühel, Kleinwalsertal, Linz, Salzburg, Seefeld, Velden and Vienna. Good luck!
> Who races (RACED) there?
> European Truck GP
> Classic Grand Prix
> DTM - Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters- German Touring Cars
> Formula One World Championship
Click link for current series date / schedule
Speedway Circuit Official Website: (
For more information check out: http://www.projekt-spielberg.at/
> Tyron Rubber's Austrian GP History 1982
> Fans' account of 2000 visit to Zeltweg from johnnyherbert.co.uk
> Tourism Websites
> [official Spielberg Tourist Office website]
> Who's going to church on Sunday? Places of Worship:
There's a small Catholic church in Spielberg village, it's called "Linder Pfarrkirche", right in the quaintest little town square you've ever seen. About 5 minutes walk from the entrance to the main camping-ground/parking lot. It holds regular services during the race weekend... nice to get up to on Sunday morning.
... Curency: Euro Dollar (EUR) - Oanda Exchange Rate Converter
...Tipping: NOt expected but it is usual to round up a restaurant bill, this is over and above the 15% surcharge already included..
Knittelfeld (5 miles or less) has banks which will sell Euro, and at the track by the main entrance/display area, there is usually an exchange booth, although I've often found it unattended. The best time to do exchange there was first thing in the morning on arrival, or better still at home where you won't pay tourist rates. In a real pinch talk nice to a waitress in the Santa Maria pub in the village, they’ve come through a few times for me when I needed a little extra party money. Tell 'em I sent you! Banks in Knittelfeld are open other days from 08h30-15h, but are usually closed at 12h for around an hour. Note too that banks and other offices may be closed on Friday afternoons.
> Time Zone: CET Central European Time, GST + 1 -
> Telephone Info:
... Emergency Number: 911
... U.S. International dialing code is +1
> AC/DC? European-sytle, 2 round pin. Foreign visitors may need to bring an adapter and check to see that their appliances are compatible.
> Local Liquor Laws: Legal Drinking Age in Austria is 18.
> VISAS / DO you need a passport to visit?
As with all EU countries a visa is not necessary for those from Accord Countries outside the EU, unless you wish to stay more than 3 months (every year I do!) and, of course EU citizens can come and go as they please. Blink and you’ll miss the change of countries. There are no patrols or checkpoints at least on the route up from Venice. Make sure you’ve got your driving sticker on though! (see driving below) A valid Passport will need to be shown upon your initial entry to Europe . Once inside the EU, travel is usually unrestricted between member countries including Austria. There are no restrictions on the amount of Euro you bring into Austria. Cigarettes and alcohol import is limited to that required for personal consumption (be reasonable!) For more information, check out a European Union Customs and Tarrif website
The A1-Ring is in an amazing man-made amphitheater amongst the mountains of the lower Austrian Alps. This makes viewing from every single vantage wonderful. The track changes elevation several times as it twist and turns through its infield, shoots through some forest (pic at top of page) and then back into the fast front straight. It's not quite the 6Km Österreichring that it replaced, but for event viewing there is no equal in the world.
Specator Capacity at the A1-Ring is 40,000 seats + open general admission.
As at the Hungaroring Budapest Hungary, there are few places, but for the start finish straight, that don't offer unbelievable views of the circuit. General Admission here offers better views than the most expensive seat in Albert Park Circuit Melbourne Australia.
Ontrack live Commentary
For local races race commentary was in German over loud speakers. But then, given the sweeping views from most vantages, it's easy to keep up with what's going on, with or without a big screen.
All stands have disabled capabilities. Ample disabled carparking is also provided. Grandstand ticket prices are the same for disabled people as for others, however access to the general admission area would be limited because of sloping, grass, mud etc. The track has a ramp from the front car park up to the main gate near turn1. (s(Entrance E1) as shown in the track map below. No special arrangements need to be made with the circuit in advance however disabled parking is offered on a first come first serve basis. Contact the friendly people at the A1-Ring
Sometimes I wake up sure that I hear a constant thumping, like feet bouncing on make-shift bar tables to the beat of... and then I hear it... 'Anton auf Tyrol' by DJ Ötzi... and I think, my Goodness, I’m ... I’m in Spielberg... I’m missing the party... I’m asleep... I’m missing morning practice... but, no, I’m only dreaming... dreaming of May and of the happy times, the very happy times, in this grandprixvillage in the Carinthian mountains. And if I don’t nod back off humming the melody to 'Gemma Beir Trinken' song, I drag myself to the computer and check my bookings (race, plane, car, and camping) so that there’s no way on earth I’ll miss visiting again possibly my favorite grandprixcity™. It is sad to see it leave the F1 schedule / calendar, but it will continue to hold a place in my heart as the fondest place I ever visited in my blessed experience with motorsport travel! Great news about the tracks reopenning in 2011 under the name Red BUll Ring and under the ownership of Dietrich Mateschitz (owner and founder of RED BULL).
Spielberg is a village, a grandprixvillage only 50KMs/30MIs north of the Italian border, but as a motorsports destination it rates amongst the top 5 in the world without exception. It's not just the amazing layout of the A1-Ring, where even from general admission you can see 75% of the circuit, but (maybe it's the altitude) I have never been to this gorgeous part of the Austrian Alps and not spent an entire evening dancing, singing, (and yodeling) with people from all over Europe (and the world). People in sweaters, with tents, with racing and partying and sharing the experience of both in mind .
It may not have the restaurants, motor history museums, or culture of any of the other grandprixcities ™, however, what it has, in aces, is a true camaraderie and a real sense of being a part of an international racing family! Gone are the petty pretensions and crowded blind corners of Monaco, missing is the callousness and indignant (and completely dumbfounding) snobbery of Spa, and never is there the strange dispersal of fans like after an event at Indianapolis. All that's left is one big tent party in a small village under the stars, where the only question you'll have is "where do they put the chickens?"!
One day I hope again that we'll grab our Tyrolean hats, strap onyour knickerbockers, and pack our multi-language dictionary, and visit gpc.spielberg.at!
> Austrian people are slightly less formal than German folk (I know.. I'm generalizing) , not impolitely so, but just a little more relaxed it seems. However they still expect common courtesies such as greetings, handshakes, and 'good morning' even in small insignificant exchanges. Use titles such as 'Herr' (Mr.) and 'Frau" (Mrs.) until you are invited to become more informal.
> If you are invited to dine with an Austrian family, and you may well be since they are always happy to extend hospitality, it will be expected that you reciprocate the offer. This exchange is part of their culture, probably because it means each opportunity to celebrate and enjoy is doubled immediately!
> If conducting any business in Austria it is a good idea to have one side of your business card printed in German. Also see that all trade literature is translated. Austrians live on the cusp of so many European countries and often are multi-lingual but have languages other than English to concern themselves with first. (see also "language tips")
> BEWARE forged event tickets online. Buy from official sources only.
> BE SENSIBLE, stay amongst people, hold tight to your walet/purse, & HAVE FUN!
PIC: A1 Ring Track Map Seating Chart
A1 Track map and parking camping guide
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Pics from my visits to a1-ring, spielberg Austria
Beautiful Mountains on Austrian/Italian border
Driving through Austria.
The only way to go racing!!!
Reverse angle! The view when you crawl out of your tent
autograph signing, Jos Versteppen and Enrique Bernaldi. A1 ring Austria 2001
The circuit's Enzingerhof Hotel/Restaurant slap bang in the middle of the circuit's General admission area.
Williams f1 machine takes the track for the controversy stricken 2002 Austraian F1 Grand Prix
Classic F1 Williams racing car at the Classic Grand Prix event in June 2002)
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