May 29, 2024

Mary and Troy Trimble, Formula One fans from the Pacific Northwest, pushed the accelerator to the floor this week for the Las Vegas Grand Prix.

They didn’t just want to experience the event from the grandstands, a pricey endeavor in its own right. No, they paid about $12,000 each to watch the three-day race in luxury.

The couple from Spokane, Wash., were among the 3,600 people who bought sold-out passes to the Fountain Club at the Bellagio Hotel & Casino, an extravagant two-level structure built over the resort’s famed dancing fountains and long as three football fields.

“We got into this in the last two years, mostly because of the Netflix show, ‘Drive to Survive,’” said Troy Trimble, a software engineer at Google. “We were considering going to Austin [Texas] because they have the race out there every year, but when we found out they were having this in Vegas we were set to go.

“We saved up, made it our big expenditure for this year, and we’re psyched to see how they’re going to do it.”

The winner's stage at the Bellagio Fountain Club on the Las Vegas Strip.

The winner’s stage at the Bellagio Fountain Club on the Las Vegas Strip where the top three finishers of the Formula One Las Vegas Grand Prix will be given a flashy congratulations before heading to the podium.

(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

The Fountain Club is a temporary structure with a permanent feel, even though the Bellagio will begin deconstructing it as soon as the F1 race ends, once again revealing the popular fountains to the general public. Although resort representatives declined to specify how much was spent on the structure, the investment clearly is considerable, with the plan being to rebuild the structure for the race on an annual basis. There is currently a three-year commitment for the race, but plans are for F1 to stay for at least a decade.

“We wanted to show the international world what Vegas felt like,” said Andrew Lanzino, vice president of citywide events for MGM Resorts. “There’s no place anywhere around this circuit where you feel like you’re in Vegas more than this rooftop. We wanted to make sure fans didn’t feel like this was a temporary space.”

The massive structure includes elevators and kitchens that are resupplied by food and drinks ferried across the lake by boat.

On the lower floor is an upscale restaurant featuring 16 famous chefs and individual food stations, with tables overlooking the Las Vegas Strip, where cars will reach speeds of 200 mph or more. Just outside are hundreds of padded grandstand seats for Fountain Club patrons to watch in open air.

Corbin and Destiny LeGrand pose for a complimentary selfie with their drink from the Shoey Bar at the Bellagio in Las Vegas.

Corbin and Destiny LeGrand pose for a complimentary selfie with their drink from the Shoey Bar at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. Drinking from a shoe is Formula One driver Daniel Ricciardo’s signature celebration.

(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

The roof deck is covered in artificial turf and features bars and chic couches, large open spaces, video screens and portable heaters. There will be all sorts of Vegas entertainment — including appearances by Cirque du Soleil, Blue Man Group and Jabbawockeez — along with a special stage where the top three finishers will be celebrated early Sunday morning at the end of the race, with the fountains and fireworks erupting behind them.

The Trimbles, who brought their French bulldog “Moose” along for the trip, figured the expense was worth it.

“We wanted to see the spectacle,” said Mary Trimble, a retired helicopter pilot. “We figured it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience — or maybe once in 10 years.”

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