“Please leave the grid,” the voice on the loudspeaker announced over and over again to the thick crowd that gathered at the starting lines for the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix on Nov. 18. It was moments before the 10 p.m. Saturday evening debut of the 3.8 mile, 210 mph race that wound through the streets of Las Vegas, and famous onlookers were everywhere around the track. While the sport has always attracted the elite, on this occasion the invited guest list was befitting all the spectacle and hoopla surrounding the half-billion-dollar event. Justin Bieber, Cara Delevingne, Patrick Dempsey, Terry Crews, Kylie Minogue, Brad Pitt, Rihanna and A$AP Rocky, Leonardo DiCaprio, George Lucas, David Beckham, Usain Bolt, Steve Aoki, Gordon Ramsay, Lupita Nyong’o, Lindsey Vonn, Shawn White Martin Garrix, Sir Rod Stewart, Anthony Mackie, Gayle King, Brooklyn Beckham and more milled about, from the garages, the grid and pit to the exclusive Wynn Grid Club and Paddock Club Suites hosted by the racing teams.
Oracle Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen — the Las Vegas Grand Prix’s No. 1 antagonist prior to the race and F1’s top driver — won again with a five-second penalty and a mid-race collision. However, this time he prevailed wearing, perhaps begrudgingly, a custom-made Viva Las Vegas racing suit paying homage to Elvis Presley — hours after he called his fellow drivers “clowns” for participating in the event’s opening ceremony. After the race though, he said of Vegas’ first Grand Prix, “I hope everyone enjoyed it; we definitely did. I’m already excited to come back here next year.”
Despite all the drama on the track, including the abrupt ending of the first practice session where Scuderia Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz hit an insecure manhole cover and the subsequent class-action lawsuit filed by fans after the grandstands and hospitality spaces shut down in advance of the second practice, the Las Vegas Grand Prix proved to be a race won off the track. Drivers, stars and brands cashed in on the growing cachet of F1 in a city that provided little shortage of advertising space.
As for the driver who dominated appearances and collaborations, it was Lewis Hamilton. He made a surprise appearance at Resorts World’s The Globe in partnership with Fortnite. At Wynn, he mixed spirit-free cocktails with his new non-alcoholic pure blue agave Almave and crowds swarmed with the +44 x Murakami pop-up shop, grabbing all the merch in this limited-edition collection between driver and artist.
The After at Delilah in Wynn
Four forces in hospitality and nightlife, Wynn Las Vegas, The h.wood Group, Bond Hospitality and Carver Road Hospitality joined together to throw “The After” at Delilah in Wynn. Hosted by Craig Billings (CEO of Wynn Resorts), John Terzian and Brian Toll (co-founders of The h.wood Group) and Sean Christie (CEO of Carver Hospitality), this event looks poised to be the sought-after invite-only F1 after-party invite in years to come.
Bieber, DiCaprio, White and Brooklyn Beckham turned out for the inaugural bash, joined by the likes of Tobey Maguire, Casey Affleck, James Harden, Sofia Vergara, Jon Hamm, Leon Bridges, Zach Braff, Richie Akiva, Ashley Graham, Balthazar Getty, Damson Idris, Anthony Mackie and Fanatics founder Michael Rubin. (Wynn recently announced its new partnership with Scott Sartiano and Will Makris’ Bond Hospitality, which will open a second location of private members club Zero Bond at the resort in 2025. In July, former Wynn exec Sean Christie formed a strategic partnership with the resort to collaborate on Las Vegas restaurant Casa Playa and the new Seamark Seafood & Liquors at Encore Boston Harbor.)
Turn 66 at Resorts World
Allē Lounge on 66 at Resorts World transformed into Turn 66, hosted by Richie Akiva with DJs including DJ Pee .Wee aka Anderson .Paak, Guy Gerber, Kaz James, Ruckus, Vice and more. Rubin, DJ Zedd, Odell Beckham Jr, Rubin, Catch Hospitality co-founder Mark Birnbaum, Chord Overstreet, and more all attended. The party lasted until 6 a.m. for two nights running.
