After a record-breaking year, Formula One is hoping to get back in the fast lane for the U.S. Grand Prix in Austin at the Circuit of The Americas this weekend.
Practices will take place all day Friday, giving time to drivers to have meet and greets with guests. Saturday is qualifying races, with Justin Timberlake closing out the event on stage in the evening, and Sunday is the drivers parade, followed by the Formula One race and Stevie Wonder performing.
COTA officials say this year there are a lot more options for visitors to have an even better experience.
"Last year, this event was seen by over 90 million people in the world," COTA chairman Bobby Epstein said. "So, the U.S. Grand Prix was the most viewed race of the year and the exposure for Austin and for Texas keeps growing. It says we are doing something right. And it says Austin is the destination that we thought it would be, and the guests enjoy Austin just as much as we would.”
Formula One just started to add musical acts, Taylor Swift was the musical guest in 2016, drawing in nearly 270,000 visitors, a jump compared to 2015 when the event held about 224,000.
Outside of concerts, COTA also added karts for visitors on a track that is just under a mile long. Each driver or pair gets a 10 minute race filled with loops and sharp turns, and staff say the karts can reach speeds of up to 50 mph.
Right now, only Formula One ticket holders will be able to enjoy the new feature, open only for this weekend. Officials say they plan is to spruce up the course in weeks to come, prepping to open this December in conjunction with their winter festival.
“You're absolutely racing for best lap speed, you have a timer that records you, you've got an app that you can go back and see, say to your friend, 'Hey, beat this!' and you always have a new goal,” Epstein added.
Tickets are starting at around $30 and up, kids are also welcome to ride.
There is limited availability to sign up, for open spots check here.
The gates open at 8 a.m. Friday.