Austin debuted its brand-new track, Circuit of the Americas (CoTA), in 2012 by hosting the Formula One US Grand Prix. Each year, the celebration expands as world-renowned racers and their fans take over the city, bringing with them a plethora of glamorous parties and events. This year’s Formula One season kicked off with a race in Melbourne, Australia, back in March. The 17th stop of the 19-race tour, the hotly anticipated US Grand Prix (October 31-November 2) will speed into Austin faster than you can say “Sebastian Vettel.” Here are all the details you need to know for all the Halloween weekend racing action.
What To Know
CoTA offers a varieties of packages, including skybox deals, grandstand promotions, and turn tickets that highlight all the most desirable viewing areas of the track — turns 1, 4, 5, 11, 12 and 15. There’s even a multi-turn deal that provides a different view of the track each day. The elite Formula One Paddock Club package offers access to a balcony that overlooks the pit lane, where you’ll be the first to witness racers start their engines. Tour the pit lane and watch interviews with racing legends like Mario Andretti, the only driver in history to win the Formula One World Championship, Indianapolis 500 and Daytona 500. Need a break from the intense screaming of the engines? The Club Suite offers fine dining, a wine and champagne bar, music, race simulators, multi-screen coverage and some of the best views of the action.
What To Do
An October 30 party (invites are included in some of the aforementioned packages) at Circuit of the Americas begins with a panoramic view of the track from the tower, followed by a live performance by singer-songwriter Edwin McCain at Legends Club, gourmet food stations, an open bar and an appearance by Andretti. Then on Friday, attend Lunch with a Legend to nosh with racing icon Emerson Fittipaldi. The event also includes wine, beer and champagne, followed by a question-and-answer session with the 1972 and 1974 F1 world champion. The third annual Circuit of the Americas Fan Fest will bring acts such as Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, De La Soul and the Texas Tornados. In addition to the free three-day music festival in downtown Austin (October 31-November 2), you can partake in racing games, exhibits, rides, kids’ activities and food trucks throughout the Warehouse District and Republic Square Park. On November 1, rockers Duran Duran will hold a ticketed concert at the Moody Theater.
My Yacht Club returns to Ballet Austin for the third year to host its two-night Monaco-style nightclub event October 31 and November 1. The global luxury event producer, known for its swanky yacht parties in London, Cannes and Singapore, will transform the space into an enchanted forest featuring bottle service provided by shimmering Golden Girls, entertainment by a shot-pouring aerialists and music by DJ Alex Karlsson. Mingle with drivers and models, and arrive in costume on Halloween night to compete in a contest. The winner will walk away with a 24k-gold-leaf-wrapped Methusalem (six liters) of champagne valued at $20,000.
The Amber Lounge has more than a decade of experience throwing red carpet events and VIP parties. Last year’s debut in Austin brought 14 Grand Prix drivers, as well as live performances from Taboo of the Black Eyed Peas and appearances from celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay and Hollywood heavyweights like Gerard Butler. Not to be outdone in terms of star wattage, W Austin’s Blu at the W patrons befriended Matt LeBlanc on top of getting a fashion show, open bar and several dance floors.
Where To Stay
If you find yourself at one of the many downtown soirees after the races, there are plenty of luxurious options for nearby accommodations. Hilton Austin, which completed a $22-million transformation this past August, will showcase a McLaren in the lobby, and have drink specials in its bars and restaurants all weekend. To take your stay into another gear, though, visit Four Seasons Hotel Austin, a Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star property that features a Congressional suite with wraparound terrace overlooking Lady Bird Lake and a wet bar—two things essential to keeping a party going long after engines have stopped purring. Another of the city’s choicest retreats is the Cattle Baron suite at Four-Star The Driskill Hotel. Its hardwood floors, cowhide accents, ornate detailing and marble fireplace make it the ideal pit spot for a high roller in Hill Country.