What do you get when you combine pure energy, adrenaline-packed excitement, incredible danger, worldwide prestige and fame, and a whole lot of money? Formula One racing, of course. When it comes to the most extreme form of automobile racing, Formula One is easily the end all, be all. Between the cars hitting speeds of 180 to 220 mph or more, or the passionate fans that watch this sport from across the world, there's no other form of car racing quite like Formula One.
For most, watching Formula One on television is enough. But if you want something a bit more, you'll have to visit a race in person. During any given season, all of the various drivers, teams, crew members, and fans will travel from one global city to the next, to battle it out and risk everything (quite literally) on the track. When they all come to America for the United States Formula One Grand Prix, they head to a large track located in a small town outside of Austin, Texas: The Circuit of The Americas. I had the privilege of being able to attend the 2015 U.S. Grand Prix, and I'm going to tell you how to do it in style.
One could easily plan out their own itinerary for the weekend, however there are a lot of moving parts to that; from securing transportation and buying tickets, to booking a hotel. It's especially more difficult if you're from out of town, as I was. However, there is another route: purchasing an experiential package from QuintEvents. This is what I did.
In case you are unfamiliar with QuintEvents, they are a company that creates high-end and luxury experience packages for the discerning sport fans of the world. They have a fairly large client list and offer packages for Formula One races, the Kentucky Derby, the Super Bowl, the NBA All-Star Game, MotoGP races, various UFC fights, and more. The company also has plans to expand to the Belmont Stakes & Triple Crown horse race in New York, various events for the PGA Tour, the America's Cup sailing race, even more NFL and Super Bowl packages, and they're even creating a Football Hall of Fame cruise which is expected to be quite popular.
QuintEvents secures tickets directly from the source and then constructs various luxury packages around these events. For any given event, they offer a wide range of different packages at different price points. All packages include hotel rooms, transportation to and from the event, food, meet-and-greets, VIP access, and more. I had the opportunity to receive one of the company's more premium packages for the U.S. Formula One Grand Prix and I'm now convinced that it's the way to experience these popular sporting events.
I had the chance to chat with the CEO of QuintEvents, Mr. Brian Learst, who was able to fill me in a bit more about his company, specifically with regards to this Formula One race. QuintEvents has been working with Formula One for about five years now and they have consistently been able to deliver time and time again. Around 100,000 individuals attend the Grand Prix at the Circuit of The Americas each year and many opt to stay with QuintEvents for reasons that will soon become clear. Since the race in Texas is th eonlyFormula One Grand Prix in America, it is one of QuintEvent’s more popular events. One of the company's biggest challenges is making sure all the logistics are figured out, from tickets to the actual event to working with the various hotels, as QuintEvents wants to ensure that they have virtually everything covered. As Brian told me, “we make sure that everything from our end is handled, so that when people attend the events, they just have to get there and not have to worry about anything; they just enjoy it completely carefree”.
That was exactly what my experience with QuintEvents was like. Once you procure a package from them, all you have to worry about is traveling there. From then on, they virtually have everything handled leaving you with absolutely no worries. All I had to do was take an Uber to my hotel, and then for the next four days they took care of every detail for me.
In terms of accommodations, I was put up in a beautiful hotel room at a local Marriott hotel in Round Rock, Texas. This seemed to be one of the more high-end Marriotts out there, and I had absolutely no complaints. The hotel room was large, the bed was comfortable, and the service was excellent. Throw in a fitness center, a pool, and a bar/restaurant, and everything on the hotel side of things could not have been more ideal.
While the race itself wasn't until Sunday, I got there on Thursday afternoon and the events started that evening. I was given my pass from a QuintEvents employee which, as I would soon learn, gave me access to many different side-events and areas at the track for the duration of my stay. On Thursday night I joined the other patrons in the hotel lobby and we boarded a coach bus out to the track.
That evening we were given a tour of the 3.5-mile track and then soon were taken up to the 251-foot observation tower at the center of the track for a QuintEvents/Circuit of the Americas, (COTA) greeting and some complimentary champagne. So right away, everything was off to a good start. After we finished our beverages, it was back down to the main grandstand area for a dinner party. The dinner was located within a large pavilion called the “Legends Club” that I would soon learn would act as our “home base” for the remainder of the event-filled weekend.
