The U.S. Grand Prix drew record crowds last October, according to F1 officials, with 140,000 on race day and 400,000 for the weekend. The 2022 race on Oct. 23 already is a sellout.
“We got notes from Ticketmaster that the system was overloaded,” Bobby Epstein told the Statesman. “Reserve seats sold in a day and general admission in a day and a half.”
The MotoGP international bike crowd will be at COTA in two weeks after a stop at COTA last fall. That race has drawn as many as 70,000. NASCAR was in the 50,000 range.
COTA repaved parts of the track where MotoGP and F1 drivers complained about bumps, and Epstein said, “It’s repaired, and I think MotoGP will be here a long time — for as long as it makes sense for both of us.”
COTA holds a variety of sports car races, the Cars & Coffee Sunday morning series, Bike Nights, Peppermint Parkway, camping and track rentals to car manufacturers, racing outfits and “we’re close to launching a private driving club,” Epstein said.
The IndyCar series raced at COTA in 2019 but isn’t targeted for a return. Epstein said, “Our three major races (F1, NASCAR, MotoGP) work well with our calendar, so we’re happy with that.”
“When I went to Bahrain last week for the season opener, from the time you step off the plane, every column at the airport, all the street lights to downtown are lined with the national flag, F1 banners and checkered flags,” Epstein said. “It says, ‘something special is happening here.’ I want that for Austin.
“This is an international show, a spectacle and we’ve got to do more to involve all of Austin. This is our 10th anniversary, and it needs to be a celebration. I won’t give you the details yet, but you’ll see some legendary Austin favorites as part of F1 this year. We’ve got some announcements coming and we’re going big.”
F1 and Austin are a perfect match, said Epstein, while also crediting the Netflix series “Drive To Survive,” for closing the gap in TV ratings between Formula One and NASCAR in the coveted 18-49 demographic.