I thought it might be interesting to you all to share my experience as an Intervention Marshal for the 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix. Apologies for the delay in presenting this summary which is primarily well captioned images and a brief racing fan bio.
I have been a racing fan all my life. I remember going to dirt track races at Ascot and drag races at Orange County International Raceway as a kid. I went to F1 races at Long Beach, Ceasar’s Palace, and COTA. I started flagging at Long Beach for IndyCar and IMSA races and the two Formula E races. I have continued flagging in Florida for IMSA (and other organization) races including this years Rolex 24 Hrs.
I have family in the Las Vegas area and they were the ones who sent me the application link for the LVGP. You could apply for any of three positions, providing your order of preference. The options were flag marshal, intervention marshal (I had no idea what that was at the time), and hospitality. I listed my preferences in the above order, providing my relevant experience. I passed the first gate and the subsequent gates which included a background check. The final step was to sign an independent contractor contract as a, surprise, intervention marshal. At that point I was thinking track janitor, which turned out to be an accurate assessment.
This blurb will be in three parts, given the image-per-post limit.
Part 1 of 3
The Luxor was the staging ground for volunteer staging, meetings, feeding, etc. It is gaudy, but distinctive. From my vantage point the hotel did a great job hosting the group. The lunch buffets provided everyday were very tasty.
This is the gear received after registration. It includes the clear backpack for jamming your stuff in, worker ID, worker gear like the coveralls, bib, helmet, gloves, and heavy jacket, and nice event gear. The coveralls were returned at the end of the event weekend. Many warnings were sent about wearing clothes under the coveralls on race day because the FIA gets those back along with the gloves and helmet.
A key part of Wednesday’s training was car extraction, held a short walk from the Luxor and randomly observed by our own loki. The goal was to demonstrate the extraction process and to get the individual teams (lift drivers and IMs) used to working together. There was much angst, however, when a survey was taken of those who had no prior experience with the process because a majority of hands, myself included, were raised. Teams went by turn starting with the first. There was a time limit to the training and they never got to my team since we were at the last turn. Some might be interested in the car used for training, an F4 chassis, but more so, the name of the driver, Sebastian Wheldon.
This is the track map we used, I think we can agree the track was well covered. Note the 31 car recovery vehicles available. My location was MP 17.4, before the exit of Turn 17, across from pit in. That looked promising…
Here are the volunteers ready for action on Thursday. Over 500 people, including communications and scrutineers. It looks like a traffic cone convention.
Thursday was the first day of formal track activities. After a briefing at 3:30pm, we scurried off to our group-specific buses where we hurried up and waited, and then crawled to the track, because traffic. There was a light rain so the scenery was urbanly gorgeous at night with the reflections and light. This is the view from our turn. I struck it rich.
This is the view in the other direction, from the middle of the track, because I could be there. The intersection was Koval and Harmon.
Exciting turns get video. Here is the broadcast video man setting up for the night. Not shown in this pic are the four microphones that were added. It was fascinating watching him work, accurately tracking the cars (ballet style) through the best location on the track.
Artsy shot of the Turn 1 runoff area.
This is a typical view from the bus while we were taken to our stations. Chaos, but apparently in control. The course was being constructed on ingress, deconstructed on egress.