The trip was awesome. My view at the top of Turn 1 (Row 30, top row) was just incredible. I was able to see the front straight, Turns 1, 2, part of the S's, part of the back straight, 16, 17, 18, front of 19 and back of 20. There was a large viewing screen right in front of us on the inside of Turn 1 and another smaller one down in front of T1. The Master's Championship cars were seriously cool, and the F4 cars were better than I was expecting. Everything was just fun to watch.
Contrary to most people there, I wore earplugs any time the cars were on the circuit. The two seaters really howled. When we first got dropped off over by the back straight, the Master's Championship cars were on the track for practice. My buddy who I dragged with me never watched any open-wheeled racing before and his first comment was "Wow... if erections could talk, that noise would be their voice".
Everybody around us were awesome. The wife in front of us was a huge F1 fan and dragged her husband to the race, and they were a blast to talk to. The family to the right of me travel to at least one race a year and were talking about the circuits that are must see (Monza, Monaco, Montreal, Silverstone). There were also a couple from Scotland and a couple from Italy in our area that we talked too quite a bit. Overall, everybody was friendly and having a great time. Our area was dominated by Ferrari fans with a good showing of Lewis/Merc and Max fans.
There were folks from all over. There were a bunch of languages I didn't recognize as we walked around the circuit. That was entertaining. The downside of all those people was the wait for most things would have been crazy if you didn't go on Friday. Autographs were pretty much out of the question unless you lined up at the bullpen at least 90-120 minutes early - but then you miss the other racing.
We met up with a couple of friends there (used to live in Phoenix, but moved to San Antonio a few years ago). They had general admission tickets and set up camp down by T9, so we got a lot of walking in going back and forth between our seats and theirs. One of the Haas cars had to be towed off the track while we were walking by, so we walked up to the fence to get a better look. The driver pulled away before I could get really close, but we decided to walk along the fence instead of the path. The next car through the section (T6, 7, and 8) was Kimi. The view of him coming right at us was spectacular.
I got to skip the Justin Timberlake concert, but were told there were a lot of technical difficulties. Between every song the lights would go off for about 45 secs and there was no flow to the show. He did play a tribute to Tom Petty, which would have been cool to hear. Stevie Wonder was a great show - a lot better than I expected.
They let you take a backpack into the circuit, so I had a flannel shirt, poncho, ear plugs, and noise canceling headphones with me. Sunday morning was windy and cold, but it stopped raining as we got to the track. I'm glad I had the rain gear, though. The only thing I am going to change next year is the hat I wear. A baseball hat doesn't provide enough sun protection and my neck got a slight burn even with sunscreen. Sadly, I haven't been able to find any team or F1 boonie hats. Might have to make a custom one.
Overall, I had a blast (having my brother living in Austin for a place to stay didn't hurt and a friend from school came down from Dallas to hang out for a night). The food there was great. We already started making plans to go again next year. I recommend it to everybody and am going to try to drag more people with us next year. I was surprised how relatively inexpensive general admission was ($50/day) while still providing admission to the concerts. I might have to try that some time, being able to see the race from different vantage points would be interesting. I think next year, Row 30, Section 4, Turn 1 again - it was that good.
Thanks for the suggestions everybody. The weekend was most definitely a success (except for Merc winning