Bellagio Fountain Club
The pinnacle of trackside viewing, Bellagio Fountain Club was so close to the course you could feel the thunder from the engines and the mist from the famed dancing waters. Vergara, Eva Longoria, Jeremy Renner, Mark Wahlberg and Bill Burr all watched the race from there along with such athletes as football player Davante Adams, basketball forward Rudy Gay, golfers Collin Morikawa and Lily He and tennis champion Taylor Fritz. Guests at Bellagio Fountain Club dined on culinary presentations from Mario Carbone, José Andrés, Jean-Georges Vongrichten, David Chang, Michael and Bryan Voltaggio, Michael Mina, Masaharu Morimoto, Alain Ducasse, Christina Tosi, James Kent and Rainer Becker. Haas Team held a Meet and Greet at Bellagio Fountain Club as well with drivers Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg and team principal Guenther Steiner.
Following a similar activation at the Miami Grand Prix, the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team created an oasis called Vegas Club, located in Turn 4, one of the circuit’s most thrilling turns. The three-story suite featured performances from Las Vegas entertainment troupe Spiegelworld, overflowing bubbly, platters of sushi and custom playing cards with the likenesses of drivers George Russell and Lewis Hamilton. Through the team’s partnership with Marriott, their customers were able to bid on the experience, which even included Hot Laps around the track in a Mercedes-AMG GTR. (The Hot Lap driver was always a surprise and one time ended up being team CEO and owner Toto Wolff.) Vegas Club also includes Paddock Club access in the Ritz-Carlton Silver Arrows Lounge.
Shaquille O’Neal and David Beckham tag-teamed to host Sports Illustrated’s Club SI, one of the hospitality lounges on the circuit, which underwent a multi-million-dollar build-out for the party. O’Neal also DJed the event.
Patrick Dempsey hosted a special screening of his new movie Ferrari at Wynn’s Encore Theater. Ahead of the Grand Prix, the racing enthusiast told The Hollywood Reporter that the success of F1 in Vegas will come down to the thrill factor. “That’s the great thing about the first time, you never know. And what’s great about racing is the unpredictability,” he said. “I just really love the sport, the camaraderie, the fellowship, the challenge, emotionally and physically. Certainly we’re at the pinnacle in Formula One, the best drivers in the world, the technology, the innovation. We’re seeing now, because of Drive to Survive, more and more people understand it’s not just a car going around the track. There’s a humanity behind it. The drivers, the personalities that keep the team alive and moving.”
Of the film Ferrari, Dempsey said he was attracted to the story because of the romanticism of 1950s and ’60s motorsports. “I love the time period,” he said. “To me the most romantic period in motorsport history. The film takes place in 1957 and to be able to play race car driver with Michael Mann as director in Italy. It was a dream come true.”
“There are all these wonderful little easter eggs in there. If you’re a racing fan, we have remarkable cars in the film.” He also called Penelope Cruz’s performance “gut wrenching.”
“It’s an opera. In many ways, great melodrama, as well as some great action sequences.”
Dozens of brands used the newly opened, $2.3 billion Sphere as their billboard to the world during the race. To connect with his fans, J Balvin shared a white message wall that included his Community SMS phone number. On Saturday, Balvin became the first artist to perform outside the Sphere and use the space and visuals as the backdrop during his set displaying an interactive Magic 8 Ball. The visuals answered fan’s questions and encouraged them to text J Balvin.
During the show, the Sphere appeared engulfed in a thunder and lightning storm syncing with the reggaeton artist’s performance.
On Wednesday, Nov. 15, Wynn Las Vegas welcomed F1 teams, drivers and celebrities to XS Nightclub following the Las Vegas Grand Prix Opening Ceremony. In attendance were Will.i.am, Christian Horner, Wolff, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, Guenther Steiner, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, Lando Norris, Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon.
The following night, Michael B. Jordan was at XS for the Sports Illustrated Circuit Series with The Chainsmokers.
On Friday at Zouk in Resorts World, Travis Scott sold out the night while at XS Nightclub Alix Earle jumped up in the DJ booth with Swedish House Mafia as the crowd chanted her name. DiCaprio, Maguire, Michael B. Jordan, French Montana and Saweetie attended.
Late night after Saturday’s race, Calvin Harris, Diplo, and Dom Dolla headlined XS with Hamilton, Kelsea Ballerini, Chase Stokes, Beckham Jr., Russell Westbrook, Wiz Khalifa and more in the crowd.
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