Steve Weitman, president of Wynn Las Vegas, is the king of understatement. “We had already started a concours, so when F1 was announced, we figured marrying the concours and F1 would be a good idea,” he said in a recent conversation with Robb Report. “Coming into this, we wanted to be the epicenter.”
By “this”, Weitman is referring to the huge circus that came to town for last weekend’s Las Vegas Grand Prix, and his hotel and casino was very much at the heart of proceedings.
Bookending the 10-day automotive spectacular was the second annual Concours at Wynn Las Vegas—sporting a field of 280 entrants ranging from classic tourers to bygone-era race cars—and the highly anticipated Las Vegas Grand Prix, the penultimate race of the 2023 Formula 1 season. The latter marked the first time the GP returned to Nevada since the Caesars Palace Grand Prix in 1982.
On Saturday, November 11, the 2023 Concours at Wynn Las Vegas comprised both an exhibition—including hypercars, alternative-fuel examples, concept cars, and vehicles with cultural relevance—and a contest of show cars judged across 13 classes. The two standouts were a 1935 Duesenberg SJ and a 1969 Lamborghini Miura S awarded Best of Show for prewar and postwar categories, respectively. Robb Report’s own Dream Machine award went to a 1925 “Round Door” Rolls-Royce Phantom I Aerodynamic Coupe.
The following morning was kicked off by Wynn’s Tour d’Elegance, an out-and-back parade along the Strip that was led by police. The 50-plus cars making up the procession were fronted by Joel Laub’s 1929 Bentley Speed Six, immediately followed by the new and all-electric Rolls-Royce Spectre—the two vehicles providing a striking juxtaposition of British performance and refinement, then and now.
Also part of the multiday programming was Robb Report’s House of Robb activation at Wynn’s Villa Fairway 100. For six days, the location became the nexus of connoisseurship, from classic Rolex watches to fashion consultations from the team at Mr. Porter to samples of cuisine from the likes of Chef Wolfgang Puck and some of the region’s most promising new culinary stars. Interspersed were moderated panels that varied in topic from tech to style trends to collectible cars.
The discussions culminated on November 16 with the Excellence in Motion panel featuring Greg Maffei, CEO of Liberty Media (the company that owns Formula 1), Renee Wilm, the CEO of the Las Vegas Grand Prix, and 2009 Formula 1 champion Jenson Button—all providing insight on what to expect from the impending race and what it took to have it finally come to fruition.
Prior to lining up on the starting grid, though, racers Alex Albon, Pierre Gasly, Carlos Sainz, and Lando Norris were in for a different type of drive altogether as they teamed up with PGA heavy hitters Justin Thomas, Collin Morikawa, Max Homa, and Rickie Fowler for the Netflix Cup at the Wynn Golf Club. The first live sporting event streamed by Netflix saw Sainz and Thomas victorious, though more than a few panned the whole affair as an awkward marketing ploy…
A head-to-head competition of another sort took place on November 17, as auction house RM Sotheby’s gave collectors a chance to take a shot at a few exclusive automobiles showcased at Wynn’s 1,600-seat Awakening theater. Hosted by James Cordon, the sale saw a 2021 McLaren Elva fetch US$1,517,500 (HK$11,824,436), a 2002 Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR Roadster hammer at US$1,765,000 (HK$13,752,562), and Lewis Hamilton’s 2013 Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 W04 crossing the block for a tasty US$18,815,000 (HK$146,603,093).
Elsewhere during the week was a performance by Jay Leno, a preview screening of the Michael Mann film Ferrari (starring Adam Driver, Penélope Cruz, and Patrick Dempsey), and concerts at the Wynn’s XS nightclub that included the Chainsmokers, Swedish House Mafia, and Calvin Harris among others.
Yet the main headliner was Formula 1 and a race that had a global audience unlike any before it. For that act, the Wynn had a variety of accommodation-and-race options. Premier among these were ones that included entry to the Paddock Club, the elite Wynn Grid Club, and a million-dollar deal that availed the buyer to the most rarified access while a three-bedroom duplex (with butler service) served as base camp.
With Formula 1 committing to the city for the next 10 years, Wynn Las Vegas is already looking to tweak its program, having learned a few lessons this time around. “We’re going to decouple [the concours and the F1] for next year,” says Weitman of plans to put some breathing space between the two events. “It’s too much for guests.” Excess in Vegas? Who would’ve guessed?