I recently had the pleasure of getting a private tour of the gorgeous new race track facilities at Circuit of the America. Actually, this was part two of a previous tour and the day focused on the 251-foot Observation Tower. Thanks to Edgar Farrera, I felt very much the VIP on the tower’s deck, learning more about what’s in store at COTA this year along with what makes his job so unique and what, in my opinion, is one of the coolest jobs in town.
A fun, somewhat scary surprise at the top of the tower: clear, see-through flooring on the front lip of the tower. Stand here and you see the ground directly below – a bit unsettling and probably a no-go for anyone afraid of heights. I’ve jumped from a plane (with a parachute) and admit this feature made me pretty wobbly until I got used to it. Austin’s own Miró Rivera Architects designed this undulating red and white tower that, from a distance, also looks like an incredibly scary ride at a theme park.
Edgar and I talked about upcoming track events such as the MotoGP this month, the X Games this June and F1™ in October while perched atop the 251-foot tall Observation Tower. He also told me about some of his personal favorite events such as the tech-centric sessions of Ducati Island over MotoGP weekend, April 11-13.
I had never attended any kind of motor sports race prior to the inaugural F1 race in Austin in 2012. Working with a client who hosts upscale events surrounding F1 further fueled my curiosity about the internationally renowned, glamorous race coming to our neck of the Texas woods. Of course, during the course of 2012, all of Austin was curious about the much-covered and often controversial construction of COTA.
What a rush! The excitement was off the charts. Since then, I’ve attended four other races (including the most famous F1 race in Monaco) and hope to attend many more at this award-winning track. And COTA plays host to far more than motorsports races – ESPN’s Summer X Games, live music at the Austin 360 Amphitheater, private catered events in their spacious facilities, drive academies and track rentals available to a range of private and non-profit entities.
I didn’t know COTA offers public tours every weekend from 10am – 4pm. If you haven’t had a chance to experience COTA during an event or concert (or even if you have), this is a great opportunity to see the space minus the crowds. It includes a trip to the top of the tower (called "the mullet" by COTA staff) where you’ll get a bird’s eye view of this tremendous 1,500 acre facility.
If you haven’t been, it’s high time to see why COTA was recently nominated by Sports Business Journal as the “Sports Facility of the Year.” That’s a big deal for a complex just shy of two years in business. Hope to see them win the prize come the awards presentation this May in NYC.
Gracias for the tour, Edgar!