m4ff3w
m4ff3w GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
11/3/14 11:55 a.m.

Got to spend all weekend at COTA for the F1 festivities. Lots of amazing food and plenty of libations.

My kids and I on top of the RV during practice on Friday.

View from the RV during qualifying.

Kiddos being goofy.

Race Day!

I'd heard how much more quiet the cars are, but it is ridiculous in person. The Porsche and Ferraris were louder.

After the race we took the carts down to the paddock, I was driving the cart so I didn't get many pics this year.

Last year, we got a pic of Grosjean's 2nd place trophy, we didn't get that this year. This might be OK though:

Walking around the paddock is crazy fun. Just knowing we aren't supposed to be there makes everything more exciting.

Who's that guy? Daniel Ricciardo

We then went to the Mercedes suite... Hamilton was talking to some reporters. One of the guys that works there said he'd come visit us in 15 minutes or so.... but he didn't!

This guy did though:

Nico Rosberg signed my hat (luckily under the bill is red)

My son was spitting game to Nico's wife

We then took the cart out on the circuit. My kids might be the youngest people to drive the circuit ever. We all had a massive blast!

Edit: Here was last year: http://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/grm/our-usgp-experiance/74307/page1/

Tom_Spangler
Tom_Spangler GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
11/3/14 12:02 p.m.

That. Is. Awesome. Plus eleventy billion Dad points for you, too.

trigun7469
trigun7469 Dork
11/3/14 12:10 p.m.

Awesome, nice that the F1 guys are approachable.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/3/14 12:36 p.m.

Approachable if you get them in the right area, maybe. Most of the time, the army of gatekeepers keeps everyone in their appropriate place. Having an RV in the luxo parking spots gets you inside the gates long after the public has been shooed out, I suspect. If you're on the outside, you'll be lucky to see a driver go by in an escorted car.

Still, we got pretty lucky. A friend works in MB High Performance Engines, and he arranged at the last minute for a mate of his to show us around race morning. So we found ourselves in the Mercedes pits being given a guided tour of Lewis' spare engine by his powertrain engineer. Also got to see the cars torn down and the data stations used by the engineers during the race. That was a serious highlight.

I like the sound of the cars. The Le Man Audis are creepy quiet too. Noise is inefficient.

m4ff3w
m4ff3w GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
11/3/14 12:43 p.m.

We got shooed out of Vettle's garage last year.

This year we actually made our way onto the track by driving the cart through one of the garage bays that was empty.

Rusted_Busted_Spit
Rusted_Busted_Spit UltraDork
11/3/14 1:08 p.m.

Very cool. I have informed my wife that I want to take the kids to the WEC/TUDOR race next year, it will be a long drive but worth it I think.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/3/14 1:33 p.m.

I'd love to see that one.

Things we learned:
look around CL, Facebook and the like and you can pick up affordable tickets. Three days for two people (one day on the main grandstand, one on T15 and then T9 for the race) cost less than a single NFL ticket to see a decent team.
don't pay for the official parking. Every house/field/lot/shop around the track offers parking for $10-$40 per day. Most of them are close enough that it's a short walk to the track, or you can take a shuttle provided by the lot. We parked at a Spec7/Miata race shop right across from the entrance to Parking T.
the food is exceptional for track food. It's best near the Grand Plaza in the middle with various food trucks, the peripheral food tends to be more institutional.
if you don't have a golf cart, be prepared to walk a lot. And don't even think about going over one of the bridges right after the race.
* for racing, I think T12 and T15 are the best seats. You don't see any high-speed cornering, but you'll see the best racing.

I was a little disappointed in the lack of support races. We had Spec Ferrari and Spec Porsche to go with Spec F1. No historics, no GP2 - just the expensive version of Spec Miata. The Porsche guys gave some good racing (and big wrecks), the Ferrari guys on the whole had more enthusiasm than talent which is entertaining in its own right.

Those premium RV spots are pretty sweet. Definitely the luxurious way to see the event.

bmw88rider
bmw88rider GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
11/3/14 6:48 p.m.

Haha. I think you caught me in two of the pictures it looks like. I was on the inner ring road for qualifying and on top of coyote hill for the race. I was one of the track operations guys that did the trams for the ferrari challenge teams and ran stuff out to the corners and such.

Your kids weren't the ones playing football on the roof the RV were they?

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/3/14 7:31 p.m.

A few pics.

Everyone cheers for this guy. He had a lonely race.

Second-best sounding car on the track. The best? The safety car. Not that F1 cars sound bad, but yum.

We have a cat named Jenson Button.

Our next cat will be called Sebastian Vittles. Not because we're fans, but because the name is so damn funny.

One of the best drivers on the grid in my opinion, and the best looking car.

Spec Piñata with pretty cars.

Spec 911. Some great racing, there was a championship to win.

This guy had a good start on a 911 junkyard. 4 cars by the end of the first race.

4 hours before the race, we were in the Mercedes garage getting a personal tour of the powerplant and data systems by Lewis' powertrain engineer. Amazing experience, there was no question off-limits. Although some of the answers were a little non-specific This was incredible. We got to see the engine that will win the driver's championship - Nico or Lewis. They're the same engines that were run in a previous race, they'll be put in for Abu Dhabi. Considering they were the last engines for the year, they were priceless and we got to eyeball them all over. I told him after the race he made it look easy, he replied "it bloody wasn't!!".

