Taking place on the Circuit of The Americas, the Austin F1 Grand Prix is a fantastic way to see the world’s best motor racing drivers, whilst simultaneously experiencing what is arguably one of the United State’s most interesting cities as a visitor.
Hundreds of thousands of fans flock to watch the spectacular machines weave their way around hairpin turns and fight for a podium. However, the city of Austin itself, with a vibrant live music scene, excellent dining, and a beautiful skyline, makes this a great location for the US Grand Prix.
Where the Austin Formula One Race Takes Place
Formula 1 has had a rocky history in the United States, with the race weekend having been tested out at almost a dozen venues.
For F1 fans in the States, it is a great relief that a race weekend has now settled in Austin, Texas.
The common saying is the ‘everything is bigger in Texas’, and that rings true at the local Grand Prix.
Austin and Texas in general are no stranger to putting on a show. Whether it comes to American Football teams such as the iconic Dallas Cowboys or Austin’s own Texas Longhorns, crowds flock to live sport in Texas.
Traveling to Austin, Texas
Arriving at the Austin Bergstrom International Airport is the choice of many F1 fans heading to the US Grand Prix. Bergstrom Airport is especially useful if you are flying domestically given that there are a number of direct flight options to this airport from within the U.S.
Houston is 2.5 hours east of Austin and Dallas is three hours north.
Get into the spirit of things with a drive through the Texan countryside on your way to the track and it just adds to the cultural experience.
Depending on your weekend plans, you can choose from single-day tickets or looking to experience the whole event.
Single and multi-day general admission tickets are the go-to option for fans on a budget.
General admission allows for the opportunity to walk around the race track and watch the goings-on from multiple angles.
However, for the best view of qualifying and race day, you will have to reserve a seat at one of the many grandstands around the track.
>> You can buy tickets here for all F1 races.
Getting to the Track
If you have rented a car for the weekend, you may wish to simply drive to and from the Circuit of the Americas each day.
However, this won’t come cheap and you will have to reserve your parking pass when you purchase your tickets.
There are a number of other ways to arrive and depart the track, including a special Grand Prix shuttle that runs between downtown Austin and the circuit.
Simply arrive at Sir Swante Palm Neighborhood Park (besides the Convention Centre) and jump on the blue cap metro bus.
What to Expect with a Day at the Austin F1 Grand Prix
In a country that has struggled to nail down a permanent F1 location, you will immediately notice why the Circuit of the Americas has become an instant classic.
Held in the autumn months, Austin remains warm during the day with refreshing evenings. Away from the heat of summer, it is the perfect time of year to get your F1 fix.
The Grand Prix in Austin comes with excellent views from every point of the track, from the grandstands to general admission. Austin is full of culture and character, and it is no surprise that the Formula 1 weekend here is operating in a similar vein.
Austin knows how to put on a show so whatever day you frequent the track you are sure to run into a variety of live performances.
Expect to see live music throughout the weekend, from local and international artists.
Even if you have a great view from your grandstand seat, it is worth taking the time (when the race isn’t on) to explore the entirety of the circuit.
Known as one of the best spectator weekends on the calendar there are many excellent viewpoints and more space to enjoy the sun within the general admission areas.
The best view of the track, however, is the observation deck at the summit of the COTA Tower.
Peer down at the Circuit of the Americas from 77 meters (250ft) above the ground.
Other fun activities include exploring the F1 Fanzone which is located next to the Grand Plaza.
If the action on the track has inspired you then why not add to your epic weekend by getting behind the wheel on the resident go-kart track?
For the Tower, Fanzone, and go-kart experiences, you will need to book ahead of time to make sure you can get the most out of your US Grand Prix weekend.
Where to Stay in Austin, Texas
There are numerous locations where you can stay within the greater Austin area.
The city’s downtown area comes with world-renowned restaurants and bars and is a great option.
If you choose to stay within this district, you will only be a 15-minute trip to the track, and you will have easy access to public transport.
Away from the city, experience the beautiful local surroundings that include the exceptional Lake Travis.
