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Kaitlin's COTA Diary - 2023 US Grand Prix Off Track

Kaitlin Tucci
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The FanAmp Team attended the US Grand Prix at COTA this year - here's how our experience off track went!

Racing isn’t the only part of traveling to a Formula 1 race that matters to most fans - myself included. When visiting a new city or country, the events off the track and ambiance of the host city can set the tone for the entire weekend.

This year was the first year that I’ve had the opportunity to attend F1 races, and COTA was one that was on the top of my bucket list. My team at FanAmp - the global hub for F1 fans to connect, chat, follow news, and more -  took this trip together to not only attend the race, but host a FanAmp Partner Dinner and multiple meetups throughout the weekend. After attending the Canadian Grand Prix earlier this year, with fan activations on every corner and street parties every night, I was interested in how Austin comes alive off-track.

Thursday, October 19th

Williams Pop - Up

COTA Williams Pop Up

One of the most anticipated fan experiences of the weekend was held in a converted warehouse in Downtown Austin - the Williams Experience. Throughout the weekend, the pop-up hosted meet and greet opportunities with Logan Sergeant, Alex Albon, Jensen Button, James Vowles, and more. When there weren’t special events occurring, the experience housed exclusive Williams merch, memorabilia, driving simulations, driver reflex tests, a bar, and photo ops with a Williams F1 car.

My team and I went to the pop-up at 7:00 PM on Thursday and were greeted with no line to enter and extremely friendly staff. At dinner time, there was a very small crowd inside and it was easy to move throughout the experience without any ‘traffic jams’. We intentionally avoided going to the pop-up during one of the meet and greet hours, but were informed that it was first come first served and about 200 people were selected each session.

The merchandise sold at the pop-up was both Austin exclusive and general Williams merch that can both be found on their website - the selection was vast. Mens’ merchandise ranged in price from $26 - $125. Womens’ merchandise ranged in price from $26 - $75. Childrens’ merchandise ranged in price from $26 - $45. There was even an opportunity to purchase a Williams race helmet and model car (price not listed) and win a pair of Alex Albon’s signed shoes.

FanAmp Dinner

COTA FanAmp Creator Dinner

After the Williams Experience, we walked over to Ranch 616 to set up for a partner dinner that FanAmp was hosting. A key part of the FanAmp app experience is the ability to connect F1 fans to their favorite creators and create communities called ‘bases’ run by those creators. We wanted to give back to our partners who have gotten us this far, while most of them were in Austin.

The team was joined by creators from all over the United States (and across the pond): Fan Behavior, Furious Motorsports, Quick Stop F1, Podium Life, and many other creators who have worked with us over the year. Each of our partners was gifted a custom shirt from Fifth Gear Garms and a thank you note, written by yours truly. Fun was an absolute understatement and set the tone for many more successful events throughout the weekend and in the future. 


City Ambiance

Throughout the weekend both my team and my friends went out in various parts of Downtown Austin. While there are definitely activity hubs such as East and West 6th street, the Austin off-track experience was VERY different from Montreal (Canadian GP). There were no real bars or areas with F1 activations or events for fans. Additionally, coming from NYC, I did not expect Austin to be completely walkable… however, walking at night - even just 10 minute commutes- was unsafe and a genuine workout.

On a positive note, any bar or restaurant that we went to throughout the weekend definitely had F1 fans, art or special drinks designated for race-goers. Austin, also, has a lively bar and restaurant scene with OUTSTANDING barbecue and tex-mex options (yes, everything is MUCH bigger in Texas). Overall, compared to attending a race in Montreal, it just felt like a standard weekend in the city, much less an event that drew 400,000 people.


On Track Meet-Ups

On Saturday, FanAmp was involved in a number of meetups on the track between the Sprint Shootout and Sprint Sessions. First, we co-hosted an event with Formula 1 Merch brand, Furious Motorsports and Podium Life, hosted by creators in our partner network! This was our first event of the weekend interacting with FanAmp users and fans on the track. It also gave us the opportunity to check out the view of the hill at Turn 17!

Saturday COTA Bracelet Meetup

Directly after the Furious Motorsports meetup, the female members of our team as well as a number of other creators made their way over to the Grand Plaza for COTA’s inaugural friendship bracelet meetup. We quickly learned that there were two meetups happening concurrently…. But let me say the amount of friendship bracelets present in this hour could’ve easily put Michaels out of business. It was so exciting to speak to other women who love motorsports, and it was a lovely afternoon of making new friends. I may or may not still have my bracelets on as I’m writing this article.

Off Track Meet-Ups

Saturday FanAmp Fan Meetup

After the sprint on Saturday, FanAmp hosted one of our off-track meetups co- hosted by Grand Prix Travel, Furious Motorsport, and Podium Life. As a team, we coordinate meetups for fans off track every race that a member of our team attends at a restaurant or bar near the track to bring together the FanAmp community at large. The meet-up was very well attended with a mix of new friends from the track, F1 creators, the FanAmp team, and Austin locals interested in spending some time talking about F1. Zilker Brewing even had two vintage Ferrari red cars (they were Pontiacs, but a girl can dream) to set the ambiance for the weekend/ the event. All- in- all as the last FanAmp hosted event of the weekend, I couldn’t think of a better way to close out the events with my team and the FanAmp community.


Post - Race Celebrations

Sunday Post Race Party

Going out post - race is always an interesting experience. You are either in the know or on the list, or you’re just hoping that fans end up at the restaurant/ bar/ club that you and your friends choose. Luckily for my friends and I - we ended up at a bar on East 6th street that appeared to be the hub for everyone in F1… from fans, to content creators, to team members/crew, a few former drivers, and a select few current drivers. While this may seem like the dream, there’s absolutely no shame in going home to recover after the race or finding somewhere quiet to spend time with friends.

*Tip for those attending future races* many DJs and artists will announce last minute race parties at various venues in major cities after the race, so check social media!


All in all, I would say that I prefer the off-track ambiance of Montreal over Austin in terms of having a true central hub for all things F1. However, the ability to have so many meetups with FanAmp, other creators, and F1 fans definitely made up for the lack of off-track race culture. If you want to learn more about our actual race experience, check out my COTA Diary - On Track here. Or if you want tips from other fans, then be sure to check out our Fan Takes article and join the community discussion on the app.

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