This coming weekend is Memorial Day here in the US. For most Americans, this means a 3-day weekend, with cookouts, and on Sunday, the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca Cola 600 NASCAR race in Charlotte, NC.
But for Formula 1 fans, this weekend marks probably the most famous race, and the one race on every fan’s bucket list – the Formula 1 Grand Prix of Monte Carlo. This is probably the best known Formula 1 race to most Americans, but it just one of 21 races that take place over the entire world – from Australia, to the Middle East, Europe, and both the North and South American Continents.
Admittedly, this race venue is probably the least popular for most Americans. Because of the global locations, watching this race live means watching it at very strange times. Most of the European races start at 8:00 AM Eastern Standard time. Watching the races in the Pacific area (Australia, Singapore, etc) means getting up in the late hours of Saturday night/Sunday morning). There has not been an American driver on the circuit for quite some time, although there is an American racing team – the Haas racing team, which is associated with the NASCAR Stewart-Haas Racing group. The cars are also different – instead of Chevrolets, Toyotas, Hondas or Fords, the cars are made by Mercedes, McLaren, Ferrari, and Renault. In the past, there were also cars from BMW, Jaguar and Honda. And the tracks are different – no ovals. They are run on road courses or on city streets.
But for me, what makes these races so interesting are all of these things. Plus, the cars are the ultimate in engineering. They are not only fast, but that also have to be aerodynamic and extremely stable. I saw my first race in 1982 at the German Grand Prix in Hockenheim. I was immediately hooked on the sport. Since then, I have been to the US Grand Prix when it was held at the Indianapolis Speedway, and just 2 years ago we went to the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
These races are not just a two-hour event. They span 3-4 days and include several races each day. There are typically races for different classes and types of cars. For example, at the British Grand Prix, we saw a Porsche race, and in Indianapolis we saw races for both Porsche and Ferrari. There is usually a parade of vintage race cars, exhibits and demonstrations, and plenty of food and drink. Depending on your admission, you may also be able to get into the Paddock area to see the teams and cars up close.
Getting to and from a race can take some planning. For instance, when we went to Silverstone, we were staying in London. The trip required getting to the Kings Cross train station in London, then taking a 40-minute train ride to Milton Keynes. From there, we took a shuttle bus to the track. Getting to the track by car would have been impossible. But, because we had all of this planned out in advance, our trip to the race went off without a hitch. We left our hotel at about 7:00 that morning, and were back by 8:00 PM that evening.
For those of you out there who love this type of racing, going to one or more of these races is a must. You will not be disappointed.
To plan your trip, I am here to arrange everything for you. Packages are available to see the races from any vantage point, including sky boxes, and can include private events before and after the race. I will also handle your air travel and accommodations.
When you are ready to plan your trip, you can contact me at the following:
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Patrick McGill is a full-service travel agent located in North Carolina, but assisting clients worldwide.