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“Quite a place but the service was a little too disappointing”

Circuit of The Americas
Ranked #12 of 317 things to do in Austin
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
minneapolis,
Level Contributor
144 reviews
54 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“Quite a place but the service was a little too disappointing”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 8, 2014

The dirt path toward the Formula 1 track was too long for a walk. As the shuttle buses coming from downtown Austin does not go all the way to the main race area. But the venue itself was astounding. The first year we attended, the people/vendors who used to shuttle people in and out of the main venue were horrible and discriminatory. They were supposed to shuttle through golf carts seniors, people with disabilities and with medical conditions. But we saw young women who were transported who were able and strong. We complained about this through the organizers. They at least apologized for this lack of good service and mentioned that the idea of shuttling people through golf carts will be phased out. Nonetheless, the F1 track and the concession stands were great and impressive. Although it could be all too loud, as all F1 races are, so better be prepared to use high quality earplugs/phones....Regular earplugs still do not block all those loud roars from the cars.

Visited November 2013
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Thank truthintraveling
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Austin, Texas
Level Contributor
134 reviews
31 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
“The tour off season is a good place to take guests”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 7, 2014

We took out of town guests on the tour of the Circuit of the Americas off season. It was a very cold day, and it would have been more fun if the weather was nice, but we still had a great time and are glad we went. The tour is not long, we viewed the area where they hold concerts (which I had been curious about) and took the elevator (some walked) up the 25 story tower which looks out over the whole race track. This gives you a great view and you can see most of the track from up there. It's also a bit of a thrill to be way up there - there is a glass floor where you can look straight down. We were able to ask a lot of questions about the race, the track and other events held there. The tour could take anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes (or more) depending on your pace. Since it was cold, we didn't stay long. The tour guides recommended several places to have lunch nearby; we took them up on Wild Bubba's just up the street - very unique!

Visited January 2014
Helpful?
Thank Peggy K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
74 reviews
27 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
“Great job with F1 race”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 12, 2013

I attended the USGP Formula1 race at COTA this November and was pretty pleased with the way everything was run.

The start with the tickets to the event was not auspicious. Tix ordered through Ticketmaster were not distributed until the week before the event and no news of when they would be sent had many people worried that they would not receive them in time before leaving to go to Austin. I got mine in time, but not without a bit of worry. I don't know if this was the fault of Ticketmaster or the track. I will say that the track made provision for people who had left home before receiving their tickets (the case probably with many overseas visitors) to pick them up at will-call even if the tix had been sent to them. Another nice touch was to trade the typical computer-style Ticketmaster tickets for the nice-looking souvenir tickets at conveniently-place info tents at the track. My only other complaint about the tickets was the fact that Ticketmaster charged $15 to MAIL them to me by regular mail. That was in addition to the other handling fees they usually charge. Please, COTA, next year have them available when they're ordered, or better yet, have a print-at-home option.

As far as the prices and availability of hotels in the Austin area, that's not really the fault of COTA. With 120,000 people coming to the race and 100,000+ attending a UT-Okla State football game, you know the hotels are going to profiteer. However, next year the race will be on a non-game weekend and there should be a little more availability.

The transportation system, imo, was handled well. Yes, $100 a day to park at the track is a lot, but there is limited space there. And why would you want to drive to the track when you could take a nice, air-conditioned bus from downtown for $5 or park in a satellite lot and be bused in for $10 or $20? The bus shuttles were great, with the only problem being the half-mile walk from the shuttle stop to the track. It was okay on the way there, but was like a "death march" after the 90-degree day at the track. There must be some way to move this closer to the gates.

Food and drink options were decent. Prices were high, but not really out of line for a major sports event or concert. Ditto for souvenir stands, which were high-priced, but sold at the same prices that these items are sold for online all year.

Sightlines for the race from both grandstands and general admission areas were excellent for a road-racing circuit. Somebody said it was better at Indy. Well, yeah, but that's a banked oval, which means you can see the whole track from most spots.

Bus transit around the course was great, important for a spread-out 3-mile long track.

Big screen TV's to see the race were spread around the track and worked well.

Given how hot the day was (actually a record for the area), a little more shade would have been nice, but there was some and I was satisfied with this aspect.

The free concert each day after the racing was nice, and I wanted to stay and see Pitbull after the race, but it was just too darn hot.

Fan Fest in downtown Austin was also a lot of fun. I'm not sure if COTA had anything to do with that.

In all, a great weekend, and I'll be back.

Visited November 2013
Helpful?
3 Thank unclebobg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
56 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“2nd year and getting better.”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 5, 2013

First I do have to agree with the lower ratings that in it's first year of operation things were very disorganized, especially the vendors. From what I understand all concessions were attended by volunteers which would explain the poor service. I attended both F1 and MotoGP. MotoGP had pretty good motorcycle parking.

In 2013 I attended F1 again and things were a lot better organized, especially parking. Traffic is still pretty heavy, but that's expected. I'll be heading back out for MotoGP in April 2014 & I'm sure things will continue to improve.

The track is pretty good for both of these events, and even general admission locations are pretty decent.

Visited November 2013
Helpful?
Thank Jose H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pentwater, Michigan
Level Contributor
89 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
“Felt like a wallet with legs”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 3, 2013

We attended a few of the F1 races at Indy and surely miss that experience. Fan experience is a lot more pleasant at Indy.

Our grandstand seats at Turn 11W were very good - perfect view of Vettel's doughnuts & of the mishaps during the Ferrari support race. But, the screens show the TV feed, which means the standings are in a tiny box in the corner of the screen. Bring binoculars, or get the F1 app on your smartphone, for tracking the results for practice & qualifying.

However, having gone once, we won't be back to Austin. Parking for the weekend was over $200 to park in a grass field. Spent just under $200 a night for a Rodeway (and our innkeeper said to expect rates to go up to $400 a night for 2014). Plenty of porta-potties, but no water stations, so only hand sanitizer (or waste some your $4.50 bottled water) to clean up after lunch.

You can bring sealed bottles of water in with you, but can't bring a cooler. Lack of water is almost criminal when temps approach 90 degrees. Not much in the way of food choices close to turn 11 - need to walk to get some variety.

Visited November 2013
Helpful?
Thank JudyR-D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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