About That Automobile Race in Las Vegas

Last Wednesday, Las Vegas Review Columnist John Katsilometes had a big column listing all the celebrities who came to Las Vegas to attend the festivities surrounding the first Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix. (The definition of Formula 1, according to Wikipedia, for those non-race fans like me, is:

the highest class of international racing for open-wheel single-seater formula racing cars sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA).

So I didn’t see any one of the celebrities and I didn’t even know what Formula 1 was.

Except for the heavy traffic, you could imagine zooming past Aria Hotel southbound, getting ready for the left-hand turn (east) onto Harmon.
Photo by Megan Edwards

But what Formula 1 did mean to me was that I didn’t miss the many traffic tie-ups necessitated for Las Vegas roads to be “in shape” for the Formula 1 road race.

I expressed my opinion last Monday at breakfast with friends, “What a nothing experience for locals,” I said–lots of traffic jams, expensive tickets for those who like racing, no run-ins with celebrities and a late night race when this old girl is typically asleep!”

My friend Mike McHugh then spoke up and said, “I loved it. I attended a viewing party at the Henderson Event Center on Water Street in downtown Henderson. We got there at 9 and the race ended at Midnight. Very exciting.”

And then he added, “You should see the Opening Ceremonies video. It is on YouTube. Also great.”

Just a handful of the private jets at the Henderson Jetport that came in for the F1 race.
Photo by Megan Edwards

Mike’s opinion was so different than mine-even without personally attending the race–that I had to take notice.

So a couple days later, I dialed in to YouTube for the “Heineken Silver Las Vegas Grand Prix Opening Ceremony“. And damn it, Mike was right. The opening ceremonies were fast-moving and glittering and I watched the whole show.

A number of entertainers were featured. I was also amazed at the technical aspects of the ceremonies. Loads of spotlights kept time with the music; a group of people waved flags and kept time with the music as well. Lots of video was available for the audience and seemingly a big audience was nearby cheering.

Before seeing that YouTube show I had no feelings other than irritation about the Fl coming to Las Vegas. But after the video I was proud–proud that Las Vegas could do such a great job.

Later, I then went back to YouTube to see race highlights. I can’t say that watching expensive and beautiful race cars round hometown curves gave me a good feeling, but I’m sure if I were in the stands with others who enjoy racing, I would feel differently. Incidentally, I read that the F1 race, was expected to create a $1.28 billion economic impact to the Las Vegas area. I hope that happened.

I’m told that tickets are on sale for the 2024 F! race in Las Vegas. I won’t be an early buyer of tickets. These days I’m in bed when the race starts. But I will consult YouTube again once the race is over.

Well done, Las Vegas.

Here is some more local coverage of the event:

* Megan Edwards (founder of Living-Las-Vegas.com) drove the race course about seven times before the race. Here are photos she shot, following the course on November 11th.

Here is a video, captured by another Las Vegan the day after the race, following the race course. With plenty of zoom-zoom mixed in. The drive begins from the Harry Reid airport.


2 responses on “About That Automobile Race in Las Vegas

  1. If ever there was a city who is capable of figuring out the inside track–it is Las Vegas. Lots of “teething” issues arose this first time. But we’re going to figure it out and next year will be better and bigger than ever.

    The biggest impediment to this GP being successful to Las Vegas residents was the lack of “free or inexpensive options.” If you think about Las Vegas, there have always been really expensive options for spending money on lodging, food, entertainment, etc., but there have also been free or in-expensive ways to experience the grandeur of Las Vegas. The fountain show at Bellagio, the wonder and beauty of the lobby areas at Caesars Palace, Paris, Cosmopolitan, etc., and Bellagio, and the Venice canals above the casino floor at the Venetian.

    We, and by that I mean the collective business ensemble, that enables Las Vegas to exist will lean on F1 to provide some of that for locals and visitors alike.

    This is a city where most of us view Las Vegas as work-in-progress and one that we are all involved in creating. When F1 embraces that concept, I think the future is incredibly bright for F1 in Nevada.


  2. Las Vegas — so much more than the gaming, entertainment and gastronomic destination of the past! Amazing to contemplate that in my lifetime I’ve seen such expansion of all the sports, performing and fine arts and other cultural enrichment. Truly a world-class city. Proud to be here. Enjoyed your “takes” on F1 (before and after breakfast)!

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