TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — We are on the cusp of what’s expected to be one of Austin airport’s busiest travel weekends ever.
Formula 1’s U.S. Grand Prix launches with practice Friday. The festivities continue through the weekend. Hundreds of thousands of fans are expected and have already started trickling in.
“Where you guys from?” John Weaver asked another group while at a food truck.
Weaver is here with his dad, John Weaver, and brother-in-law, Jeff Drajka.
“Our family has had a really strong history at the Indianapolis 500. I’ve been to over 35 races. My dad has been to 52,” Weaver said. “Jeff, he’s been over 21 races with me.”
This is their first Formula 1 race.
“This isn’t a cheap ticket! So, we’re excited to be here,” Weaver laughed.
All the F1 excitement also translates to tons of traffic as fans make their route to Circuit of The Americas.
Airport officials expect Monday to be their busiest day ever and are already making plans to accommodate all the people near the airport.
They’ll shut down Spirit of Texas Drive from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday and 8 a.m. to noon on Monday.
Drivers headed to the terminal and even the Cell Phone Lot will have to use Hotel Drive to get to Presidential Boulevard.
Meanwhile, COTA officials are also preparing for traffic.
“We had a massive effort to improve transportation to and from the race and the shuttle program is at the core of it,” said COTA spokesperson Mark Panis.
Last year, more than 100 shuttle buses were canceled at the last minute.
This year, Panis said they’ve already doubled the number to 600 and counting.
Officials also said they’ve created a dedicated bus lane on Elroy Road and a specific dropoff and pickup location for rideshares away from the main entrance.
“Our Uber driver said that there’s a lot of mess coming and going from this track. So, I think they have a lot to learn,” Weaver said.
“What they do at Indy is they shut off the minor roads so that people are not coming and going out,” said Weaver’s dad.
They think COTA could take a page out of Indy’s book.
“They should take a key from Indy on basically how to direct traffic, I mean, because they will manage the flow in and out. And it’s pretty quick in and out,” Drajka said.
Still, the three said they are mentally prepared.
“Hunker down. We know how to drink. Yeah, it’s fine,” Weaver said.
And they’re planning to enjoy the sunny skies and roaring race track.
“Thankful it’s really warm… Coming from Michigan when it was 30 degrees when I left,” Drajka said.