Coordinates: 36°07′1″N 115°10′30″W / 36.11694°N 115.17500°W / 36.11694; -115.17500

The Caesars Palace Grand Prix was a car race held in Las Vegas between 1981 and 1984. For the first two years, the race was part of the Formula One World Championship, before becoming a round of the CART series in 1983. Nissan/Datsun was a presenting sponsor of both races.[1] The temporary motor circuit used for the event is commonly referred to as the "Caesars Palace car park" by the media, as a result of its location.[2][3][4]


Derek Warwick (Toleman TG182 Hart) at Las Vegas in 1982.

There had been Can-Am races at the Stardust International Raceway in the mid to late 1960s, but that circuit was bought by developers and then demolished in 1970. The first race was originally supposed to take place as the last race of the 1980 season on November 2, 4 weeks after the US Grand Prix at Watkins Glen. But when Watkins Glen went off the schedule after 1980, the Caesars' Palace Grand Prix gained importance, and more effort was put forth by Bernie Ecclestone and others to make sure this Las Vegas race went ahead. The new race ended the year, whereas Long Beach, only 300 mi (480 km) away, started it. But Las Vegas was not as popular among the drivers[who?] as Long Beach, primarily because of its flat, repetitive nature of the circuit, its parking-lot location and Las Vegas itself. It has also been described as one of the worst circuits Formula One has ever visited.[5]

The track was laid out in the parking lot of the Caesars Palace hotel and was set up for a temporary circuit. Wide enough for overtaking, it provided ample run-off areas filled with sand and had a surface that was as smooth as glass. Its counter-clockwise direction, however, put a tremendous strain on the drivers' necks. When Nelson Piquet clinched his first World Championship by finishing fifth in 1981, it took him 15 minutes to recover from heat exhaustion after barely making it to the finish. The 1982 race, held in intense heat — another unpleasant feature of this race — was won by Michele Alboreto in a Tyrrell, but that was the end of Formula One racing in Las Vegas, since the races had drawn only tiny crowds and the 1981 race turned out to be a huge loss for the hotel.

Following the withdrawal of Formula One, the event was assumed by CART for 1983 and 1984. The circuit was modified with turns 1, 6, and 10 connected in a continuous straight, producing a flat 1.125 mi (1.811 km) distorted oval. The two races were contested over 178 laps, a distance of 200.25 mi (322.27 km).[6][7][8] For the 1984 running, the exit of the final corner was widened, increasing lap speeds by around 7 mph from the previous year.[9][unreliable source?] Following the 1984 race, the circuit disappeared from the calendar, with the location now covered with urban development (namely, the Forum Shops at Caesars and the Mirage).

Formula One is due to return to Las Vegas in November 2023, with the Las Vegas Grand Prix forming part of the 2023 World Championship.[10]

Winners of the Caesars Palace Grand Prix

A pink background indicates an event which was not part of the Formula One World Championship.

FIA Formula One World Championship history
Year Driver Constructor Location Report
1981 Australia Alan Jones Williams-Ford Caesars Palace, Las Vegas Report
1982 Italy Michele Alboreto Tyrrell-Ford Report
Can-Am Series history
Year Date Winning driver Car Team
1981 October 16 United States Danny Sullivan[12] Frissbee-Chevrolet Garvin Brown Racing
1982 September 26 United States Danny Sullivan[13] March 827-Chevrolet Newman/Budweiser
CART Indy Car history
Year Date Winning driver Car Team
1983 October 8 United States Mario Andretti Lola-Cosworth Newman/Haas Racing[7]
1984 November 10 United States Tom Sneva March-Cosworth Mayer Motor Racing[8]
Trans-Am Series history
Year Date Winning driver Car Team
1983 October 8 United States Willy T. Ribbs Chevrolet Camaro DeAtley Motorsports[14]
1984 November 11 United States Tom Gloy Mercury Capri Tom Gloy Racing[15]

Lap records

The official race lap records at the Caesars Palace Grand Prix are listed as:

Category Time Driver Vehicle Date
Grand Prix Circuit: 3.650 km (1981–1982)
F1 1:19.639 Michele Alboreto Tyrrell 011 1982 Caesars Palace Grand Prix
Can-Am 1:26.025[16] Danny Sullivan Frissbee GR2 1981 Caeasers Palace Can-Am round
Modified "Oval": 1.811 km (1983–1984)[17]
CART (qualifying) 32.952 Danny Sullivan Lola T800 1984 Caesars Palace Grand Prix
Trans-Am 38.000[18] Tom Gloy Mercury Capri 1984 Caeasers Palace Trans-Am round
CART 42.300[19] Tom Sneva March 84C 1984 Caesars Palace Grand Prix
Stock car racing (qualifying) 42.580[20] Ron Eaton Buick Regal 1983 Coors 200
Stock car racing 1:13.051[21] Jim Robinson Oldsmobile Cutlass 1983 Coors 200

See also


  1. ^ Salmans, Sandra (19 August 1982). "Advertising – Nissan Promotion". Retrieved 16 November 2012.
  2. ^ "The greatest Formula 1 title showdowns - part four". Autosport. 11 July 2017. Retrieved 15 September 2022.
  3. ^ Sylt, Christian (17 October 2014). "F1 plans trip to Las Vegas for grand prix on The Strip". The Independent. Retrieved 15 September 2022.
  4. ^ Wood, Will (18 December 2021). "Which was F1's best down-to-the-wire title fight?". Racefans. Retrieved 15 September 2022.
  5. ^ "Ten worst... F1 tracks". F1 Fanatic. 4 October 2007. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
  6. ^ "Caeser's Palace". 8 October 1983. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
  7. ^ a b "1983 Caesars Palace Grand Prix III". 8 October 1983. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
  8. ^ a b "1984 Caesars Palace Grand Prix IV". 11 November 1984. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
  9. ^ "1983 CART Las Vegas Grand Prix intro". YouTube. 31 May 2010. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  10. ^ "Las Vegas to host Formula 1 night race from 2023". Formula 1. 30 March 2022. Retrieved 30 March 2022.
  11. ^ "Las Vegas GP". ChicaneF1. Retrieved 14 September 2021.
  12. ^ "Caesars Palace, 16 Oct 1981 « Single-seater Can-Am «".
  13. ^ "Caesars Palace, 26 Sep 1982 « Single-seater Can-Am «".
  14. ^ "Trans-Am Caesars Palace 1983". Racing Sports Cars. Archived from the original on 2009-11-18. Retrieved 14 September 2021.
  15. ^ "Trans-Am Caesars Palace 1984". Racing Sports Cars. Archived from the original on 2021-09-14. Retrieved 14 September 2021.
  16. ^ "Can-Am Challenge Race Caesars Palace, 16 Oct 1981". Retrieved 24 May 2022.
  17. ^ "Caesers Palace". Retrieved 24 May 2022.
  18. ^ "Trans-Am Ceasers Palace 1984". Retrieved 24 May 2022.
  19. ^ "1984 CAESARS PALACE GRAND PRIX IV". Retrieved 24 May 2022.
  20. ^ "1983 COORS 200". Retrieved 24 May 2022.
  21. ^ "1983 COORS 200". Retrieved 24 May 2022.

External links