AUSTIN (KXAN) — This weekend, Circuit of the Americas is hosting the MotoGP Red Bull Grand Prix, marking the 10th time this major motorcycle race is taking place on the track.
It’s also the only event of its kind in North America.
20 men on motorcycles, revving up to 200 miles per hour: that’s what will be witnessed this weekend at COTA.
After 10 years of MotoGP races in Austin COTA’s chairman Bobby Epstein reflected on the past decade.
“It feels great to see everyone who keeps coming back every year and to see the crowd growing,” Epstein said.
He says expectations are sky high, with over 5,000 folks from outside the U.S. expected to visit the venue.
“Just to hear the different accents and to see the mesh of all the different types of people come together to make one great fun event.”
Averaging around 1.2 million visitors a year, COTA has had a major impact on the economy.
“We brought about $9 billion to the Texas economy from out of state visitors alone, not just outside Austin but outside Texas,” Epstein explained.
Now the track is trying to transform into a year-round event venue. There are even plans in place for an amusement park.
“The amusement park is going to be bigger and better than anyone probably realizes, it’s very comparable to Six Flags,” Epstein said.
The amusement park, called COTA Land, is being built between turns 19 and 20 on the track. It’ll feature more than two dozen rides and rollercoasters.
“Construction always takes longer than you hope it does, but we’ve got about 25 rides just sitting out here on site, already ready to be assembled,” Epstein said.
As COTA continues to break attendance records and bring in new business, Epstein hopes local leaders try and address issues fans have with accessibility.
“It’s growing so fast,” Epstein said. “You know, it’s our hope that those people who do make good decisions about transportation will pay attention to this part of the city because it’s exploding.”
COTA is also trying to cultivate a community in Del Valle, an area that often feels forgotten.
This June, COTA will host Del Valle Day, a day its nearby neighbors can visit the track for rides, art vendors and food.
The MotoGP will race at COTA Friday through Sunday.
Gates will open each day at 8:30 a.m. and tickets are still on sale.