I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been skeptical about Formula 1’s upcoming Las Vegas Grand Prix, but as the race itself approaches and after a high-energy 30-hour trip to Vegas to check out all things F1, I have to say: I’ve changed my mind. About some things, at least.
Vegas has obviously played host to NASCAR, NHRA, karting finals, and the Mint 400 — so it’s not like F1 is anywhere close to being the first series to head to the Sin City (and even tried back in 1981 and 1982 with the Caesars Palace Grand Prix, which was admittedly a bit of a disaster.) But look out further and there are countless driving experiences for the average person heading to the city: Speed Vegas, Spring Mountain Raceway, and plenty of karting tracks allow visitors to take advantage of their thirst for speed and adrenaline.
The track layout, too, is fascinating; as I drove the circuit, I started to wonder how Vegas as a city would truly function when so many main access points to hotels, casinos, and restaurants will be cut off by the Grand Prix track. I tried to imagine the race in my head, placing grandstands in the appropriate places, and I’m still not quite sure how they’ll fit it all in.
But there is admittedly something incredibly cool about the energy of the city as it ramps up to the big race. F1 ads are everywhere, and the permanent F1 building being built by the series has the potential to create a permanent home for motorsport in America, one that exists well outside the confines of the weekend. There’s an opportunity for F1 to transform the Las Vegas Grand Prix from a high-cost three-day event to something that lasts for all demographics of fans all year round, and I can’t wait to see how Vegas plays its stacked hand.
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