Race Facts – United States Grand Prix

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Sebring, Riverside, Watkins Glen, Phoenix, Indianapolis and Circuit of the Americas. The United States Grand Prix has a checkered history, but Liberty Media are keen to expand the sport’s footprint in the United States.

The US Grand Prix dates back to the early 1900s, when it was known as The Grand Prize and run on tracks in Long Island (New York) and Savannah (Georgia). America’s other big motor race, The Indianapolis 500, also traces its history back to this period. The Indy 500 was also on of the inaugural races during the first 11 years of the modern Formula 1 World Championship (1950-60). After, the Watkins Glen circuit near New York established a solid place on the F1 calendar for 20 consecutive years, from 1961-80.

The F1 circus also visited other stateside venues in the 1980s, although none of the races was referred to as the US Grand Prix. A street circuit in Long Beach, California, hosted the United States Grand Prix West between 1975-83 (read a historic trip report here), Las Vegas joined the fray with the Caesers Palace Grand Prix in the car park of the casino of the same name (1981-1984) and a city-center street circuit hosted the Detroit Grand Prix (1982-1988). The US Grand Prix returned in 1989, this time to a street circuit in Phoenix, Arizona. After three poorly attended races, F1 disappeared from the US for almost 10 years. It returned in 2000 to a modified version of the famous Indianapolis oval, which included a series of infield corners. Although initially successful and a big draw for fans, the race was marred by controversy, including the 2005 race when only six cars took the start due to a tire dispute. After the last race in 2007, the US was once again without a Grand Prix.

CIRCUIT OF THE AMERICAS

In 2010, Tavo Hellmund, an Austin native and former racing driver, first announced plans to build a new purpose-built F1 circuit (designed by Hermann Tilke, of course) on the outskirts of Austin. Bernie Ecclestone threw his weight behind the project, awarding Hellmund and his investors a ten-year contract to stage the US Grand Prix from 2012. Despite some delays and contractual disputes, the circuit was completed at a cost of around $400m USD and welcomed 117,429 race-day fans for its inaugural F1 race in November 2012.

The 3.427-mile (5.515 km) circuit is situated on 890 acres (3.6 km2) and is located 14 miles (22km) southeast of central Austin. It has a challenging, undulating layout with a high point on the apex of the opening corner. Features of the circuit include a distinctive 77m observation tower, the landscaped ‘Grand Plaza’ area, Austin360 Amphitheater and the permanent main grandstand, which holds 9000 fans. As well as hosting the US Formula 1 Grand Prix, the Circuit of the Americas also stages annual MotoGP and FIA World Endurance Championship races.

US GRAND PRIX: DID YOU KNOW?

  • Lewis Hamilton is the most successful driver in the United States Grand Prix, with six victories, including five out of the six races held at Circuit of the Americas! He recently overtook Michael Schumacher, who recorded five victories at Indianapolis between 2000-2006. Ferrari is the most successful constructor, with 9 US Grand Prix wins.
  • No American driver has won the US Grand Prix when it was part of the F1 World Championship, though Mario Andretti did win the 1977 US Grand Prix West in Long Beach, California.
  • Sebastian Vettel made his F1 debut at the US Grand Prix (Indianapolis) in 2007. He has recorded one victory stateside.
  • Circuit of the Americas is one of only five anti-clockwise tracks on the current F1 calendar (the others are Baku, Singapore, Abu Dhabi and Brazil). It’s also one of the hilliest tracks, with a difference of 30.9 meters between the lowest and highest points.
Circuit NameCircuit of the Americas
Race first held 2012
Track Length5.515km (20 turns)
Race Distance56 laps (308.896km
Lap Record1:39.347, Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull, 2012)
2017 result1st Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:33:50.991
2nd Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) +10.143s
3rd Kimi Räikkönen (Ferrari) + 15.779s
May 1, 2018

Tickets – 2018 US Grand Prix at COTA

Detailed information on grandstands and the best tickets to buy for the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) on October 19-21, 2018.

March 22, 2018

Off-Track Activities – United States Grand Prix

Downtown Austin is bursting with activity day and night, lending a lively atmosphere to US Grand Prix weekend away from the Circuit of the Americas. The next race weekend is October 19-21, 2018.

March 4, 2018

Budget Planner – 2018 United States Grand Prix

Work out how much your weekend in Austin for the United States Grand Prix will set you back. Read our Circuit of the Americas budget planner!

February 24, 2018

Race Facts – United States Grand Prix

Sebring, Riverside, Watkins Glen, Phoenix, Indianapolis and Circuit of the Americas. The United States Grand Prix has a checkered history, but Liberty Media are keen to expand the sport’s footprint in the United States.

February 24, 2018

Travel Basics – United States Grand Prix

Start planning your trip to Austin, Texas for the United States Grand Prix. This year’s race at Circuit of the Americas is on October 19-21, 2018.

November 26, 2017

Accommodation – 2018 US Grand Prix in Austin

The best budget, mid-range and luxury accommodation in Austin for the United States Formula 1 Grand Prix.

October 14, 2017

Trackside at COTA – 2018 US Grand Prix

Your trackside guide to Circuit of the Americas for the United States Formula 1 Grand Prix.

October 12, 2017

Getting There & Around – United States Grand Prix at COTA

Advice on getting to Austin for the US Formula 1 Grand Prix, plus how to get to the Circuit of the Americas (COTA).

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About the Author ()

Andrew Balfour is the Founder and Editor of F1Destinations.com. He originally hails from Adelaide, where he went to his first F1 race way back in 1987. He's been resident in Europe for almost 15 years and travels regularly to F1 races around the world.

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