It’s no great exaggeration to say that Austin’s Grand Prix has, in three short years, become one of the highlights of the Formula One calendar. And it doesn’t require a degree in rocket science to work out why either – good circuit, great atmosphere, good people, close to a great downtown where there’s plenty of off-track entertainment to be had. Bingo!
Getting to Austin
Let's take the logistics first. Getting to the race is pretty straightforward. If you're flying internationally, then there are direct flights from London, or jet in to Dallas or Houston. You could then either pick up a quick shuttle flight to Austin-Bergstrom international airport, or drive the three hours between each hub to Austin. If you're flying from within the US, then there are countless direct flights from all over the country.
The Circuit of the Americas is located close by the airport, and there are plenty of accommodation possibilities close by, but in all honesty you don't want to do that. Traffic around Austin can be nightmarish at peak times. If you can, avoid those times and the track is really no more than a half-hour drive from downtown, and trust us downtown, or close to it, is where you want to be.
COTA is about 20km south east of the city centre, close to the airport. Access is well handled but be warned: on Saturday, and particularly Sunday, traffic jams on the approach to the track are frequent and long. Give yourself plenty of time to get in and out of the circuit.
There are shuttle bus services to the circuit on offer as well. Check here for more details of online pre-purchase or purchase on the day of the event. Track facilities are excellent, and the circuit is great for racing, and thus good for fans.
Turn 1 is a steep uphill drag into a tight left-hander with a blind apex, it's a big challenge and can be approached any number of ways, which promotes overtaking. It's followed by a terrific 'Esses' section that runs from Turn 2 to Turn 10. Thereafter, there's a tight hairpin and a flat-out blast down to Turn 12, which involves some heavy, heavy braking before the final sector, which is characterised by a sequence of technical slow and mostly second-gear turns.
In terms of where to watch, we'd recommend any of the grandstands through Turns 3-7 in order to get a good look at the incredible changes of direction through the 'Esses', the Turn 11 hairpin grandstands, and the seats at the Turn 12 heavy braking point.
The only trick to watching the Grand Prix is actually getting your hands on tickets. COTA's race is a regular sell-out and with just a few days left until the event, the best we can offer is to check here, or call the box office on 512-301-6600 ext. 1.