What To Do In Austin For Formula One Weekend

Illustration for article titled What To Do In Austin For Formula One Weekend

Want to get up close and personal with your favorite F1-related personalities, or perhaps hang out with other car nerds? We've got your back, plus Halloween in Austin is always a party. Here are the other events in Austin related to this week's United States Grand Prix.

We've focused on the ones that relate to the F1 race in some way here, but if you want to look into live music and other, less racecar-focused community events, Do512 and the Austin Chronicle both put together fairly exhaustive calendars. We've also pared down the list to the most accessible events, leaving out a few that are already full by now or are rather pricey. (Sadly, the Fans' Forum featuring several drivers is one of those full events.) The calendar at Austin Race Events is a great resource if you're looking to go somewhere a bit more exclusive this weekend.


All events listed in chronological order in local time (Central). Most of these are free, but covers and/or suggested donations are listed when applicable.

Red Bull Racing Hoons The 2011 F1 Car And Q50 Eau Rouge

Red Bull usually has some fun running their show car on public streets this time of year, but this time, Infiniti is bringing the awesome Q50 Eau Rouge prototype sedan, too. Drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel will be on hand to leave delicious smoky doughnuts all over downtown Austin. I don't always get excited for Infinitis, but when I do...it's because someone shoved a GT-R engine in a big honkin' sedan. Full details are here.

When: Wednesday, October 29 at 12:00 p.m.

Where: On Congress Avenue between 7th and 11th streets in downtown Austin.

"The Technology Behind The Infiniti Red Bull Racing Formula One Team" Lecture At Austin Speed Shop

This is the first of two public events at the Austin Speed Shop this weekend, and it's a lecture with Red Bull Racing's Chief Information Officer, Matt Cadieux. Get your nerd on in regards to the technical side of F1 and enjoy the awesome scenery of one of Austin's most famous classic car shops. Full details are here.


When: Wednesday, October 29 at 7:00 p.m. (lecture will also be livestreamed on redbull.com)

Where: Austin Speed Shop, 3507 Chapman Lane, Austin, Texas 78744.

Buxton's Big Time Bash / Premiere Of "The Road To Mercedes"

NBC F1 pitlane reporter and motorsports journalist Will Buxton hosts a party every year with the guys from The Austin Grand Prix, a local racing fan site. This year, they're showing the premiere of "The Road to Mercedes" as well, which documents the history of the German marque that's crushed it at this whole "new turbo F1 engine" thing. Brazos Hall is a huge venue made out of a historic building downtown, so this should be fun. Full details plus a trailer for the film are here.


When: Thursday, October 30 at 7:00 p.m. (doors open at 6:00 p.m.; film starts at 7:30 p.m.)

Where: Brazos Hall, 204 East Forth Street, Austin, Texas 78701.

Suggested donation: $5 (all proceeds from the event benefit go to Meals on Wheels and More of Austin)


Circuit Of The Americas' Fan Fest

COTA hosts its own huge party all through downtown Austin during the race weekend with concerts, activities and exhibits. They've got everything from human-sized hamster balls and Evel Knievel's Indy car to yoga classes and mechanical bulls on the schedule. Plus, there's a ghost tour to coincide with the whole Halloween bit. Full schedule and details and be found here.


When: Friday, October 31 through Sunday, October 2. Concerts start at noon on Friday and Saturday, and at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday.

Where: Between Third and Fifth streets downtown, from Congress Avenue to San Antonio Street.


Jalopnik's Third Annual Austin F1 Party

We've already mentioned this one, but the full details are here. Costumes are encouraged. I recommend the grilled cheese. You should go.


When: Friday, October 31 at 7:30 p.m.

Where: Hi Hat Public House, 2121 East Sixth Street, Austin, Texas 78702.

Halloween on Dirty Sixth

This is the only time I can, in good faith, as an older-than-woo!-no-parents-age human being, recommend checking out the main stretch of Sixth Street. It's Halloween. It's not F1 related, but dang it, it's a sight worth experiencing at least once. The people-watching is worth it. The last time I went down there, I got in random fake-swordfights with other strangers with costume props. It was awesome. I'm sure the F1 crowd will make this even more amusing.


