It was cold. It’s been a long time since I’ve been to Texas, and even longer since I’ve been to Austin. Landing in the San Antonio airport I had about an hour drive to get to my AirBNB in Austin.
After a mixup with my reservation at the rental counter I climbed into my cherry red Dodge Challenger rental that I paid way too much for. Since my cheap econo reservation would not be honored, I might as well live it up right?
The track is in the middle of no where. But lets be honest. Texas is in the middle of nowhere. Austin is an anomoly. It’s a small town that is way too packed with hipsters and American oil sheikhs pretending to be normal lower middle class people. The F1 spectacle is a huge contrast to the way of life out here. But the track is marvelous.
The facilities are very nice and well laid out. Not to mention the track itself looks so fun to drive and there isn’t a bad seat in the whole place. To be honest you don’t even need to buy a seat. General admission provides enough to see.
With tickets to each day from free practice 1 to the race there was always something to see or do. Probably too much. I was so exhausted I didn’t even go to the two concerts. Partly because I don’t care about Pink, and my feet were too sore for Imagine Dragons.
People of all walks of life flooded the venue. It was interesting to see people with gear from opposing teams laugh and joke together. A much different scene than the comment section of the internet.
But of course, people are much worse on the internet than they are in person.
I had turn 12 tickets. According to the internet the 3rd best seats in the house. Not a bad view actually.
After free practice I walked around to see the track from other angles. I heard people commenting that the track was sinking and had sunk about a meter since its opening. I noticed several cracks in the ground surrounding the track and drivers had been complaining about the bumps.
The support races were a mixed GT class, F4, and classic F1. The speed difference was remarkable but no less impressive.
Even the super car experience ride alongs for lucky customers were impressive.
Carlos Sianz and Lando Norris were especially entertaining overtaking each other along the S bends.
My panning skills are impressive if you know nothing of photography.
This lady was on a ride way above the track. I think I heard her fart.
The hill after the back straight was so steep it surprised me. Photo’s or watching a race on TV does not show just how steep it is. That first braking section looks fun.
Standing at the top of the hill you could see the Austin skyline about 12 miles away in the distance. Proof the earth is flat and jet fuel can’t melt Epstein.
Final practice was pretty cool from this point.
The ammount of people leaving after Practice was massive. I parked about 1/2 a mile away with the promise of a free shuttle. It was so packed and traffic so bad I made it almost to the lot on foot before the shuttle did until a kind stranger picked me up. Parking for the first day was $20.
The next morning for qualifying it jumped to $40. I met up with my friend Dan and his boys from Ziptied at the S’s and watched P3 from the hill. He and another fellow had turn 12 seats as well so we headed over the the stands after the last practice session.
Qualifying was more packed than practice. The Dutch crew were their usual entertaining selves. They wore wooden Verstappen clogs that made a similar sound as conversation in their native tongue.
The exiting crowd was even larger than before so I stood no chance to make it on a shuttle. I once again hoofed it to my rental. Sore, cold, sweaty I vowed to pay whatever it cost to park closer for the race.
Leaving the venue I spotted this unmistakable machine.
While I was trying to shoot this guy was vlogging for youtube in the most annoying voice ever. My arm got this strange punchy sensation. But I focused on the car.
A P1 GTR. I have only seen one P1 in person and never a GTR. I was so excited I did not change the settings on my camera and all the pictures came out washed.
$50 and I was parked next to the track the next day. Tired and sore from the day before I decided to leave my camera in the car and just enjoy the day without carrying around a backpack. After picking up some items I made my way to turn 12 and hoped Hamilton could secure his 6th title. I had walked in late on the 2017 Mexican GP only to see him was down the rank but do just enough to win his 4th, hopefully my fortune was just as good this race as he started in 5th and Botas on pole.
The race went on and Hamilton moved up quickly to third behind Verstappen. Vettel went out with broken suspension. But the race went on pretty uneventful until near the end when Hamilton overtook Verstappen and Magnussen went out. I was actually watching on my phone as I made my way toward the track entrance for the podium ceremony. I almost was ran over by the motorcycle carrying Kevin Magnussen back to the paddock.
The number of people on track was stiffling. It was a decently long walk from turn whatever to the start finish line. I made it in time to see the pleasantries and get some confetti stuck in my magnificent beard. I hung around after to see the team photo and another champagne shower for Lewis. Happy and tired I walked a short walk back to my car. Hopefully I will be around to see number 7 when it happens. But for the cost, I doubt I do COTA again.