Fans revved up for Formula One race at COTA

Fans stream into COTA (KXAN Photo)
Fans stream into COTA on Oct. 21, 2016 (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Excitement is starting to build at Circuit of the Americas with Formula One underway. It’s the fifth year the event is being held in central Texas.

Fans are seeing some changes at COTA this year, which organizers hope will improve the experience. Among the changes, concrete sidewalks. The restrooms, bus stops and loading zones are now on solid ground, meaning if it rains, there will be less mud to deal with — a big problem last year.

Attendance numbers for the event have gone down each year that F1 has been held in Austin, and there’s a big effort to turn things around. Some ticket prices have gone down and there are high-profile performances happening, like Taylor Swift on Saturday night. On Sunday, both Usher and The Roots will take the stage.

Fans at the track on Friday say they’re liking the improvements.

Austin attendee Jack Bower goes to the race every other year, “Paths are paved, parts of the parking lot are paved that used to be sand. The first time we were here, with wind like this, there was just sand blowing everywhere — it was horrible. But this is much better.”

Big F1 race fans say Austin has one of the best tracks in the world, and they want to see the event stay here for many years to come.

“You ask the drivers themselves, this is one of the best, most challenging tracks. It’s beautiful, it’s smooth, you can see all the cars from all the places,” said Dennis Harris. “The racing organizers have made the show not just about the race and that’s very cool because now everybody want’s to come here.”

Monique McWilliams is also a huge fan, and encourages people watching the event on TV to head out to the track.

“Why not? I mean if you like racing, you like racing. Ain’t no matter what type of racing you like, you should respect it. And this takes talent and skill,” said McWilliams.

A total number of tickets sales for the weekend have not yet been provided by organizers, but they say some tickets have sold out. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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