Here you will find incredible views, a lake to explore, and a bevy of local restaurants and bars.
Things to Do in Austin
What makes the US Grand Prix in Austin so exceptional is that the action away from the track is just as good.
For motorheads, it will be hard to pass up a visit to Austin Speed Shop, the best way to see the pros go to work outside of pit lane.
The shop is a custom and hot rod car shop that remains open to visitors who want to see the best technicians in Austin do their thing.
Sticking with the car theme, Austin’s Blue Starlite drive-in movie theatre is a local favorite. With only 50 cars allowed per film, it is an intimate affair that offers up nostalgia in droves.
If you are looking for something a bit more relaxing, but don’t have time to head to Lake Travis, why not explore Lady Bird Lake?
Aside from the hiking trails, you can rent a SUP or a boat and grab yourself a stunning view of the city skyline.
For the best food, and nightlife in Austin, you can make your way to 6th Street, a pumping nightlife district that runs seven days a week.
Enjoy the cocktail bars and pubs with relaxing outdoor fire pits. Austin has something for you whatever your age.
10 Things You Didn’t Know about the US Grand Prix 400
1. The driver with the most wins at a US Grand Prix is Lewis Hamilton, most of which have been right here in Austin.
2. Speaking of wins, the ending of the longest win drought in F1 history took place at the Circuit of the Americas in 2018. That year Kimi Raikkonen took victory 114 races after he last crossed in first.
3. The history of the US Grand Prix dates back to the beginning of the 20th century. It was known then as the Grand Prize, and races were held in Long Island and Savannah.
4. The Indianapolis 500, which has long been a famous race weekend on the calendar was once a part of the Formula 1 World Championship in the 1950s. Although a lot of teams chose not to compete at this event.
5. Since the first official Formula 1 US Grand Prix in 1958, there have been ten locations to host a race weekend, including three that only lasted for a single year.
6. The biggest gap between events was in the 1990s when America remained off the Formula 1 calendar for almost 10 years.
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7. Formula 1 looks to have finally found a long-term home at the Circuit of the Americas and it all began with the vision of Tavo Hellmund. In 2010, the Austin-born former racecar driver announced his plans for a purpose-built Formula 1 track. The circuit opened in 2012 at the cost of $400m US dollars.
8. Did you know that the Circuit of the Americas is one of just five circuits on the Formula 1 calendar that runs anti-clockwise? It also remains one of the most undulating tracks drivers will have to face, with 31 meters (101ft) between the low and high points.
9. One of F1’s most infamous moments took place at the US Grand Prix when it was located in Indianapolis. All Michelin-tyred teams pulled out amid concerns that their tires would not last on throughout the race due to track conditions.
10. The number of American drivers to start a US Grand Prix is 38, yet none have crossed the line in the first place. Mario Andretti, a US driver won in 1977 at the US Grand Prix West, yet that race was not a part of the official F1 championship.
The US Grand Prix in Austin may not have the glitz and glamour of Monaco or the history of Monza, yet it has quickly become a big part of the F1 calendar.
Austin is a wonderful city to explore and combined with the F1, it is no wonder so many F1 fans return every year to this race weekend.
Sports Travel Booking Resources
Traveling around the world to watch & experience sports, I tend to always use the same resources for booking trips. These are the ones I use most frequently and that I find to have great customer support and competitive prices.
- Sports Event Tickets – Tickets for all sporting events
- Get Your Guide – is an excellent site as a one-stop shop for booking attractions, local tours, activities, and excursions. Great customer service and an easy-to-use site.
- Booking.com – The best site I have found for hotel and accommodation bookings.
- Flights – are also now offered by booking.com and as I love the brand this is my first port of call now for flights.
- Safety Wing Travel Insurance – I love Saftey Wing as they cover everything I need to be covered and they have a simple-to-use site, and again, I have found their customer service very good, when I needed to ask questions.
- Hostelworld – Book backpacker hostel rooms around the world with Hostel World.