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Kaitlin’s Vegas Diary - 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix Off Track

Kaitlin Tucci
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The FanAmp Team attended the Las Vegas Grand Prix this year - here's how our off-track experience went!

Racing isn’t the only part of traveling to a Formula 1 race that matters to most fans - myself included. When visiting a new city or country, the events off the track and ambiance of the host city can set the tone for the entire weekend.

This year was the first year that I’ve had the opportunity to attend F1 races, and as a Las Vegas native, attending my ‘home race’ was absolutely on the bucket list. My team at FanAmp - the global hub for F1 fans to connect, chat, follow news, and more -  partnered with Ellis Island Hotel & Casino to join their Turn 4 Experience for the inaugural Grand Prix. After celebrating with fans in Montreal and at Austin this year, I eagerly anticipated the glamor, controlled chaos, and novelty of Las Vegas during its first grand prix weekend.


Williams Pop-up

New York New York Williams Pop Up

I attended the Williams Pop-up in Austin at the US Grand Prix, and decided to compare this experience in Vegas. What new things would Williams bring to the table? The answer was completely different activations! 

The Williams Pop-up was located at the New York-New York Hotel & Casino on the far end of Las Vegas Boulevard (just off the track) in their ‘Brooklyn Bridge Park’ just in front of the casino. The pop-up was very easy to access whether directly through the New York-New York or by crossing the pedestrian walkway from the MGM Grand. Compared to Austin’s pop-up, the open air space brought a very bright and welcoming feel to the atmosphere. I was also able to bring my mom to her first-ever F1 related event which was a very special experience for both of us. 

The pop-up itself was not very busy (as this was multiple days before the actual Grand Prix weekend), but there were completely different sponsors present than were in Austin. We were able to sample perfumes from Kilian Paris, enter a competition to win a monitor from Kraken, drive sims, test our reflexes, check out the Williams Heritage Collection and shop for merchandise. We even won free hats and water bottles from Kraken for doing a quick interview with their team. While the merchandise was similar prices to Austin, there was a MUCH smaller selection with only a few racks of clothing. However, with more activations and the ambiance of the space, I definitely preferred the Las Vegas pop-up. 


The Wynn Las Vegas McLaren Pop-up 

Wynn Las Vegas McLaren Pop-up

After picking up some friends from the Airport, we decided to head to the Strip to begin exploring some of the pop-ups that opened early in the race week to beat the crowds once Thursday hit. Unintentionally, we walked into the Wynn Hotel right into a stunning McLaren Pop-up store and experience.

Before Tuesday, I’m not certain that I had seen a McLaren road-car in person, but this pop-up had 4 stunning McLaren’s front and center. As my mom said, “someone buy me the gold one”... (only half-kidding). While the cars were stunning, the memorabilia for sale was even MORE exciting. From Lewis Hamilton’s race-worn helmet AND race suit, to race suits signed by Lando Norris, Oscar Piastri, Jenson Button, and Ayrton Senna, this experience was McLaren F1 ‘heaven’ for racing fans. As with every other pop-up there were also race simulators and special McLaren merchandise for sale including Las Vegas Grand Prix and 60th anniversary edition jerseys, sweatshirts, and duffel bags. Prices for these items ranged from $40 for a limited edition hat to nearly $500 for the duffel bag.

Caesar’s Palace Forum Shops 

Caesars Palace McLaren Shops

After leaving the Wynn, we intended to just explore the different shopping areas in Las Vegas with hopes of stumbling across other F1-themed experiences that were open this early in the week. While walking through the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace we stumbled across not just one but TWO more McLaren experiences. 

The Tumi Store and Culture Kings were both absolutely decked out in McLaren F1 gear, simulators, and both had Lando Norris appearances scheduled for that evening. While we did not stay for the Lando appearances - if you’re traveling to the Las Vegas Grand Prix in the future, keep an eye out for opportunities like this!


Once Wednesday rolled around, the pop-ups that my friends and I were most anticipating finally opened. The Wynn Las Vegas slowly became our hub for the weekend as we headed back for a second day to check out both of Lewis Hamilton’s pop-ups. 

The Wynn Las Vegas Plus44 Pop-Up Shop

First, we stopped by the Plus44 shop that was located just down the hallway from the McLaren Pop-up that we attended on Tuesday. There was a line of about 20 people in front of us which only took 5 minutes to get through (note that throughout the weekend, the line grew substantially and took well over an hour at points). 

The Plus44 clothing in the pop-up was bright, colorful, fun and included a slew of designs from Las Vegas exclusive designs to standard Plus 44 branding and Takashi Murakami designs. A majority of the merchandise was for colder weather including STUNNING bombers and leather jackets (I had nowhere to store merch before we headed to track or I would’ve purchased everything). Most of the merchandise was extremely expensive but high quality, so worth an investment!

*Note: Lewis announced a last minute appearance at the store Saturday pre-race, so keep an eye out for this in future years!*

The Wynn Las Vegas Almave Tasting

Wynn Almave Tasting

After checking out the Plus44 store, we decided to head over to try Lewis’ new non-alcoholic tequila, Almave. We learned that our experience at the Almave pop-up was particularly unique compared to later in the weekend, so keep in mind that many experiences can be different day-to day.

