Circuit of the Americas – Austin, Texas

The Circuit of The Americas or COTA occupies 1500 acres just outside Austin, Texas, USA.

Having played host to some of the biggest names in racing, action sport and music since 2012, its 3.41 mile track was specifically designed to challenge competitors whilst thrilling spectators.

In this article we’ll find you the best seats at the Americas F1 Grand Prix at COTA including all budget options.

We’ve also included all the details about entertainment, amenities and we’ve even created a special article on how to get to the Circuit of the Americas too so be sure to check that out once you’ve finished this article!

Here’s a handy table of contents to help you navigate our guide to the COTA F1GP.

The natural rise and fall of this anti-clockwise, twenty-turn circuit includes an unbelievable 133 foot hill at Turn 1.

Home to one of three F1 races in the country, the others being the Miami Grand Prix and the new Las Vegas F1 race in late 2023., the complex also features the Germania Insurance Ampitheater with its iconic observation tower, standing at 251 feet. It costs $30 dollars to climb the tower ($45 dollars for the premium experience) but the breath-taking views of the circuit are worth every cent.

“As a venue, Austin offers our sport a fantastic home in the United States, combining a state-of-the-art race track with an exciting destination city. The organisers have worked hard to build the event character of the weekend”

Toto Wolff – Mercedes Head of Motorsport

Ticket options for COTA F1 races

In terms of ticket options, this GP remains a highly rated for views across all of its grandstands and general admission areas (some of which enjoy some really impressive views) although catch-fencing can interrupt views in the lower rows – seats higher up are recommended.

Three days general admission will set you back just under $200; three days grandstand $250 – $1500 and hospitality packages, anything from $5500 up to $9000. There is something for every budget at COTA.

The majority of fans will find themselves staying in Austin itself which provides a vibrant, diverse backdrop to the racing action. Austin lies 250km northwest of Houston and 330km south of Dallas. COTA sits 25km south east of Austin, 3km from the airport.

If you choose to drive COTA, take the US-183 S south east. Turn left onto Farm to Market 812 after 9.2km. After another 6.4km, turn left again onto COTA Blvd and follow the signs to the relevant carpark (you’ll need F for Turns 12, 15 and the trackside bleachers; L for Turns 9 and 11; T for Turn 1 and the Main Grandstand).

If you would rather take public transport, there is a GP organised shuttle service which runs form 7am on Friday and Saturday and 8am on Sunday, costing $30 per day from Sir Swante Palm Neighborhood Park on E 3rd Street; drop-off is at the COTA Grand Plaza box office entrance.

Should you enter at this point, the first attraction you will encounter is the Grand Plaza F1 Fanzone. Here you can eat, drink, race drones, get a temporary tattoo or even get your hair and nails done. Situated opposite the main grandstand and behind the Turn 15 Grandstand, the Fanzone caters for everyone in the family, whatever your budget.

To help you maximise your time at this huge complex, it’s a good idea to download the COTA app before you go to the track: just search for “Circuit of the Americas” in your App Store (IOS/Android). The app has maps, FAQs, on-track and concert schedules, live commentary and much more.

There are ATMs located around COTA. You’ll find one at the Grand Plaza outside the Box Office, 1 by the Turn 18/Turn 19 hillside and at least 1 located by the Turn 15 Grandstand. In the Paddock you’ll find one inside the Media Center near the café.

Do note when preparing and on entry to the circuit, that bringing any food or drink (aside from one sealed plastic bottle) is prohibited. If you have General Admission tickets, bringing a folding camping chair and/or a picnic blanket is a good idea, as well as wearing comfortbale clothing and shoes.

The climate in Austin is sub-tropical; the hottest weather will be over for the GP but you can still expect temperatures in the mid-twenties. Be sure to pack a hat and sunscreen, along with a waterproof jacket as this time of year has seen a hurricane hit COTA. Large golfing umbrellas are not allowed inside the complex.

In order to comply with the security screening requirements, any bags should be clear and should not exceed 14 x 14 x14 inches in size. Security staff at the complex reserve the right to screen all bags, purses and people entering the event.

There is no provision for returning prohibited items and so it’s better to simply not take anything that might be confiscated. It’s fine to take cameras with detachable lenses, as well as ‘point and shoot’ camera equipment but peripherals such as tripods cannot be taken into the venue. Video cameras and other professional recording devices are prohibited.

Guest Services are available throughout the venue; locations can vary and so please check your event map or COTA app for the most up to date details. Permanent First Aid stations are located in the Grand Plaza and the medical centre within the Paddock. Temporary stations are listed on the map for your particular event and on the COTA app on iPhone and Android smartphones.

There are some designated smoking/vaping areas which you can find located on your map or app. Smoking is strictly prohibited in the grandstands.

The Circuit Of The Americas has quite rightly created a great name for itself with a raft of memorable F1 Grand Prix and no doubt plenty more to come. It’s 1 of 4 races on the North American Continent and is easily giving the Canadian Grand Prix a run for its money. If you’re in the states then either of these races is a great choice as is the Mexican Grand Prix just a short flight away.

