It’s that time of the year again…Formula E Racing is coming to town!

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It’s that time of the year again…Formula E Racing is coming to town! After a successful debut in 2015, Formula E racing is back in Long Beach with a weekend of amazing celebrations, dinners and parties. The best part of this event is that it is organized by one of my best friends: Giorgio Veroni, who happens to be married to my best friend Tamara Beckwith; so it’s really a full on “Best friends” extravaganza. These 2 are so much fun and they definitely have made “Jet setting” an art form of their own; a really, really fun time is always guaranteed with this couple that I have know for almost 3 decades!

The weekend marathon starts Friday night with a private dinner at Chateau Marmont, probably the coolest hotel and restaurant in LA. Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag and Giorgio Veroni are hosting a small cocktail party followed by dinner for 30 close friends. The invited group includes the usual suspects, celebrities, some fashionable Euros and a little royalty with the Duchess of York. One hour goes by in second catching up with Tamara Beckwith, super model Claudia Mason, jeweler designer Alice Evans Gruffudd and her adorable husband Ioan Gruffudd, the talented Welsh actor; all old friends of mine whom I haven’t seen in a while. Also in the group is the nutty Sara Ferguson, the Duchess of York, who is always hilarious and so very entertaining.

 

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Claudia Mason and Alice Evans Gruffudd

 

The duchess is seated next to me at the dinner table along with Tamara on the other side; needless to say, the evening is a hoot and a holler; these 2 broads are just too much fun!!! We are all trying very hard not to get too carried away tonight and save ourselves for tomorrow’s race day and then the big closing party at Chateau Marmont for 500 guests. By dessert time, both the Duchess and myself are ready to take our leave; so after our goodbyes, we make our way through the very popular and sceney outdoor terrace of Chateau Marmont and on to our waiting Uber rides.

 

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Robert Kass with Sara Ferguson, the Duchess of York, sporting matching rings by Alice Evans Gruffudd

 

It’s Saturday morning and I’m ready for some action! My race partner today is the gorgeous model: Celesta Hodge, who picks me up at 12 noon in her new, flashy, red Ferrari (how appropriate for this day). After getting lost 7 times on the way to Long Beach (she’s gorgeous with a gorgeous car…but she can’t drive for the life of her!!!), we finally arrive to our destination. It’s a beautiful day and the temperature is perfect compared to the sweltering heat of last year’s race. Giorgio has kindly arranged for some VIP passes for me and Celesta, so we make our way to the Formula E, E-MOTION Club, where all our friends are surely getting drunk on Rosée before the races start.

 

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My Formula E partner in crime: Celesta Hodge. I don’t know what she did to this photo but we look like we just escaped Madame Tussauds wax museum

 

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Entrance to the VIP area: Emotion Formula E Club

 

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My VIP badge…as one does!

 

After socializing for an hour, Giorgio invites a group of us to visit the “Grid”, meaning, the actual race course where all the race cars are parked and ready to go. Visiting the “Grid” is a big deal in the racing world, only a selected few get the chance to see the cars upfront and talk to the drivers. Alright…it’s almost time for the race to start so we are all ushers back to the VIP area stands to witness the famous racing line: “Gentlemen, please start your engine!!!”. The one thing that you will immediately notice at a Formula E race is the noise factor of the lack of. Electric engines are silent and all you hear is a high pitch hiss every time the cars pass in front of you; it takes a little getting used too, specially after experiencing Formula 1 races where the sound of the engines is deathining and thrilling at the same time.

 

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Lady Victoria Harvey, Tamara Beckwith, Giorgio Veroni,  Claudia Mason and Robert Kass

 

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The Michelin Man giving me the thumbs up

 

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On the Grid with the Andretti team

 

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BMW’s electric Pace Car

 

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Being silly as usual

 

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The Glamour Crew: Tamara Beckwith, Giorgio Veroni, the Duchess of York, Claudia Mason and Lady Victoria Harvey

 

The race cars have to go around the track 45 times to reach the end, but after 20 laps I’m ready to go! Not very sportsmanship of me, but I really want to go back home and get a little downtime before getting ready for the big party at Chateau Marmont. Tonight I have 2 very special dates I’m taking with me: my BFF Loree Rodkin and the beautiful Melanie Griffith.

