The United States Grand Prix is one of the most highly anticipated races of the Formula 1 season. Returning to the calendar in 2012, the Circuit of the Americas has become a favorite race of the not only the fans but also the drivers. With the United States Grand Prix rapidly approaching, it is important to plan the easiest and most efficient ways to reach the circuit. This comprehensive transportation guide will help you make the most of your journey to and from the Circuit of the Americas.
The Circuit of the Americas, COTA for short, is situated roughly half an hour away from downtown Austin. The circuit itself is in a somewhat isolated area, but it is easily reached by numerous modes of transportation.
Flying directly into Austin is the best and easiest option for many racegoers. The airport is located 7.5 mi (12 km) from downtown Austin which is roughly a 15 minute drive depending on traffic and the time of day. The Austin airport has different modes of transportation available to take you into the city (taxis, rideshare, shuttles, etc.).
Flying into San Antonio is another great option for people visiting Austin during the Grand Prix weekend. It is roughly an hour and twenty minute drive to get to downtown Austin, but there are many different transportation methods available. There is a train that runs once daily between San Antonio and Austin starting at as low as $15 (USD) per person. If your scheduled flight time lines up with the train times, I would recommend booking this ahead of time through Kayak. Other ways to reach Austin include taking a bus (Flixbus or Infobus), the prices for this range from $30 - $50 (USD) and it takes about an hour and forty minutes. Lastly, renting a car is another viable option to get you from San Antonio into the city of Austin. Prices are very dependent on the vehicle chosen as well as the duration of the car use. The San Antonio airport offers a couple of different rental car companies to choose from, making it very convenient for you.
Although Houston airport is much further from Austin, it is still a great option to fly into. The best way to travel between these two cities would be to either rent a car or take a bus. If you are taking a bus, Flixbus seems to be one of the best and most affordable options while also offering numerous departure times to fit their travelers itineraries. Prices range from $30- $60 (USD) per person. Renting a car is nice and convenient because you can choose a vehicle option that can fit your whole party, as well as purchasing a parking pass for the circuit itself. It also allows you to enjoy the freedom of driving around Austin and exploring everything the city has to offer.
Driving to the circuit is one of the more convenient ways to reach the COTA, but it does come at an extra cost. If you plan on renting a car, costs can range from $40 - $100 (USD) per day depending on the vehicle. If you have your own vehicle, the only extra cost you will have to worry about is the parking pass which is roughly and extra $200 (USD) on top of your race weekend ticket (this includes all three days). Driving from downtown Austin usually only takes about half an hour, but expect some delays from the chaos of the Grand Prix.
For more information, check out these website for car rentals and more information on the parking pass.
Car rental websites:
Car rental businesses:
Shuttles are the most popular way to arrive at the circuit. COTA offers race goers with the option to buy a shuttle pass for the weekend. The shuttles have three different pickup locations:
Waterloo Park (Downtown Austin)
Barton Creek Square Mall (Southwest Austin)
Travis County Expo center (Northeast Austin)
Prices vary slightly depending on the different pickup/drop off locations.
The shuttle drive time takes roughly about 30 - 60 minutes (very dependent on traffic). For more information, check out the official Circuit of the Americas website.
If you don’t want to drive to the circuit yourself, or rely on the schedule of the shuttles, rideshares are another great way to get to the circuit. The average price of an Uber from Downtown Austin (Waterloo park was used for this estimation) ranges from ~$20 (USD) to ~$65 (USD) depending on which comfort level and vehicle option you choose. Expect a surcharge during the race weekend as Ubers and Lyfts may be subject to a much higher demand of rides. Unfortunately, rideshares do not take you directly to the circuit. Instead, you will be dropped off at Del Valle High school which is located very close in proximity to COTA. From the high school, there is a complimentary shuttle which will drop you off directly at the circuit.
If you're attending the United States GP now or in the future, we highly recommend starting with our "Know Before You Go" discussion for all the insider tips and tricks you need to maximize your experience, along with our other guides:
When you're finished, join the lively Grand Prix Travel community on FanAmp and Reddit to interact with fellow motorsports enthusiasts, ask questions, and gather valuable insights. There are even meetups at races around the world so you can spend time with new and old friends over food and drink.
And be sure to visit our trusted partner, F1 Destinations, for help with tickets and all things travel. They write excellent, in-depth guides on all aspects of each race.