An American Girl’s Guide to F1 Racing

Jet Flyover * Helicopter filming the National Anthem

Jet Flyover * Helicopter filming the National Anthem

We went to a Formula One race yesterday. I’ve never watched NASCAR and the most exposure I have to the racing world is that I love the movie “Driven” (with Sylvester Stallone–I know, I know) and I really love the movie “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.”  I know the stereotypes associated with NASCAR and I was a little familiar with the ones associated with F1 based on a couple blogs I read.

Formula One is a three day car racing series that includes qualifying and the big day, race day is on Sunday (when we were going). It’s super cool. I am thoroughly hooked. Watching the pit crew change a full set of tires in FOUR SECONDS?  So cool. The tiny cars go super fast (over 200 mph  and 120 degree curves at about 85 mph). Like soccer, this is more of an international thing and not really an American thing.

Austin got the only F1 track in the U.S. last year and this was the second year we got to host the race.

All I knew is that I had no idea what to wear.  I googled but since all of the races are in places like Monaco and Tokyo, the audience base was different.  We were invited to (and graciously accepted) join friends in their suite that was right off the starting line. IT WAS AWESOME. I had no idea what to expect.

I did know this wasn’t going to be a jorts and confederate flag kind of event.

I was right.  There were many helicopters taking off before and after the race for people who wanted to avoid the pesky traffic.

what I wore * awesome seats/starting line * Sir Richard Branson look alike (he was so nice)

what I wore * awesome seats/starting line * Sir Richard Branson look alike (he was so nice)

I was stressing what to wear because everything I’d read from the UK blogs was about how you should step it up, but that it was ok not to wear Jimmy Choos because you’ll walk a lot. o_o  <<not even kidding<<  There’s something about foreigners. Particularly Europeans. They’re just so…beautiful. And classy looking. They can get away with popped collars, neon race hats, spandex Ferrari jerseys, unbuttoned shirts and still look super cool.

In typical Jess style, literally, the day before I went outfit hunting and bought a pair of cute wedge shoes, some new skinnies, and a sequined tank. I felt like I made a good choice considering none of my clothing says Mercedes, Infinity or Lotus on it.

Needless to say, we had an amazing day date (complete with Mexican food and ice cream after the race!  Thanks, S for babysitting!) and really enjoyed the races. I can’t wait for the races next year.

So here’s my advice to you all for the 2014 race season in Austin, Texas:

TOP TEN TIPS for going to Formula One Racing in Texas

1)  Wear sunscreen. This is Texas. Yesterday it was sunny and nearly 90 degrees + humidity.  I have a lovely tan, but some people may burn. Be ready to sweat. Or freeze. It may be cold. Check the weather. Then check it again because Texas weather is unpredictable and the weathermen may as well be using a Magic 8 ball.

2) Don’t wear jorts. Ever. That’s a good practice for life.

3)  Don’t dress like you’re going to go clean the yard. I guarantee the foreigners will look at you and immediately identify you as “one of those Americans.”

4) Don’t be afraid to dress for the occasion–especially if you are sitting in the suites or boxes. Cute heels or sundresses are ok. But this is Austin. If you wear your best Louboutins and a leather skirt, you might kinda stick out. Unless you’re wearing a race jersey with it, in which case the rules go out the window.

5) If you don’t have seats, those backpacks with built in seats are really handy and everyone had them.

6) Don’t plan to be loud, drunk or obnoxious. People will probably stare at you.

7) Wear comfy shoes because parking is a hot mess which may mean that you walk a lot. The shuttles were not very consistent and had no rhyme or reason so we walked back to the parking lot up a giant heel. I got my calf and hamstring workout for the week.  In heels.

8) Plan a good hour to escape the track after the race. Traffic is horrendous. They still haven’t figured that part out.

9)  Bring your appetite. Austin is known for its food and that’s no exception on the track.  There were fabulous food trucks there that had all of the Austin staples, including BBQ.

10)  Bring ear plugs. Or better yet, bring your noise blocking headphones. You won’t look stupid because everyone wears them and when those cars get revving, it is LOUD.

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