Trip Report – 2013 US F1 Grand Prix in Austin

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Charlie White, who lives in Austin, has been to both races held at the new Circuit of The Americas (COTA) outside the city. He wasn’t planning to go this year until he won free general admission tickets from a local radio station.

Was it easy to get to the track from downtown Austin?

Unlike last year, park and ride options to the track were reduced to three lots operated by the Circuit of the Americas. Two were remote parking fields near the track and one was located downtown. Buses operated on a regular schedule from all locations. However, it was a long walk from the bus drop off to the track itself.

Where did you watch the action from trackside?

I was at Turn 19 this year. Last year, I had a much better spot at Turn 12 but it was reserved for premium ticket holders this year.

Did you go to any of the fan events away from the track?

Last year, I couldn’t attend most of the pre-race activities in the city. This year, I attended the FOTA fan forum which was very entertaining and the Austin Fan Fest the next night. The Fan Fest was not the event I had hoped but I heard it was better than last year. It was very spread out over 12 city blocks. Parking downtown is not easy. Then Saturday night, I went to a fan meet-up hosted by Formula-1 Blog. It was held at the same hotel resort where Force India team stayed.

Any tips for fans planning a trip to COTA for the 2014 race?

Make hotel reservations as soon as possible. The 2014 race may fall again on the same weekend as the University of Texas football game like it did this year. Hotel rooms inside the city will become scarce. Be prepared to stay in nearby cities like San Antonio, San Marcos or Georgetown and drive as much as one hour to get to the track.

[Editor – The provisional 2014 date for the US race is 9th November but rumours are it will be changed to 26th October. The final date will be confirmed in early December when the 2014 calendar is ratified by the FIA]

If you fly to the race, it may be cheaper to fly into Houston or San Antonio rather than direct to Austin. Both cities have more international flights and airlines.

Get race tickets for either Turn 1 or Turn 12 grandstands, those are the best places to view the race. Many of the better general admission viewing spots have been closed off unfortunately.

Photos courtesy Charlie White.

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About the Author ()

Charlie White, who is based in Austin, Texas, has been following F1 since 1988 and is also an avid fan of all open-wheel motorsports.

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