What Austinites Can Expect from Formla 1 Weekend: An Exclusive Interview with COTA’s Director of Events, Paul Thornton

Formula 1 is coming to Austin's Circuit of the Americas, Nov 16-18

In just a few weeks, racing enthusiasts from around the world will converge in Austin to celebrate the return of Formula 1 racing to the United States. On November 18, 2012, Austin’s most recent attraction, Circuit Of The Americas, will host the Formula One United States Grand Prix. Being the most watched television sport in the world, the race will be viewed by an estimated 600 million people across 187 countries. 120,000 fans will be in attendance for the sold-out event, which will be the first F1 race to take place in the United States since 2007.

A hot topic for Austinites over the past year, Circuit Of The Americas began construction in December 2010 and has been working day and night for months to complete construction before the November 16 Deadline.   Situated on a 1000-acre site in southeast Austin, approximately two miles from Austin Bergstrom International Airport, it is the first purpose-built Grand Prix facility in the U.S. In addition to Formula 1, the circuit will also host the Texas Motorcycle Grand Prix, the Australian V8 Supercars series, the FIA World Endurance Championship, the American Le Mans Series, and the Rolex Sports Car Series, as well as a host of other non-racing events, all of which will make their debuts at the circuit in 2013.

Far more than a racetrack, Circuit of The Americas will be a world-class destination for performance, education and business. Their master plan features a variety of permanent structures designed for business, education, entertainment and race use. In addition to the track, COTA will feature an expansive outdoor live music space, a conference center, a banquet hall and a state-of-the-art medical facility. These amenities will allow the space to host an impressive variety of events, including concerts and festivals, running and bicycle races, as well as big sporting events like boxing, UFC, the X Games, and TedXAustin.

To get a better idea of what Circuit of The Americas has planned, including what events we can expect to see in Austin during F1 Weekend, we recently sat down with Paul Thornton, the Director of Events and Entertainment for COTA. Thornton previously was founder and CEO of Bravo Entertainment, one of the largest independent concert promoters in North America. He is responsible for coordinating and implementing a wide array of  events during F1 Weekend and year-around, both at the racetrack and all over Austin, including musical performances, festivals, foot races, cycling races, sporting events and large corporate conferences. Thornton will also develop a program for use of the facilities by various community groups and nonprofit organizations.

Check out Do512′s Exclusive Interview with Paul Thornton, Director of Events at COTA, as he gives us the lowdown about  COTA and the events happening all over Austin during F1 Weekend:


I dont have tickets to the race! Can I still be a part of the party?”

YES!  Even though the race is nearly sold out, there are plenty of ways you can get in the spirit of race weekend and be a part of the party. COTA will be hosting a huge FREE downtown festival called  
Austin Fan Fest, Powered by Mobil 1.   Eleven city blocks of the warehouse district will be blocked off for the party, which will feature 5 free stages of music, with a great lineup of local and national acts, including The Bright Light Social Hour, Black Joe Lewis, Donavon Frankenreiter, Bob Schneider, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, and way more.   These 11 city blocks will be jam packed with all kinds of interactive activities, exhibits, and installations, including show cars, F1 racing simulators, racing bugs, games, street performers, art installations, and more.

11 city blocks of downtown Austin will be taken over by COTA’s Austin Fan Fest, a huge free party celebrating all things Formula 1:

Other highlights of weekend include some major national concerts at venues around town, including legendary rock icons Aerosmith with openers Cheap Trick at the Erwin Center on Nov 16.  Shows at ACL Live include Juanes (Nov 16), Lupe Fiasco (Nov 17), and The Wallflowers (Nov 18).  Tickets available at AustinFanFest.com.

The prime weekend party spot will be at the Austin Convention Center, which will be completely transformed into a giant Ibiza-style nightclub (dubbed “The COTA Club”), complete w state-of-the-art lights, sound,  video walls, dance risers, DJ’s, and gogo girls.   It will host some of the world’s hottest touring artists, including:  Flo Rida with Cobra Starship (Nov 16), and Enrique Iglesias with Nelly (Nov 17).  Tickets available at AustinFanFest.com.

Another not-to-miss event of the weekend will be the Closing Party at the Bob Bullock Museum on Sunday 11/18.  The museum will be tricked out euro/discoteque style, and will feature performances by Ghostland Observatory, Fitz & The Tantrums, The Wailers, and more.  Only a couple thousands tickets are available and this event will sell out, so get ‘em while they’re hot!

For schedules, or tickets to any of the concerts above, visit http://austinfanfest.com.

For updates and info on Circuit of the Americas, visit http://circuitoftheamericas.com.

One Response to What Austinites Can Expect from Formla 1 Weekend: An Exclusive Interview with COTA’s Director of Events, Paul Thornton

  1. Ya got urself a little typo up thar!

    “can Expect from Formla 1 Weekend: ”

    Git’r'dun!

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