Here’s a secret: The most glamorous and prestigious racing event in the world, the Monaco Grand Prix… has a free day.
It’s not publicized and even many locals don’t know about it, but the Friday before the race is always free, with all of the same noise, smells, vibrations, sensations, crashes, and excitement… but no ticket required.
Okay, you won’t see any Formula One‘s on the free day, but you will see the Porsche Supercup as well as GP2‘s.
There are two races being held Friday morning, May 25th:
- 9:45-10:15am Porsche Supercup Qualifying Trials
- 10:50-11:55am The first race of the GP2 Series
Take your earplugs: the GP2 has 42 breakneck laps roaring through the just-over-two-mile-long course. In 2010, the fastest lap of the weekend was 1 minute 15 seconds. Try out different seats and vantage points, so if you ever do buy a ticket, you’ll know where you want to be.
After the races, go have lunch. The streets reopen to the public at around 2pm, and then you are free to walk along the track and even peek into the pits… and while you’re at it, take a stroll on the docks to check out the mega-yachts in for the races.
While exploring the town, keep your eyes open: many of the drivers have apartments in Monaco, and with the Cannes Film Festival just down the coast, the Principality will be filled with celebrity spectators… Here is the race schedule from the Monaco Automobile Club, a map of the course and the stands, and a link to one of the many ticketing sites. (Note that there are no tickets showing for Friday… because it’s free!)
Photo credit: Pat Guiney, licensed under Creative Commons.
Check out this great clip of James Garner racing the course in the classic 1966 film Grand Prix:
Related Blog Post: What, you don’t know about the Nice Grand Prix?