Formula One's Las Vegas Grand Prix kicks off with opening ceremony


Las Vegas is hosting a Formula One Grand Prix for the first time in 41 years this weekend. The multi-day event kicked off on November 15 with a lavish opening ceremony that included musical performances and a drone show, and the teams are now practicing for the big race.

Music blared and lights flashed as an announcer introduced the 20 drivers that will compete in the race on Saturday, November 18 — this is exactly the kind of opening ceremony you’d expect from a big-name event taking place in Sin City. It wasn’t all about racing: In addition to fireworks, the ceremony featured concerts by Kylie Minogue, Keith Urban, and the Blue Man Group. About 30,000 fans attended the event.

Now that the party is over, the teams are focusing on the upcoming race. The schedule includes three practice sessions:

  • Thursday, November 16 from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. 
  • Friday, November 17 from 12 a.m. to 1 a.m.
  • Friday, November 17 from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

All times are in local Pacific Standard Time (PST), meaning you need to add three hours to convert them to Eastern Standard Time (EST). The qualifying session is scheduled for Saturday, November 18, from 12 a.m. to 1 a.m., and the race starts at 10 p.m. on that same day.

The first Formula One Grand Prix held in Las Vegas since Ronald Reagan was in the White House promises to be an exciting one. The race will take place on public roads, including the famous Strip (officially called Las Vegas Boulevard), and drivers will speed past some of the city’s most emblematic landmarks, such as the Bellagio and Venetian hotels. The 3.85-mile-long track includes 17 corners and a 1.18-mile straight, and the organizers expect that average speeds during the 50-lap race will match those reached on the historic Monza track in Italy.

Even the weather will (mostly) cooperate. As of writing, the forecast calls for partly cloudy skies, a high of 68 degrees, and a low of 48. 

You’re in luck if you can’t make it to the 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix, because you won’t need to wait more than four decades to see another one. City officials signed a 10-year contract with Formula One, so the Las Vegas Grand Prix will be held annually until at least 2033.

Here is a link to F1’s official video of the opening ceremony, which, like all F1 videos, will take you to the YouTube version:

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