The world-famous neon lights of the iconic Las Vegas Strip will provide the backdrop to Formula 1’s newest race when Sin City hosts the Las Vegas Grand Prix next November in 2023. It will be one of three races hosted in the United States, joining the Miami Grand Prix and the US Grand Prix in Austin, Texas.
Las Vegas first hosted Formula 1 races in 1981 and 1982 in what would be a short-lived two-year run of the Caesars Palace Grand Prix. However, while these races should have been a grand affair, they took place on a small, slippery track in the casino’s car park. A Las Vegas Formula 1 race needs to showcase Las Vegas by running down the Strip, at night, past the shimmering lights and the city’s most famous landmarks, hotels, and casinos, thereby, placing the viewers and the drivers in one of the most instantly recognizable cities on Earth.
The Las Vegas Grand Prix racetrack will begin in a lot off Harmon Avenue, with drivers heading west to Koval Road. The drivers will then race north on Koval, leading to a loop around the MSG Sphere at the Venetian before the race heads west on Sands Avenue. The drivers will enter the Strip on Las Vegas Boulevard at the Spring Mountain Road intersection and head south. After passing various casino properties down the strip, including the Bellagio Hotel and Fountain, Mandalay Bay, Paris, Treasure Island, and Caesars Palace, the drivers will head east on Harmon toward the start/finish line. This 3.8 mile 14-turn track will feature three straights, a high-speed cornering sequence, and a single chicane section. The drivers will compete for 50 laps, with top speeds expected to hit as high as 212 mph.
Aside from the allure of hosting a race on one of the most famous streets in the world, Formula 1 officials see the Las Vegas Grand Prix as a perfect opportunity to continue Formula 1’s growth in the US market. Formula 1’s return to Las Vegas comes at a time of unparalleled interest in the US. Interest in the US grew with the 2021 Formula 1 season garnering an average of 934,000 viewers per race on ESPN, a 54% increase compared to 2020. This growth has been the result of a combination of a massive push in digital content creation, social media outreach, and a surge in the popularity of the Netflix blockbuster series “Drive to Survive,” a documentary series that gives a behind-the-scenes look at the drivers and races of the Formula 1 World Championship. Now, for the first time in 40 years, Formula 1, with an ever-growing US fanbase, will race in America on three separate occasions in 2023. While the race in Austin, Texas, will take place on a certified track, the Circuit of the Americas, Miami and Vegas will feature well-designed street circuits that will highlight the speed and bravery of Formula 1’s finest drivers.
According to Formula 1 race officials, crews will need to begin prepping for the race months in advance as temporary road improvements will need to be made on the Strip to get the street circuit up to Formula 1 standards. The surface of Las Vegas Boulevard will need leveling, and the sewer manhole covers will need sealing as Formula 1 race cars travel so fast that these covers could lift out of the ground. Multiple temporary vehicle bridges will need to be built at various points along the eastern part of the circuit to ensure available access as there will inevitably be road closures in the area. Additionally, concrete barriers will need to be constructed on the sides of Las Vegas Boulevard to protect spectators watching from there. Furthermore, temporary grandstands will need to be constructed at various points along the course to offer spectators viewing spots. Lastly, the pedestrian bridges on Las Vegas Boulevard would need to be closed off to spectators to ensure, from a safety standpoint, that nothing haphazardly spills out onto the track causing an accident.
Ultimately, these improvements and their associated costs will pale in comparison to the enormous economic impact that a Formula 1 race will have on Las Vegas and the State of Nevada. It is anticipated that 170,000 visitors from around the country will travel to Las Vegas to watch the race, accommodating roughly 400,000 room nights during race weekend, which includes multiple practice sessions, qualifying, and the Grand Prix itself. The direct economic impact is estimated to approach half a billion dollars, while the indirect impact is likely to be over a billion dollars by the time the dust settles.
In the world’s gambling center, the Las Vegas Grand Prix does not appear to be a roll of the dice but one of the safest bets you could place right now. The Las Vegas Grand Prix will be an incredible moment for Formula 1 with the energy and history of Formula 1 culminating in one unforgettable Saturday night on the Las Vegas Strip. Spectators will experience the unrivaled thrill of watching world-class drivers race through what is destined to become one of the most iconic racetracks in the world.