A lap around the track. The cars line up accordingly. One by one the lights come on. Instantly the lights turn off and the roar of the engines begin.
Sadly you’re watching from your couch cushion. Sure, Speed (and next year NBC) has given you thirty-something minutes to excitement to get you hyped up, but it’s nothing compared to being at the race. Whether you’ve been to a race or not, you should start planning for the 2013 season. While each track brings its own set of challenges, I personally think you should put Austin on the top of your places to see a race next year.
Circuit of the Americas. What. A. Track. It was built for F1, so what’s not to love? It’s curvy, a little straight, and it will burn some calories (both for you and the drivers). We walked around the track at least once each day – I wanted to get pictures – and burned off all the calories we had consumed. There are so many good places to view the track. Personally, I liked our seats at turn 12 the most. Here, you’re able to see quite a bit of the track. With the addition of binoculars or a longer camera lens, the scenery gets that much better. If you love twitter, too, it’s really fun to see pictures of where everyone is sitting. I thoroughly enjoyed each person I met at the event. I also had earplugs, but only used them on race day. For practice and qualifying, the cars usually weren’t at the turn at the same time, but for race day it was incredibly loud, just how we love it! Before the race I was a little skeptical since it’s painted and doesn’t look like any other track, but I really enjoyed it and so did the driver’s!
Austin. This is a very fun city. I’ve always heard great things, but my mind was definitely blown. Being from Florida, it was a little chilly at first, but it didn’t keep us indoors. While eleven blocks of downtown Austin aren’t usually closed for a block party, I can only imagine how fun the city is on a regular night. We stayed at the downtown Omni the first night, and then relocated to Round Rock for a few more nights. Round Rock was a better judgement of what Austin could be like on a regular day. Since we had arrived in Austin a few days before the race, we checked out The Moviehouse, which had only been open for two weeks. (While this part may not being exciting to you, we don’t have a movie theater like this. PLUS the Immersive movie seats were awesome!)
Food. This only kind of relates to the race, but really highlights Austin. You could bring your own water and snacks into the race itself, which came in handy because the lines were insanely long. There were several Austin food trucks at the race. I really enjoyed this, because the track integrated a little bit of Austin into race week. There were even food trucks that I’d heard a lot about there. Unfortunately, the prices were definitely increased, but we still were able to try a lot of new items. Outside of the track, we tried a diner called 24 Diner. I found it on yelp, and I only have great things to say about it.
I tend to get my usual at each breakfast joint so that I can compare apples to apples… Or… two eggs, over-medium, with home fries (or hash browns), bacon, and toast. I ate it all. And I was definitely full for awhile. The atmosphere of the diner definitely different than what you’d expect. It’s very hip and the service is on top of it. When you head to Austin, you should try this place. Plus, they are open 24 hours (minus a few hours on Wednesday’s), so you can go whenever it’s convenient for you.
Another favorite of mine was Whole Foods. This store was huge. And they had everything. And you can eat there. Really a one-stop strategy. Remember how I said you can take snacks into the track? Well, get them here. They even made chocolate race cars! Who doesn’t love chocolate race cars?
The social side. If you’re in Austin for F1, definitely follow @RedBullATX on twitter. They were blowing it up with contests and things to do downtown. Of course the Austin Fan Fest was “powered by Mobil 1” and had so much going on that we roamed around it for hours. I met quite a few people in my ventures downtown that I now follow on twitter. Plus, McLaren retweeted my sweet panoramic picture that you see at the top of the post (GEEKY FREAK OUT! I felt famous) so that was a huge, HUGE, highlight of my trip.
All in all, an amazing time. Whether you’re into traveling, racing, or just checking out something new, Austin totally brings it.