Your trackside guide to Circuit of The Americas for the 2021 United States Grand Prix on October 22-24. Advice on access, parking, concerts and the race schedule.
This guide will be fully updated closer to the 2021 United States Grand Prix when the on-track schedule is available. In the meantime, the majority of the information below remains relevant.
COTA rates highly for the quality of its trackside experience, though the circuit’s shortcomings were highlighted in 2015 when it was hit by a freak storm with strong wind and heavy rain on Grand Prix weekend. There are lots of nice grassy banks at COTA in the general admission areas, but cover from the elements (sun/rain) is limited, so keep this in mind when you are getting ready for your day at the track. As with any such circuit, it’s a good idea to wear comfortable shoes as you’ll be covering a lot of ground on foot.
Going to COTA: Need to Know
- Download the COTA app before you go to the track: just search for “Circuit of the Americas” in your app store (IOS/Android). The app has maps, FAQs, on-track and concert schedules, live commentary and more.
- Circuit entry: remember that you cannot bring any food or drink (aside from one sealed plastic bottle) into the circuit. If you have General Admission tickets, bringing a collapsible camping chair is a good idea.
- Opening times: the parking lots next to the track open at 07:00 on Friday, 08:00 on Saturday and 06:25 on Sunday, whilst the circuit gates are open from 08:00-22:00 on Friday, 09:00-22:00 on Saturday and 07.25-18:00 on Sunday.
- Following the action: internet access can be limited trackside, so taking an FM radio is a good idea. You can tune in to race commentary on 104.9 or 105.3 FM.
- Post-race track invasion entry points: Turn 19, Main Grandstand East, Main Grandstand West, Turn 1.
Parking, Access & Orientation
- More information on getting to COTA is in the Getting There & Around section of our guide, whilst relevant maps can be found on the COTA website. Buy parking at the circuit in advance here. Please note that traffic can get very congested around the circuit, particularly on race day. There’s also a Shuttle service from Downtown priced at $30 return each day. This service is recommended!
- COTA has five entrance gates: Main Grand Stand, Grand Plaza, Turn 1, Gate 4 and Turn 11 East. Once inside, you can also take advantage of a free on-site tram service to take you from one side of the circuit to the other; one shuttle stops at Grand Plaza Lot B, Main Grandstand, and Lot T near Turn 1), whilst a second shuttle stops at Grand Plaza Lot D, Tunnel 2 exit, and Lot H turnaround.
United States Grand Prix Schedule
In addition to over 6 hours of F1 action, the 2019 USGP schedule also features support from US Formula 4 and two historic series, the Masters Historic Formula One USA (for 3-liter F1 cars from 1966-1985) and Masters Endurance Legends USA (sportscars from early 80’s Group C to modern GT). The supercars from the Formula 1 Pirelli Hot Laps program will also be doing regular demonstration runs with paying customers.
- 15:00-15:30: Formula 1 Pirelli Hot Laps
- 15:45-17:30: Pit Lane Walk for 3-Day Ticket Holders
- 08:00: Gates Open
- 08:40-09:20: Masters Endurance Legends (practice session)
- 09:45-10:15: US Formula 4 (practice session)
- 11:00-12:30: Formula 1 (Free Practice 1)
- 13:00-13:25: Masters Historic Formula 1 (practice session)
- 13:50-14:20: Formula 1 Pirelli Hot Laps
- 15:00-16:30: Formula 1 (Free Practice 2)
- 17:00-17:20: US Formula 4 (qualifying)
- 17:45-18:25: Masters Endurance Legends (qualifying session)
- 11:55-12:25: FIA Formula 4 (practice)
- 22:00: Gates Close
- 09:00: Gates Open
- 09:30-10:15: Masters Endurance Legends (first race: 10 laps/40 mins)
- 10:40-11:10: US Formula 4 (first race: 10 laps/25 mins)
- 11:35-12:00: Masters Historic Formula 1 (qualifying session)
- 13:00-14:00: Formula 1 (Free Practice 3)
- 14:15-14:40: Formula 1 Pirelli Hot Laps
- 16:00-17:00: Formula 1 (Qualifying)
- 17:30-18:00: Masters Historic Formula 1 (first race: 10 laps/25 mins)
- 22:00: Gates Close
- 07:25: Gates Open
- 08:05-08:50: Masters Endurance Legends (second race: 10 laps/40 mins)
- 09:15-09:45: US Formula 4 (second race: 10 laps/25 mins)
- 10:10-10:40: Masters Historic Formula 1 (second race: 10 laps/25 mins)
- 11:00-11:20: Formula 1 Pirelli Hot Laps
- 11:30-12:00: Formula 1 Drivers’ Parade
- 12:00-12:20: Opening Ceremony
- 13:10-15:10: United States Grand Prix (56 laps/120 mins)
- 15:15-16:00: Fan track invasion
COTA F1 ConcertsCircuit of The Americas continues to sign up big-name acts for its F1 weekend concerts. This year’s headliners are Imagine Dragons (Friday) and Pink (Saturday). These concerts take place on the COTA Superstage, while Kool & The Gang close out the weekend after the race at the Austin 360 Amphitheater. There’s also a host of other musical acts playing around the circuit over the course of the weekend (learn more here). All F1 ticketholders receive free entry to the concerts.
Drivers’ Autograph Sessions & Fan Forums
The autograph sessions and Q&A with the drivers normally take place at allocated times on the stage of the Austin 360 Amphitheater on Saturday of USGP weekend. Times below from 2019:
- 11:10-11:20: Mercedes Fan Forum
- 11:20-11:30: Mercedes Autograph Session
- 11:20-11:30: Haas Fan Forum
- 11:30-11:40: Haas, Alfa Romeo & Ferrari Autograph Sessions
- 11:40-11:50: Racing Point & Williams Autograph Sessions
- 18:30-18:40: Red Bull Autograph Session
- 18:45-18:55: McLaren Autograph Session
- 19:00-19:10: Renault Fan Forum
- 19:10-19:20: Renault Autograph Session
Food, Drink & Facilities
The trackside food and drink offer at Circuit of the Americas is varied and decent, but the prices are very high. Expect to pay $8-10 for a beer and $15-25 for meals. Food on offer includes everything from standard American fare (hot dogs, hamburgers etc) to pizza, Mexican and some more interesting food trucks. There’s plenty of restrooms around the circuit. Permanent facilities are located next to several grandstands (Main, Turn 1 and Turn 15) and inside the Austin360 Amphitheater. All the other facilities are temporary.
Other things to do at COTA
- Check out the panoramic views from the Observation Tower. Tickets are available for $30 from the base of the tower on Grand Prix weekend. Open on Friday from 09:30-17:00, Saturday from 09:00-16:00 and Sunday from 09:00-17:00.
- Hit the go-kart track! Located in Lot A behind the Main Grandstand, tickets are available from the COTA website for $30 and must be purchased in advance (no walkups!)