A Dummy’s Guide to Formula 1 in Austin
By Khiem Dinh
Khiem Dinh is an engineer for Honeywell Turbo Technologies at the time of this writing. All statements and opinions expressed by Khiem Dinh are solely those of Khiem Dinh and not reflective of Honeywell Turbo Technologies.
Austin is the home of my old college stomping grounds, the University of Texas at Austin (duh). There will be a Formula 1 race in Austin? Why yes, I think I will go (like I needed any more excuses to visit Austin). Here are my tips, tricks, and notes on the first F1 race in Austin.
I must not know the right people because I didn’t get the baller package Pablo got; but I’ve got friends in low places, and I’m not big on social graces, so I think I’ll slip on down to the oasis (living five years in Austin, I learned a little Garth Brooks). Anyway, my Austin buddies and I decided we’d splurge a bit and go for Turn 12 tickets. As soon as the tickets went on sale and were purchased, I bought a plane ticket; the plane ticket was about a hundred dollars more than a typical flight to Austin. So the price gouging begins.
|The first thing I saw getting off my plane at the airport in Austin (around Gate 15). When in Austin, you better get used to seeing a lot of the color burnt orange and also the Texas Longhorns everywhere. FYI, a good number of the popular Austin eateries have set up shop in the airport, so there’s no lacking good food. If a plane ticket into Austin is too jacked up next year, check out San Antonio (1 hour away), Houston (2.5 hours away), or Dallas (3 hours).|
|I did get picked up by a good buddy of mine in this sweet M3… The V8 in this thing is pretty amazing.|
|This is what the tickets looked like for 2012.|
Fortunately for me, I have friends in Austin I can stay with. Otherwise, hotels within a 30 mile radius of Austin were charging $400 minimum, even at the Motel 6! City of Austin, if you’re listening, you’ll get a lot more business next year if you avoid the price gouging. I’ll expound on this more later. Anyway, we had a group of six people so we decided to splurge a bit again and get a 3-day parking pass for the ‘F’ parking lot for ~$200. Let me tell you, it was well worth it. My buddy lives 12 miles away from the track. From driveway to being parked, it only took 25-30 minutes. When leaving Friday, again, about 30 minutes from getting into the car to pulling into the driveway. Even on race day Sunday, it only took about 10 minutes from the time we got into the car in the parking lot to getting out of the track. Now, the total travel time was one hour, but that’s not bad at all considering the 117,000 people in attendance that day. Heck, I’ve waited 45 minutes trying to get out of a stupid parking garage at a mall in LA before. Austin did a great job on the traffic management. So if you can stuff four to six people in one vehicle, I highly recommend getting a parking pass for a lot. The walk from the F lot to the entrance was only about 10 minutes.