CIRCUITS: LAS VEGAS

Name: Las Vegas

The opening of Bugsy Siegel's Flamingo Hotel just after World War II marked the start of the extraordinary story of Las Vegas. Situated out in the desert to the south of the town of Las Vegas, the new casino began a trend and was followed by the Desert Inn, the Sands, the Riviera and Tropicana casinos. In the mid-1960s Howards Hughes moved to Las Vegas and began buying up the Mob-owned casinos and he was joined by investment guru Kirk Kerkorian. The town was transformed by bigger and more glittering casinos but the image of Mafia connections remained and in an effort to give the city a better image it was decided to hold a Grand Prix in the vast parking lots next to the Caesar's Palace casino. This hosted the World Championship showdown of 1981 with Carlos Reutemann and Nelson Piquet bidding for the title. Alan Jones won the race and Piquet the title. The 1982 race was won by Michele Alboreto in a Tyrrell but that was end of F1 racing in Las Vegas as the races had drawn only tiny crowds.

In the 1990s there was a serious attempt to revive a race in Las Vegas but it proved to be impossible to get all the casinos to agree and although there were later plans for a permanent circuit just south of the famous Strip, these faded when it was announced that the United States GP was going to be held at Indianapolis in 2000.

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