All grandstands at COTA

Start/Finish Straight – Main Grandstand and Trackside Bleachers

This uncovered, mid-budget grandstand consists of three sections, offering the very best views of the build-up, the pitlane action and, of course, the post-race podium celebrations. As well as reserved seats in the grandstand itself, there are seats available known as the ‘trackside bleachers’. 

The bleachers are comprised of six blocks, occupying the areas either side of the main grand, facing the track. The best views are provided by seats in the blocks to the right of the grandstand due to the fact that they line the first few rows of the grid and because of their proximity to Turn 1. Views here are actually better than the lower rows of the main grandstand, which are also more expensive. Over on the left hand side, you’ll see little more than the podium celebrations and post-race interviews.

Behind the grandstand you’ll find plenty of facilities in the Main Grandstand Zone, including: restrooms, refreshments (look out for Rojo’s Mexican Grill, 34 Chophouse and family favourite, Pizza Hut) merchandise stalls but you are also only a short walk from the Grand Plaza F1 Fanzone which offers just about everything in terms of food, drinks and entertainment.

Baby changing facilities are available at this grandstand and the best parking area is Lot L.

Main Grandstand – lower rows

This uncovered section does benefit from the shade of the actual grandstand and next to the trackside bleachers are the closest you can get to the grid. These seats line the track from position 10, through the final positions on the grid. As well as plenty of action from the pitlane, you also get a prime spot for watching post-qualification interviews and pre-race build-up.

You can view the rest of the action on the giant screens, situated opposite, near Turn 19. There are 23 boxes on this level in sections numbered 101-123. 101 is closest to the finish line and 123 is closest to the starting area.

Main Grandstand – Mezzanine level

For those with a slightly higher budgets, the covered mezzanine level has fantastic views of the start/finish straight. Due to the steep climb, Turn 1 is visible in the distance. This area provides a less crowded, more intimate seating option for fans.

Main Grandstand – Club

Seats in the Club level enjoy views of the entire start/finish straight, the first and last corners of the circuits and the whole pit lane. As well as access to a refreshment lounge, these top budgets seats offer an all-round premium experience.

The Club Level is 14 rows high and 16 seats across with any of the sections providing views of the track and Paddock area. It’s worth noting that only seats from Row 6 and upwards are covered and so those below will still be exposed to the elements, despite paying for a top dollar seat.

Anyone with tickets here can also access the Velocity Lounge which sits right at the top of the grandstand.

Turn 1 Grandstand

Seats in this uncovered, mid-budget grandstand are arguably the best value in their price range; seats have backs and cupholders.

The Turn 1 grandstand offers an amazing vantage point from which to watch the start of the race. As the cars exit the pit they scream past the grandstand as they approach Turn 1. The 133 foot climb at Turn 1 ensures a phenomenal view from this stand that carries on into Turn 2.

You can also see the start/finish straight, the pits and can enjoy distant views of other parts of the track too. Although there is a TV screen opposite the grandstand, it is a little small and at a slight angle and so those in the left hand seats might prefer to use the screen situated near Tunnel 1 (binoculars are recommended); this compensated by a view of the pitlane leader board. 

This grandstand has its own nearby restroom facilities, refreshments and merchandise stalls – it’s a small selection but the Main and Turn 4 grandstands are only a short walk away, offering much more choice. Parking Lot T is your best choice for this stand.

Turn 4 Grandstand

Boasting the least impressive views at COTA, this uncovered, low budget grandstand does have giant TV screens opposite the stand, situated left, right and centre, to compensate.

It’s also really close the observation tower and COTA’s famous Stars n’ Stripes run-off area, provising some impressive photo opportunities. Turn 4 isn’t a particularly notorious over-taking spot but as the cars pass through the esses, modelled on the Maggotts/Becketts section at Silverstone, it’s a pretty thrilling watch.

Behind the grandstand you’ll find the restrooms and a variety of food and drink outlets including ice cream, hot dogs and a well-stocked sports bar.

Turn 9 Grandstand

Another low budget seat option and probably the best in its range, this uncovered grandstand is positioned on the hill, over the outer section of the track. Views from above take in the cars as they make their way downwards from the exit of Turn 7, come up to level with the spectators and then move off and away, down the hill towards the hairpin at Turn 11.

The cars then traverse the long back straight towards Turn 12. Although the cars remain fairly distanced from each other at this point in the circuit, the excitement really comes from the expanse of the view here, particularly from the top 10 rows, and the change in the elevation of the track.

There is a large TV screen situated opposite and centre here to observe all of the action from other parts of the race. It’s bleacher-style seating here and so it’s worth taking a cushion for some added comfort. 

Behind and to the left of the Turn 9 grandstand, you’ll find restroom and refreshment facilities; it’s smaller selection available here but there’s plenty to keep you going. Parking Lot ‘L’ is recommended.