Invisible race car.

m4ff3w
m4ff3w GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
11/3/14 7:57 p.m.

Great pics, thanks for sharing!

No, my kids weren't the ones playing football on top of RV. My son was riding a motorized cooler selling cokes and Redbulls up and down the RV lot.

Feedyurhed
Feedyurhed SuperDork
11/3/14 8:56 p.m.

Very cool stuff. I think I am going to plan to go next year.

Rusted_Busted_Spit
Rusted_Busted_Spit UltraDork
11/4/14 9:14 a.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner:

Thanks for the tips.

Basil Exposition
Basil Exposition Dork
11/4/14 9:24 a.m.

We sat in the main grandstand. Absolutely horrible place to watch the race (98% of watching the race meant watching the monitors), but the tickets were free and the bathrooms were cleaner.

We were only there on Sunday and didn't get all the neat inside stuff. I was absolutely flabbergasted by the lack of noise from the cars. We'd been in 2012 and the noise would almost physically knock you over. We barely even needed the ear protection, even in the "valley" of the main grandstands. I'm a Hamilton fan (of his driving, not necessarily his personality), so it was a thrill to see him win both times I've been there.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/4/14 9:34 a.m.

Agreed on the grandstands - we were there for practice. You get to see pit stops, but no racing whatsoever.

Overall, Austin did a pretty good job of keeping up with the demands of so many people. And we could not get over how friendly all the staff were. Smiles everywhere.

codrus
codrus GRM+ Memberand Dork
11/4/14 11:57 a.m.
Keith Tanner wrote: 4 hours before the race, we were in the Mercedes garage getting a personal tour of the powerplant and data systems by Lewis' powertrain engineer. Amazing experience, there was no question off-limits.

So how long until FM comes out with a turbo system complete with an MGU-H? :)

bmw88rider
bmw88rider GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
11/4/14 1:30 p.m.

Glad you'll enjoyed the event. We love having the big crowd come in.

I had a lot of fun working the event. The noise level just shocked me. I was on the backstretch about a 1/3rd of the way down and I figured it was going to be a big mistake not having my ear protection and here I am about 3-5 feet from the the cars and it was just fine. So much quieter than before.

Keith, I have to say the closing car (the AMG wagon) had the best sound IMHO. It was almost wrong the sound coming out of that wagon...in a good way.

So my funny story of the weekend. I was waiting in my cart on the edge of the Ferrari Support Paddock for one of the scrutineers to come back so I could run him to race control. This nice older couple and probably their grandson just hopped into my cart. I told them, I'm not one of the hospitality shuttles and I'm actually in race operations. They were like ohhh..Whoops. Then I looked at my watch and said well, I think I have a few minutes and asked them where are they going. They were headed up to the paddock club so I was like what the heck. Told the security guard to let the guy I was to pick up to hang out and I'll be right back. So I took the 3 of them up through the paddock and gave them the grand tour. They had all of the cars lined up for the Driver parade lap so I ran by them by the cars and then took them out around the inside of turn 20 to show them the pit entrance and then dropped them off at the paddock club entrance. The guy said thanks so much and he wished I could show them the whole track and that they really enjoyed it.

Just a little something that made that family smile.

All and all a lot of fun. Bring on USGP 2015

Basil Exposition
Basil Exposition Dork
11/6/14 2:28 p.m.

Say, how was the attendance at the Kid Rock concert after the race? We would have stayed, but his shows just haven’t been the same since he fired the strippers and the dwarf died.

bmw88rider
bmw88rider GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
11/6/14 5:11 p.m.

I don't know about the attendance but I was doing one last loop of the track with one of my co-workers just to make sure everything was brought in from the corner stations and such....IT was really a bad show....We stopped at one of the big screens and just about broke out in laughter because it was so bad. We turned up the tunes on our phone to drown it out.

wbjones
wbjones UltimaDork
11/6/14 6:44 p.m.
bmw88rider wrote: Glad you'll enjoyed the event. We love having the big crowd come in. I had a lot of fun working the event. The noise level just shocked me. I was on the backstretch about a 1/3rd of the way down and I figured it was going to be a big mistake not having my ear protection and here I am about 3-5 feet from the the cars and it was just fine. So much quieter than before. Keith, I have to say the closing car (the AMG wagon) had the best sound IMHO. It was almost wrong the sound coming out of that wagon...in a good way. So my funny story of the weekend. I was waiting in my cart on the edge of the Ferrari Support Paddock for one of the scrutineers to come back so I could run him to race control. This nice older couple and probably their grandson just hopped into my cart. I told them, I'm not one of the hospitality shuttles and I'm actually in race operations. They were like ohhh..Whoops. Then I looked at my watch and said well, I think I have a few minutes and asked them where are they going. They were headed up to the paddock club so I was like what the heck. Told the security guard to let the guy I was to pick up to hang out and I'll be right back. So I took the 3 of them up through the paddock and gave them the grand tour. They had all of the cars lined up for the Driver parade lap so I ran by them by the cars and then took them out around the inside of turn 20 to show them the pit entrance and then dropped them off at the paddock club entrance. The guy said thanks so much and he wished I could show them the whole track and that they really enjoyed it. Just a little something that made that family smile. All and all a lot of fun. Bring on USGP 2015

and how PO'd was the scrutineer that you had the audacity to make him wait ?

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