COTA expecting second-highest US GP attendance in 2016

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Circuit of The Americas chairman Bobby Epstein says that the track is braced for its second-highest attendance for the United States Grand Prix later this month as it celebrates five years of Formula 1.

COTA joined the F1 calendar in 2012 as a new-build circuit in Austin, Texas, bringing the series back to the United States after five years away.

This year’s race is the fifth United States Grand Prix to be held at COTA, but was at risk of not going ahead after torrential rain caused the circuit to take a big financial hit this year.

COTA confirmed ahead of the 2016 season that it had secured the future of the race, with the October 21-23 weekend also being highlighted by performances from world-famous artists Taylor Swift and The Weeknd at the track’s amphitheatre.

“We’ve made a tremendous investment in the future of our weekend and in the sport by signing up some of the music acts that we have and that are included in the price of people’s tickets,” Epstein told NBC Sports.

“When you get the top performers in the world like Taylor Swift and The Weeknd, we have those two along with the price of your weekend ticket, and we lowered ticket prices. We’ve really made a commitment to not just appeal to the traditional F1 fan but to appeal to the fan of just all-around great entertainment.

“We’ve tried to create the greatest sports entertainment weekend certainly of the year, if not one of the greatest ever. So it will bring out not just the traditional racing fans, not just a certain demographic whether that be males of a certain age or a certain type of racing fan, but actually the whole family.

“It appeals to women, it appeals to kids, it appeals to the 20-year-olds and-30 year-olds. We’re really across a broad demographic, trying to build for the future.”

As a result, Epstein believes that the 2016 US GP will be the second-best attended at COTA, only trailing the 2012 event.

“I think we’re going to see our second-best attendance, second to the inaugural event,” Epstein said.

“We may have to limit Saturday tickets because of Taylor. We have a limited capacity of just under or around 80,000 people that can view the concert at one time. We’ve got a giant concert hill that will accommodate 75,000+, but we may get to a point where we have to stop Saturday ticket sales.”