The excitement of Formula One racing is set to take over the Las Vegas Strip in November 2023 and with it will come inevitable road closures in the area.
The Las Vegas Grand Prix’s race course will have drivers mainly racing at night on Las Vegas Boulevard between Spring Mountain Road and Harmon Avenue, with a portion of the course including Koval Road to the east of the Strip.
F1 released a course map indicating the race will begin in a lot off Harmon with drivers heading west to Koval. From there drivers will race north on Koval, leading to a loop around the MSG Sphere at the Venetian before the race heads west on Sands Avenue. Drivers will enter the Strip at the Spring Mountain Road intersection and head south. After passing various casino properties on their way down the strip, drivers will head back east on Harmon, toward the start/finish line.
— Formula 1 (@F1) March 31, 2022
In all, the race track will be 3.8 miles long and drivers will take 50 laps during the grand prix. The race cars are expected to reach speeds as high as 212 mph during the race.
Crews will begin prepping for the course months in advance as road improvements will be needed in various areas to get the course up to F1 standards, according to Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority CEO and President Steve Hill.
For the event itself, the roads included on the race course, including Las Vegas Boulevard between Spring Mountain and Harmon, will be shut to traffic for six to seven hours. That closure will occur on three days, as the race includes multiple practice sessions, qualifying and the grand prix itself.
“We’re going to have significant road closures, but first off we’re going to have to do significant road work ahead of that,” said Gov. Steve Sisolak. “Level the surface on Las Vegas Boulevard and weld down the manhole covers and that sort of stuff that they’re already making plans on. You’re going to have road closures for a couple of days, but the hotels all have access, they work that all out.”
Multiple temporary vehicle bridges will be built at various points of the eastern part of the circuit to ensure access is there, if needed.
“We want to make sure that everybody that’s inside that circuit, if necessary, has the ability to get out,” Hill said. “That will happen, pedestrian areas will continue to be open. People moving in-and-out of that enclosed circle will be able to happen. And in a limited scale, vehicles as well.”
Hill also noted that temporary grandstands would be constructed at various resorts on the route, offering prime viewing spots. The pedestrian bridges on Las Vegas Boulevard will not be used as spectator areas.
“Those pedestrian areas will be closed, so that nothing can accidentally spill out onto the track,” Hill said. “From a safety standpoint… you won’t be able to stand on the pedestrian bridges and actually watch the race.”
The decision to run the race at night under the bright lights of the Strip was a no-brainer for F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali.
“I think it’s perfect because we want to, of course, be here on the Strip and making sure we have an interesting race track,” Domenicali told the Review-Journal. “We’re going to build a lot of infrastructure to make sure that this will be an incredible opportunity to enjoy that.”
Not only does the race allow for the chance to showcase the Las Vegas Strip to a global audience, it also gives F1 a perfect opportunity to continue its growth in the U.S. market.
With Las Vegas’ ability to draw tourists from around the country, Domenicali hopes to hook new fans from the estimated 170,000 visitors during race weekend.
“The atmosphere; it’s the right place to be. It’s a dynamic city,” Domenicali said. “It’s very intense and full of people that we believe that we can bring a new audience here. Being attracted by Formula One and being attracted to the experience of Vegas. I think that it’s a perfect combination and it represents a unique opportunity.”