Photos from 250+ Feet up COTA’s Petrolsaurus Rex

04/17/2014 @ 1:44 pm, by Jensen Beeler10 COMMENTS


As a fifth-generation Californian,  I am obliged to lament the decision to drop Laguna Seca, and to focus American MotoGP racing efforts on solely Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Circuit of the Americas. That being said, while the California track is a superb race course to ride, the facilities and general location are no where close to the level that is provided by Indy and COTA.

Nothing illustrates this better than the Grand Prix of the Americas that Austin, Texas just hosted. The track is simply a spectacle, and if a certain Marc Marquez wasn’t such a child prodigy, the MotoGP race would have been just as exciting at the ones seen in Moto2 and Moto3.

Standing 251 feet above Turns 16, 17, & 18, the COTA observation tower provides a bird’s eye view of just about every tun on the circuit, if you can stomach its subtle sway in the wind and clear-glass floor at the precipice. Officially called by COTA as the “Observation Tower” (note the “recommended for editors” capitalization), the tower really needs a better name for casual conversation.

We’ve heard COTA Cobra used a few times with some lovely alliteration, but the structure has always struck us as less snake-like, and more like a big dinosaur — we’re going to use the name “Petrolsaurus Rex” until I hear something better, or COTA sends me a cease and desist order.

Nomenclature aside, the view from the Petrolsaurus Rex platform highlights the great attention to detail that COTA went to for Formula 1 and MotoGP viewing. Drawing big red, white, and blue lines along the course, a quick straw poll from photographers sees COTA being one of the more photogenic race courses (something one could not say about Laguna Seca).

I climbed to the top of Petrolsaurus Rex (read: took the elevator) during the MotoGP Warm-Up session, and snapped a few photos in the process. Enjoy the hi-res photos after the jump. There’s a certain minimalist quality to having GP bikes next to long contrasting lines.














Photo: © 2014 Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0

  • L2C

    Everybody but Dani. :-( Nice shots, though.

  • chris

    awesome! but there’s only one name for it. the mullet.

  • I’ve heard that one too.

  • As a fan who has to park, eat etc. I found CotA a big disappointment compared to Laguna Seca. I won’t be back to CotA anytime soon. However I’m looking forward to WSBK at Laguna Seca this year.

  • Slangbuster

    Like the shots Jensen, Good job. Just got back from CotA and it was world class in every respect. It’s a beautiful, modern, state of the art facility that I found accommodating in every respect. I spent most of my time in the pits but explored the whole place with the help of their trams and bus’s that were provided (and needed…the place is massive) The employees and staff were friendly, helpful and personal. About the only complaint I had was the outrageous prices of the food and water (same old story).

    Some little things……After the races on Sunday, they hosted a free concert in the amphitheater inside the facility and said it would help lighten the traffic congestion in the area with people all leaving at once after the race. I was told by their management staff that their mission statement was to treat their guests like family and to be problem solvers. They handed out ear plugs (much needed) and I saw their medical staff stop a tram to give a spectator/passenger Aspirin who was complaining of a headache. I was told, ‘It’s the little things that make the big things work”. I was impressed.

  • Slangbuster

    Oh, how about “The CotA Cobra”…..?

  • zipidachimp

    Laguna is owned by Uncle Sam and operated by SCRAMP. I’ve been there twice. Last year for WSBK and 40 years ago for an AMA race to see Yvon Duhamel.

    The place hasn’t changed in 4 decades, probably due to the ownership. That it exists at all is a miracle. It’s still very pleasant, staff helpful etc……COTA has both the money and initiative to do things on a grand scale, Uncle Sam not so much.

    I’ll be back in July for WSBK as I now live a short plane ride away(Surrey BC), and Monterey/Carmel is worth a visit anytime.

  • Highside Specialist

    Fantastic, artful shots Mr. B. As Julian Ryder would say, “Fab-o-lus”!

  • Definitely cool shots! I would have liked to have made it up there, but time and company did not allow. Plus, I’m a fraidy-cat when it comes to heights.

  • Singletrack

    The bikes almost look insignificant from that elevation.

    Here’s two name ideas

    To my eyes, “The Ski Jump” is most apropos.
    2nd choice, “The Waterfall”

    Sure neither name has relevance with the local geography, but visually, they match. And the names roll off the tongue better than Petrolsaurus Rex. ;)