Turn 12 Grandstand

Along with Turn 15, this has become one of the most popular grandstands at COTA in terms of seat price and views of the circuit. Seats in this mid-priced, uncovered grandstand vary in terms of the quality of their views. Whilst the lower seats have adequate views of the sequence of corners, there is some interruption from the safety fence up to about Row 6. The upper seats take in marvellous views of almost the entire circuit.

From here you will see the cars go screaming down the back straight as they head towards the final few turns of the circuit.

With sight of Turn 1, the esses, right through to Turn 20 (that’s 15 corners!) these are arguably the best seats at COTA.

Although much of what you can see is in the distance, spectators can comfortably follow the race from here.

The grandstand is comprised of 14 sections which are 36 rows high in total and 26 across. Seats in Section 9 will put you closest to Turn 12. Take a cushion – this stand has bleacher style seating. Select a Lot F parking pass.

Behind the grandstand and to the right (facing the track) are restrooms and refreshments, notably ‘Chivata’, which serves sandwiches, salads and empanadas. Additional bathrooms are located three quarters of the way along the rear of the grandstand to the left. For an even wider choice, this grandstand is a short walk away from the Grand Plaza F1 Fanzone.

Carry on walking past the grandstand and against the flow of race traffic and you’ll come to the Infield Party Zone, with a VIP RV site beyond. The Party Zone boasts its own concert venue, ferris wheel, bungee jump, rock climbing experience and giant football screen. 

Turn 15 Grandstand

Another uncovered, mid-budget grandstand with a giant TV screen opposite and to the right, along with Turn 12, this is one of the most popular stands at COTA.

The upper level seats have some amazing views of multiple corners and the amazing opportunities for overtaking at Turn 12 and all of the action at the 3-corner sequence on the way into Turn 16.

Down in the lower rows, you’ll see little more than Turn 15 and so it is worth bearing this in mind when you book seats here.

To the rear and right (facing the track) of the grandstand, you will find restroom and refreshment facilities with a wider choice available at the Grand Plaza F1 Fanzone, which is located a short walk from here.

Turn 18 bleachers

Located just outside Turn 18, this new bleacher-style seating will give fans a view of the cars passing through from Turn 18, going on to turn at Turn 19 in front of the stand and then making their way off to the final turn of the circuit, Turn 20.

Expect some exciting moves here during the closing laps on race day but take a cushion for added comfort as those bleacher seats can seem a little hard after a while. Close to the Grand Plaza F1, fans are in a prime spot here to enjoy the race and the facilities of the fan zone.

Turn 19 Grandstand

This new grandstand with comfortable chairs including backs and cup holders sits perpendicular with the new bleacher style seating at Turn 18. After exiting Turn 18 the cars will tackle the next corner directly facing this grandstand.

Fans will be able to see the cars as they change direction and begin to line up for the final corner. Close to the Grand Plaza F1, fans are in a prime spot here to enjoy the race and the facilities of the fan zone.

General Admission areas

For fans on a budget, there are some fantastic views of the circuit available from the general admission areas at COTA, often better than those found in the lower grandstand seats, so much so that the circuit has gained a reputation for being one of the very best general admission venues in motor sport.

Due to the natural topography of the landscape, with its elevations and hillsides, there are some perfect grassy areas for setting up with your camping chair and picnic blankets.

As a general admission ticket holder, you won’t have access to cover from the sun or any extreme weather conditions. It’s essential to wear comfortable clothes and shoes and to pack sunscreen, a hat and a waterproof jacket.

The best viewing points within the general admission area tend to be in the first section of the circuit but as a genral admission ticket holder you are free to move around the zones to change your viewing perspective as you go through the day. It’s a popular strategy with fans to start at Turn 1 and then move around the track in either direction, returning at the end to watch the conclusion of the race.

One of the most outstanding viewing spots can be found at Turn 1, looking on down the hill towards the start/finish straight and the pits, this is best spot from which to observe the start of the race. 

Other good positions are to be found at Turns 3 to 5 (albeit through the safety fence) and on the covered pedestrian bridge that spans the track between Turns 2 and 3. You have to stand on the steps for the best photo opportunities and although you might not want to plan to spend your whole day here, it’s worth the wait!

Although it might seem as though most of the best spots are early on, a raised bank near the penultimate corner offers fans an elevated view over the end of the day.

As a general admission ticket holder, you will never be far away from refreshments, restrooms or entertainment and your ticket will also provide you with access to the concerts at the end of the day.

The best grandstand at COTA (Circuit Of The Americas)

Best grandstand at COTA F1

The greatest number of corners, track time and biggest panoramic view is from the Turn 9 Grandstand. From here you can see 15 corners at COTA including the iconic esses. Also consider the Turn 1 grandstand with views all the way down to the starting grid.

How to get to the COTA F1 Circuit?

Now you know what seats you want its time to find out how you’ll get there! We’ve written a article especially for you so you can pick the best method of transport to suit your budget and preferences.