The Caesars Palace Circuit was a venue at the Caesars Palace casino, in Las Vegas. The track was set up in the parking lot behind the casino, next to Interstate 15, the main highway access to Las Vegas. It hosted four races: two Formula One events using a very twisty road course, and two for the CART series, using the perimeter of the circuit to make a 1.125 mile (1.811 km) modified oval.
The owners of the Caesars Palace casino had long been attracted to the idea of hosting Formula One, and attracting wealthy 'high rollers' that would attend the race. They believed that the glamour of the Monaco Grand Prix could be replicated in the Nevada desert. When Watkins Glen defaulted on payments for the 1980 United States Grand Prix, that circuit was taken off of the calendar, and a replacement was sought. The Las Vegas group was contacted, and a contract was quickly signed.
The track was shaped like a giant capital letter "E", ostensibly to put the maximum track length into a tiny plot of land. There's no way to sugar coat this awful track, so I'll just dive in. If you get lost, look at the map, and think about the poor drivers. Every corner on the track had basically the same radius, and only differed in the arc.
The pit straight was about 1⁄2 km long. Turn 1 was an increasing radius left of almost 180°. After a short straight, Turn 2 was a 45° left kink. Another short straight (there are a lot of these) leads to Turn 3, an almost 180° right. Then another straight, then Turn 4, a 60° right kink. After the next short straight, Turns 5 and 6 were a double-apex left adding up to more than 180°.
Turn 7 was the inevitable kink, going 45° left. Then Turn 8 was the second 180° right. Turn 9 was the final right turn of the circuit, bending almost 90°. And the "infield" section ended at Turn 10, a tighter 150° left. Turns 11, 12 and 13 were all left kinks of roughly 45°, sweeping around the infield and leading onto the back straight. Not quite as long as the front straight, it led to the final bend, Turn 14. This was about 100° to the left.
The pits were outside the track, due to a lack of unused space in the infield. Pit in was just after Turn 13, and the pit lane looped way around Turn 14, to allow sufficient runoff. And any elevation change would have been measured in centimeters. And any spectators sitting in the midpoint of the pit straight would notice that the five kinks labeled turns 2, 4, 7, 9 and 12 were almost in a perfect row, pointing away from the viewer.
Indy Car Layout
When F1 gave up on Las Vegas, the Indy Cars gave it a shot for two years. You would think that the local designers might start over, but they just took the old layout, and created a new straight, linking across from turns 1 to 6 to 10. If anything this was worse than before, as the cars were always in traffic.
The location of the circuit, just northeast of where Flamingo Road crosses I-15, is now two high-rise hotel room towers, a large patio with multiple swimming pools, a 12,000 seat sports arena (used primarily for boxing), and a multi-level parking garage.
The following is a list of Formula One World Championship events held at the Caesars Palace circuit:
|Year||Event||Winning Driver||Winning Constructor|
|1981||1981 Caesars Palace Grand Prix||Alan Jones||Williams-Ford|
|1982||1982 Caesars Palace Grand Prix||Michele Alboreto||Tyrrell-Ford|
|V T E||Caesars Palace Grand Prix / Las Vegas Grand Prix|
|Circuits||Caesars Palace (1981–1982)|
|Races (Caesars Palace GP)||1981 • 1982|
|See Also||United States Grand Prix • United States Grand Prix West • Indianapolis 500 • Detroit Grand Prix • Dallas Grand Prix • Questor Grand Prix • Miami Grand Prix|
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