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5 tips for your first time at Austin’s F1

Why attend a race that’s so fast you won’t even see the cars? You’ll feel the adrenaline pumping, you’ll hear the engines roaring and the tyres screeching on the turns – that’s why. As each lap passes, you’ll anticipate who’s taken over the lead before it’s even announced.

Chi getting ready for the race to begin

The main event is spectacular, but the lead-up and post-show entertainment complement the race nicely. I was lucky enough to see Stevie Wonder live! The activities before race day and the qualifiers are just as adrenaline-pumping as the final. Even the weather pleasantly surprised me, from a dreary start to a stunning afternoon.

The Austin F1 Grand Prix is an exciting event, but also a fantastic excuse to explore one of the USA’s coolest cities. It’s also a busy time to visit, so you’ll need to plan ahead to make the most of your trip. Here’s what I learned about doing it like a pro.

 1. Plan ahead

Working out the logistics is vital. It helped me determine the best place to stay, as I only had a few days in Austin and wanted to cram in as much of this (awesome) city as possible. I hired a car and it was definitely worth it, as being able to easily get around helped me discover the local scene and see Downtown from a different perspective (via kayaking!). By the time the race came around, I was all ready. I’d even sorted out a parking permit (public transport in Austin is not easy to navigate – especially trying to get to the track for a big event.

2. Book early

Downtown accommodation and hotels close to the track sell out early, so you’d better book ahead if that’s where you want to stay. Alternatively, why not stay in one of the surrounding suburbs so you can do some exploring and have a different experience of Austin? For me, when I go to a new city, I want to check out as much as I can and see how the locals live. Staying outside the tourist centres is a great way to discover new places and add to the recommendation list you share with your family and friends.

3. Get your rest

It’s a big day (or for those who have the weekend passes, it’s a couple of big days!), so make sure you drink your water and don’t go *too* crazy in the evenings. My F1 was action-packed, with a lot of walking from one side of the track to the other. We’re all guilty of wasting money on video arcade games at some point in our childhood, so I thought I was ready to take on Austin’s grown-up F1 racing simulation game – how wrong I was. Personally, I think I’ll stick to racing F1 cars on a slot car track and leave the real racing to the pros.

4. Every seat is amazing

As much as I would have loved sitting next to the pit stops and seeing the magic of tyre changes happening at lightening speed, my seat on one of the turns – where I could watch the cars straighten up and shoot off into the straight – was pretty impressive. With the speed of the cars charging through, you see them more than 50 times a day, no matter where you sit. It’s exciting every time – even more so when you see an overtake.

5. The big screens have got you covered

Don’t worry if you can’t afford one of the premium seats. You won’t miss any action, as the Circuit of the Americas’ big screens cover every angle and the commentary blasting through the speakers will keep you well informed. The live engine-roaring intensifies the experience and you can feel the energy of the crowd when an overtake is about to happen.

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