Within the Legends Club, there was high-end catering, Formula One memorabilia, plenty of seats, tables, and lounge chairs, a few bars (I had open bar access for the entirety of the four days I was there, which is a huge plus as I don't need to tell you how expensive drinks can get at these types of things), and much more. There were even a few Oculus Rift virtual reality stations set up where you could sit in a scale Formula One cockpit and play racing games with a real steering wheel. The dinner was attended not only by everyone staying with QuintEvents, but a few of the big names in Formula One and even the actress Nichole Galicia from Django Unchained and Defiance,among others. It certainly was quite the haute ordeal and they definitely make you feel like a VIP. I even had the opportunity to meet two-time Formula One World Champion Mika Häkkinen. Throughout the course of the night, we were presented with some truly incredible food and drinks to quench our pallets, which would in turn set the mood for my time there.
As the weekend went on, the Legends Club served as our home base of operations for the QuintEvent patrons. At any given time, we could stop in, grab free drinks, sit down/rest, watch the events on multiple television screens, and enjoy some of the amazing food that never seemed to end. For as long as I was at the Circuit of The Americas, everything was covered through QuintEvents at the Legends Club. Every two hours or so, the wait staff would clear out the tables and bring even more food... every single day. And seriously, it was great. We're talking about prime rib, steak, made-to-order sushi, a chocolate dessert fountain, and other culinary delights. On one day, they even had fresh seafood that was presented and served within a large ice sculpture. When you stay with QuintEvents, you'll be eating like royalty, and it's all included in your package. There were also many guest speakers, F1 racers, and others that would give talks and presentations throughout the weekend. It was absolutely terrific having access to this large pavilion that was closed off to the general public, as unfortunately we experienced heavy rain almost every single day that weekend. So while most of the crowd was standing around in the mud and rain, I was inside, completely dry, dining on some delectable food, all the while getting to enjoy the company of some fellow Formula One fans.
QuintEvents had various events lined up pretty much everyday for us: from speaking with the only American Formula One driver, Alexander Rossi, to watching the various qualifying rounds and the other races. Besides the main event, Porsche Mobil 1 and the Masters Historic Racing were also having various races throughout the weekend leading up to the big race on Sunday. Unfortunately, some of the events were canceled or postponed due to the weather (seriously, it was a monsoon from Thursday up until the race on Sunday), but luckily the folks from QuintEvents were there for us and had plenty of things for us to do. Take it from me, you'll never be bored.
After having three days of non-stop food and entertainment, it was finally Sunday and the race was about to begin. QuintEvents provided me with some great seats located on turn 12 of the track which was an excellent spot to watch the race. The whole racing event was over two hours long, but the race flew by just as fast as the cars. Since I was located at a turn, I was able to see where all the real action takes place as this is where the drivers make their moves and attempt to pass each other. I was on my feet for nearly all of the race.
As soon as the race was over, Lewis Hamilton came out on top. Elton John came out to present the trophies, and Hamilton was crowned the Formula One World Champion as he secured enough points that race to win the entire season. I departed from the stands and returned to the QuintEvents pavilion for some dinner before I headed down to see Sir Elton John perform a concert in front of thousands of fans. After the concert ended, I left and spent one more night at the hotel before finally flying out the next day.
I can honestly say that the weekend was easily one of the best weekends of my life, and it was all thanks to QuintEvents. It was my first Formula One race, and besides the weather, I don't think I could have asked for a better time. QuintEvents not only gives you the complete VIP experience, they pretty much eliminate all of your stress and worries. Once you buy your package to any of their events, all you have to concern yourself with is getting there; they quite literally handle everything else. From the premium hotel room and the endless amount of food and drinks to meeting Mika and watching the most exciting car race out there, my time in Austin with QuintEvents was absolutely divine. Honestly, I felt that my time almost ruined me, as they set such an extremely high bar when it comes to attending events of this nature. It's going to be tough for other companies to stack up against them, as they really just do such an amazing job and I never for once regretted going with them. If you don't mind paying more of a premium (and even then, they offer plenty of reasonably priced packages depending on your budget), a weekend with QuintEvents is one that you are going to remember forever. I know I certainly will.
Photos and Guest post from Sebastian Hensiek, QuintEvents, Formula One