The West Lounge of the Wynn was transformed into an Almave tasting room with bottles on display, cocktails flowing, and shots at the bar. I have never tried a non-alcoholic spirit before, let alone in shot form. However, the cocktails that they chose to serve were DIVINE. We were provided a selection of Almave Margaritas, Espresso Martinis, Palomas and Old Fashioned’s all for free. Not only was the first round free, but they brought us each 2 more rounds so that we could review all of the cocktails. Each cocktail also came with garnishes such as gold covered coffee beans.

I was absolutely blown away by the quality of Almave and the hospitality of the staff, but I did hear on other days that drinks were NOT free. (So, thanks, Sir Lewis for the special treatment!)

*Note: Lewis announced a last minute appearance at the store Thursday pre-Free Practice, so keep an eye out for this in future years!*


With Thursday being the first day of the actual race weekend, we spent the day preparing and showing up to Ellis Island early. If you want to read more, check out my on track diary from the Turn 4 Experience at Ellis Island.


Ferrari Movie Screening

Wynn Ferrari Movie Premere

This day is my Roman Empire. Earlier in the week, we came across an ad for tickets to the premiere of the Ferrari Movie by Michael Mann (Starring Adam Driver, Penelope Cruz, Patrick Dempsey, and more…). We were lucky enough to confirm our seats for the VERY advanced screening of Ferrari that comes out on Christmas Day, so it was time to head back to… you guessed it… the Wynn.

We entered the stunning Encore Theater that was completely decked out in Ferrari gear, when we spotted Access Hollywood and reporters - very quickly realizing this was an ACTUAL premiere and celebrities could show up. After collecting our free popcorn and soft drinks, we entered the theater and waited for about 20 minutes. Don’t worry I won’t spoil the movie for you, but suffice it to say this was one of the best movies I’ve ever seen (and no, it’s not because I’m a Ferrari fan). The one thing I will spoil, though, is that Patrick Dempsey is indeed the ‘sexiest man alive’ because he was the one who introduced the movie to us! Yes, I cried seeing McDreamy in person!



Go Karting FanAmp

Saturday morning, the FanAmp community met up at Speed Vegas for an unofficial ‘Grand Prix’. Located a quick Uber ride South of the Strip, Speed Vegas offers a plethora of adrenaline-fueled options including go-karting, off-roading, and exotic car rentals. Our group opted for the go-karts and raced around the track at 40+ miles per hour, competing to set the fastest lap time. It was a great way to get out of the hotel during the daytime.

Post-Race Celebrations

Post Race Squad

As with any other race, after the race there were official and non-official parties to attend…. But this is Vegas, so these parties were at world famous nightclubs. As a former local, I’ve spent my fair share of time at clubs like XS and Omnia, but I have NEVER seen the clubs in the state they were in this Saturday night.

Even with promoters and table reservations, most people had to wait 30 minutes to an hour to even get into the club (which doesn’t sound abnormal, but it absolutely is in Las Vegas when on Guest List or at a table). I even saw celebrities who were struggling to get into XS at around 1/1:30 AM. Even worse, once ‘inside’ it was so crowded that people were stuck in the pool area for HOURS until Calvin Harris was off stage and Diplo came on. Just know if going to official Las Vegas afterparties, your club experience may not be all that it’s chalked up to be. 

However, on our way out we did spot a few drivers on their way in at around 4AM, so your chances of partying with an F1 Driver are decent if you stick it out to the wee hours of the night.

*Tip for those attending future races* many DJs and artists will announce last minute race parties at various venues in major cities after the race, so keep your eyes on FanAmp and social media!

Overall Ambiance

Show Cars in Casinos

MGM and Wynn Show Cars

Throughout the week and weekend there were a number of show cars placed throughout casinos including a number in MGM Grand, the Wynn, Virgin Hotels, and the Venetian. Although show cars are not unique to Las Vegas, the sheer number in nearly every hotel definitely was.

Virgin and Alfa Romeo Show Cars

Celebrity Spotting

Another thing to note throughout the weekend was the sheer number of celebrities that attended the race. Obviously we could see that our favorite celebrities were attending on social media, but I did not expect to see upwards of 10 MAJOR celebrities or sit next to Falcon (aka the next Captain America) for my entire lunch on Saturday. 

*While celebrity spotting at the Las Vegas Grand Prix is bound to always be plentiful, I would be remiss to not beg for respect for anyone you see if choosing to attend. I personally, will never approach a celebrity for a picture especially while they’re eating, for example.*


All in all, I would say that the off-track ambiance of Las Vegas lived up to the level of chaos and glamor that I initially expected. Growing up experiencing large events in Las Vegas there were many things that I expected such as celebrity spotting and copious amounts of advertising for teams.

One HUGE piece of advice I would give to anyone attending the Las Vegas Grand Prix in the future is that you CAN NOT do everything; there are too many pop-ups, experiences, and parties. It’s very important to prioritize what is important to you and go to those events and experiences. Compared to Texas and Montreal, Vegas definitely takes the cake for “cool things to do” and you will never be bored, but I’d personally arrive early to comfortably experience everything.

If you want to check out our on track experience at Turn 4 at Ellis Island check out my Travel Diary - On Track.

Want more information about seating options from other fans? Check out our FanTakes article and join the community discussion on the app.

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