SUPER 2100-2 Does Quality Work for Formula 1

Demanding race track construction in Texas, USA.

Besides fast cars and bold drivers, exciting Formula 1 races need one thing above all: a first-class asphalt pavement. It was for this reason that Austin Commercial general contractors chose four SUPER 2100-2 from VÖGELE. The Highway Class pavers came with AB 600 TP2 High Compaction Screeds to build the spectacular race track in Austin, Texas.

About 70 men are listening closely to the words of Paving Foreman John Quintalla. This morning, he is preparing his team for the last and most difficult part of their month-long job: placing the surface course on the brand new racing circuit in Texas. He concludes with the reminder: “Quality first!” It has been his motto over the last few months, and everyone on the Austin Commercial team, including the operators of pavers, screeds and rollers, has put this principle into action with great commitment and success. All of them are proud to have been part of building the first race track in the United States designed specifically for Formula 1. The challenges presented by the project were immense: only on asphalt surface courses with perfect evenness and non-skid properties can the race cars reach peak performance, while providing maximum safety for drivers and spectators at the same time.

High pre-compaction

The two most important factors for high-quality asphalt are: quality material made exactly to specifications and the right paving methods and equipment. For instance, the job specifications called for the surface course to be paved “hot to hot” by at least three tracked pavers of the same type, this being essential for the homogeneity of the track surface. In this process, contrary to standard practice in US road construction, the mix had to be pre-compacted to between 88 and 92% by the paver.

Reliable performance

The Texans decided to use four SUPER 2100-2 pavers with AB 600 TP2 Extending Screeds. Site Supervisor Tom Byrum explains why: “These VÖGELE pavers can work with a high compaction screed. It compacts the mix extremely well, so it reliably fulfils the high demands of this project.” But another advantage is important to him as well: “VÖGELE pavers provide the total reliability we needed for a project like this, and we received perfect support through the dense WIRTGEN America service network.” For example, the crew had an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the SUPER pavers and high compaction screeds in a hands-on training programme organized by WIRTGEN America.

Precision right from the start

To ensure that the pavement layers would be of premium quality from the ground up, Austin Commercial even placed the 36cm-thick crushed-stone base with the SUPER 2100-2 and the AB 600 TP2 High Compaction Screed. The three-layer asphalt pavement was then placed on top, with an 8.5cm asphalt base under the 5cm asphalt binder course. The uppermost layer is a 4cm asphalt surfacing. From the outset, rollers from HAMM took care of final compaction, achieving the specified density of 98% in all areas.

VÖGELE grade and slope control for perfect evenness

The requirements on evenness were likewise very high, but easily met thanks to VÖGELE technology. The pavers were equipped with VÖGELE Niveltronic Plus and with it they effortlessly fulfilled the specifications for the crushed-stone layer and the asphalt base: an evenness of less than 10mm or 6mm over a distance of 4m. For this purpose, Austin Commercial connected an existing 3D system via the open interface to the VÖGELE automated grade and slope control system.

The team surpassed the requirements on both of the upper asphalt layers using a combination of a Big MultiPlex Ski and separate sonic sensors. With this equipment, remaining well within the specifications for the binder and surface courses was child's play for the team. Dr Rainer Hart, who designed the asphalt concept and supervised paving on site, was thrilled: “The binder course already achieved the degree of evenness that was actually required for the surface course. And final inspection of the track surface confirmed it: the surface course displayed excellent evenness, with deviations of less than 2mm over a distance of 4m. We largely have VÖGELE grade and slope control technology to thank for these results.”

“A first-class job”

The big occasion finally arrived 60 days prior to race day: Charlie Whiting, FIA Executive Safety Delegate, walked the entire circuit, inspecting the asphalt pavement and the periphery. After completing his tour, he was thoroughly impressed and said the following about the paving work of the race track: “Absolutely first class. They did an awesome job!”

Job Site Details

Construction of the Formula 1 race track in Austin, Texas, USA  
Length of track: 5.52km  
Width of track: 12.2 – 23.8m  
Maximum incline: 15%  
Difference in elevation: 40.5m  
Paving Details    
Pave width: 5 – 6m per paver  
Layer thickness: crushed-stone base 36cm  
  asphalt base 8.5cm  
  binder course 5cm  
  surface course 4cm  
Crushed-stone base: crushed limestone to Texan specifications TxDOT  
Asphalt base: AC 25  
Asphalt binder course: AC 19 RT with polymer-modified bitumen  
Asphalt surface course: special race track mix with a PSV > 55 and polymer-modified bitumen (SBS polymer)  
4 SUPER 2100-2 with AB 600 Extending Screed in the TP2 version  
4 HAMM Rollers HD+ 90  
2 HAMM Rollers HD+ 90  
3 HAMM Rollers GRW 280  
1 HAMM Roller HD 14