Las Vegas Grand Prix – F1 Racing in the Neon Oasis

The Las Vegas Grand Prix is a motor racing event currently held as part of the IndyCar championship in Las Vegas, United States. It was previously part of the Formula 1 World Championship in 1981 and 1982 under the title of the Caesars Palace Grand Prix, as well as the CART championship. Various circuits, including urban, road, and oval tracks, have hosted this race.

Las Vegas Grand Prix

On March 31, 2022, the FIA announced the return of Formula 1 to a new urban circuit in Las Vegas in 2023. This marks the third race held in the United States, alongside the United States Grand Prix in Austin and the Miami Grand Prix.

The year 1980 marked the final edition of the United States Grand Prix East. To compensate for its discontinuation, a new Grand Prix was created: the Caesars Palace Grand Prix.

Historic Battles Under the Vegas Sun

This crucial Grand Prix, which played a decisive role in determining the world champion for drivers, took place on a temporary 3.650 km circuit set up in the parking lot of the Caesars Palace hotel-casino in Las Vegas. The race covered a distance of 75 laps, equivalent to 273.750 km, under scorching heat. Additionally, the race track was very twisty and followed a counterclockwise direction (unusual, as European circuits typically go clockwise), making it a challenging ordeal for drivers, especially straining the muscles of their necks. When Nelson Piquet secured his first title by finishing fifth in the inaugural edition, it took him fifteen minutes to recover from exhaustion after barely crossing the finish line.

While the casino aimed to bring this final championship event to the gambling capital, the audience did not turn out in large numbers to endure the heat of a concrete parking lot. Only 30,000 spectators attended the 1982 edition, marking the lowest attendance of the entire season.

Formula 1’s Soaring Popularity in the U.S.

The success of Formula 1 in the United States, attributed in part to the popular Netflix series Drive to Survive since 2018, enabled the United States Grand Prix to attract a record-breaking crowd of 400,000 spectators over three days at the Circuit of the Americas in 2021. When the Miami Grand Prix was added to the calendar in 2022, all tickets were sold out within forty minutes. Consequently, Formula 1 decided to add a third race in the United States starting in 2023. The track, with a length of 6.14 km, includes sections around the iconic Las Vegas Strip, winding past the city’s most prestigious hotels and casinos. This new layout is a departure from the 1981 and 1982 editions, which took place in the Caesars Palace parking lot with limited attendance. The race, scheduled for November 18, will be a night race, with the start set for Saturday evening.

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