When: Friday, October 31, throughout the evening.

Where: Downtown Austin, particularly on the stretch of Sixth Street roughly between I-35 and the Driskill Hotel.


Austin Speed Shop's Hot Dogs And Hot Rods

Need a change in pace from the ultra-modern, high-tech cars running all weekend? Come to Austin Speed Shop's car and bike show and appreciate some more classic metal. Full details are here.


When: Saturday, November 1 at 3:00 p.m. (live bands start at 4:oo p.m.)

Where: Austin Speed Shop, 3507 Chapman Lane, Austin, Texas 78744.

Kevin Paige's Pole Position Art Show

Houston artist Kevin Paige specializes in motorsports themed art. Whether you just want to browse or are looking for a unique gift for the most impossible racing fan ever, check out this night of art and music. Full details and the link to RSVP are here.


When: Saturday, November 1 at 7:00 p.m.

Where: Palm Door, 401-A Sabine Street, Austin, Texas 78701.

Know of any other great events happening in Austin over the grand prix weekend? Post them in the comments below.


Photo credit: Thomas Endesfelder

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Chairman Kaga

I once went down to 6th for Halloween. It was my first actual date with a charmingly weird girl I'd met online. We both parked at the Teachers Union (pour one out for those good old days) and walked to Lovejoy's (pour out another). I had a pint of Guinness, poured by Marcel (super hardcore Moto GP and classic bike enthusiast), she had five Red Bull and vodkas. I was worried.

As we gathered up to leave and check out the scene on 6th, she stood on the table and proclaimed, "I'm so fucking hot!" I never knew if she was hot, as in body temperature, or if this was some sort of sad, drunken moment of doubt and depreciated self worth. Dickhead Davis, another bartender, shouts to the bar, "Time to get the prom queen pregnant!" Worry +1.

We wander out into the wild and commence with the people watching. So many people. Hey, I know that guy. Web developer. Total geek. Good kid. She went porno-stylez on him, grinding on him and kissing his neck. Funny! I became more worried.

Jackalope. Great hamburgers, terrible service. More Red Bull and vodka. It's at this point that I learn she used to be a stripper in New Orleans who specialized in bachelor parties, before Katrina, as if that somehow made the revelation easier to stomach. And that she was a huge Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan. And she once tried to commit suicide by lighting herself on fire with gasoline.

Oh, boy. Buffy?

By this point she's stumble drunk and trying to grab my honker, describing in graphic, neighbor annoyingly loud detail exactly what she will do with it the second we get back to the car. Worry -5, but in a totally inappropriate way. What can I say, she was attractive.

No. No. No. Stupid. Wrong. Bad. I should let her sober up, or call her a cab. I don't want vomit in my car and I want herpes even less. Should I make those kinds of judgments? New Orleans stripper. Bachelor parties. Buffy. Probably. Walk walk walk. Let's get some coffee and some pizza. She's calming down. She tries to kiss me. I back up. She throws a tantrum, takes of her shoes and hurls them down the street. I chase after before a homeless person absconds with them.

When I return she's sitting on the curb sobbing. She always blows it with the nice guys. I'm starting to soften, and wonder if her crazy isn't just a lack of confidence due to her past. Should I be this philosophical while sitting on a curb at 1:30 am on a Tuesday Halloween in Downtown Austin with a woman who clearly has substantial emotional issues? I talk her down. She's still plastered but becoming more manageable. I agree to take her home, as she's in no shape to walk much less drive. She wants me to take her to my house. I think that's a terrible idea. We end up at my house.

Three weeks later she gets fired, evicted from her apartment and shortly thereafter has her car repossessed. She wonders if she can stay with me. Thinking quickly I tell her I'm moving out of the country, so sorry.

And that's how I ended up moving to Ireland for a day.