Fast Cars & Expensive Beer

USGP 2013

On Friday morning a few coworkers and I headed out to the Circuit of the Americas Formula 1 track for Day 1 of the US Grand Prix. I took the MetroRail downtown and then boarded a shuttle at the Convention Center to COTA. The rail pass and one-day shuttle ticket came to $10.50 total AND it meant I didn’t have to drive.

Worth every penny.

MetroRail

COTA Shuttle

Everything was very organized and there were a ton of shuttles waiting to transport racegoers. The drive from downtown to COTA took about 15 minutes. From the shuttle to the race track was about a 1/2 mile walk on a winding dirt path. It wasn’t horrible, but I certainly didn’t enjoy it. Cowboy boots weren’t the best choice, but hey – they looked good.

Cowboy Boots

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Brad was nice enough to grab about 10 pairs of earplugs from work for me to bring along to F1… and then I left every single damn pair on the kitchen table. I ended up shelling out $3 for a pair at a COTA merch tent.

COTA Entrance

COTA Entrance 2

COTA Concessions

COTA Turn 12 Section 16

We had tickets for Turn 12, Section 16 but ended up moving down a few sections since the stands were fairly empty at that point.

Much better.

COTA Turn 12 Section 6

The fog that morning was really thick and a couple events ended up getting pushed back. This worked out for me because I arrived between two practice runs but the delay allowed me to catch the final 30 minutes of the first practice.

Afterwards we set out to explore and grab something to eat.

Austin 360 Amphitheater

COTA Tower

COTA had a ton of food trucks and concession stands open. There was a huge selection but nothing really was jumping out at me until I saw my weakness: soft pretzels with liquid cheese. This is embarrassing because La Condesa (AMAZING Mexican food) had a trailer set up near the amphitheater and I still chose the damn pretzel. And an overpriced crappy domestic beer. Obviously I was pissed ten minutes later when I happened upon a craft beer stand.

COTA Expensive Food

We watched another practice run (Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel led all drivers during this run and actually ended up taking the US Grand Prix win today) from 1-2:30, walked around a little more, and then headed out.

Practice RUn

Practice Run 2

I didn’t like the walk back to the shuttle any better, especially since my feet had doubled in size in the heat and my boots hurt like hell. That’s what I get for being a responsible adult and not drinking away the pain.

Walk to Shuttle

Shuttles at COTA

CapMetro Downtown

Friday consisted of several practice runs and preliminary events leading up to the big race on Sunday. Attendance is much lower on Friday (60,000) versus Saturday (80,000) and Sunday (113,000). The crowds were very manageable and we didn’t wait on line for food or the restrooms for more than 2 minutes at most. The weather was fairly warm for November (Fall in Texas, I hate you) but still not quite the 90 degrees it hit today at the actual race. Sunscreen is a MUST!

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source: COTA Facebook

If you’re a F1 or fast car lover, this entire weekend will knock your socks off. But prepare to shell out a pretty penny for tickets: race day runs about $200 and you can usually score a 3-day pass for $300.

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