 

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Emotion’s viewing bleachers

 

It’s show time and I’m all dolled up for tonight’s event. Once again, the party is taking place at Chateau Marmont; there is a sit-down dinner for 200 people, some speeches from the organizers and the winner of the race and the after party for an additional 200 guests. By the time I arrive with my girls, the party is in full swing; among the many guests, you can spot some familiar faces like Leonardo di Caprio, a big supporter of the electric car movement, Adrien “Brooding” Brody, Victoria’s Secret model Irina Shayk, supermodel Elaine Irwin, my old friend Misha Barton, Demi Moore and so on. For dinner I’m seated between my two beautiful dates: Loree Rodkin and Melanie Griffith and across from me is Erica Pelosini, the queen of the “Duck face” pose on Instagram along with some handsome Euro hipsters. It’s a lovely combination of Hollywood people, Euro fashionistas, sportsmen, society and our royal favorite: the Duchess of York. It’s a really fun dinner with very interesting people to meet. After what seems like hours, the after party is bursting in the seams with a whole slew of new faces arriving for the second part of the evening. It’s now past 1am, I’m a little tipsy but mostly exhausted from a long day…it’s time to get out of here and dive in my lovely California King, huge bed…alone!

 

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Giorgio Veroni and Tamara Beckwith. Photo credit Tamara Beckwith

 

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Irina Shayk with Spanish Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag. Photo credit: Tamara Beckwith

 

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Mischa Barton with Nelson Piquet Jr, Winner of the Race. Photo credit: Tamara Beckwith

 

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Robert Kass, Melanie Griffith and Loree Rodkin

 

It’s ben such an amazing weekend; thank you so much Giorgio and Tamara, you sure know how to throw a party…I love you guys!!! As Tamara would say: “Ciaoyee for nowyee”!

Formula E USA debut: Long Beach California

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I’m a big fan of Formula 1 Racing so when my dear friend Giorgio Veroni told me a few years ago that he was getting involved in the new Electric racing car business, I was intrigued. Through the years I learned more and more about Formula E Racing from Giorgio and after its world debut in Beijing last year (which sadly, I was not able to attend), Formula E has arrived in Long Beach California!!!! (http://www.fiaformulae.com)

I haven’t been in Long Beach since I was tricked into visiting the Queen Mary 20 years ago, when I just moved to LA from Switzerland. It was so boring I wanted to stick needles in my eyes…let it sink!!! The second time I got tricked into going to Long Beach, it was to board a helicopter to the: “Ohhh sooo exiting island of Catalina”…equally as uneventful as the old, crusty boat. I swore I would never go back to Long Beach, but today, I’m exited and open minded. I’m so curios to experience Formula E  (as in electric my dear possums!) But most of all, I’m thrilled to spend some time with the man of the hour: Giorgio Veroni and his extraordinary wife Tamara Beckwith, which happens to be one of my best friends for many, many years. I get picked up at 11am by my stunning blonde date: Celesta Hodge; who arrives to my home in her shiny Audi R8 (a perfect choice for this day…BTW). The 45 minutes ride turns into just 20 minutes thanks to Celesta’s diabolic driving skills; I just sank my nails into the dashboard and held on for dear life. The event was so well organized and so very chic…as only Giorgio could do! After arrivals we were treated to a lovely luncheon under a tent in 120 degrees fahrenheit and soon after we got to visit the pits where all the different teams hold their racing cars. We got to talk to the different team sponsors and drivers…all of which gorgeous (must be a pre-requisite to be a race car driver)! After a few hours of cocktails and pleasantries  we are ready for the race. We are ushered to the “Emotion” private VIP bleacher right at the start line and off they go!!!! The experience is just as intense as formula 1, minus the deafening sound of combustable engines. I will say, it took a little time to adjust to the super quiet electric cars, but eventually it was a thrill!!!! The handsome Brazilian Nelson Piquet with The China Racing Team won the race after just under an hour and the French Jean Eric Vergne came in second for the Andretti Race team.

 

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The Invite

 

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Robert Kass and the girls: Tamara Beckwith Veroni, Lady Victoria Harvey, Celesta Hodge and Vivi Veroni

 

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In the Renault Pit

 

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Lawrence Bender, Celesta Hodge and Tommy Alastra with friend

 

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The Virgin Pit (sounds inappropriate)

 

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On the grid before the race starts

 

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With my darling Tamara Beckwith Veroni and the beautiful Vivi Veroni

 

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My gorgeous blond date Celesta Hodge

 

The second part of this special day is the sit-down dinner Gala and after party at the iconic Chateau Marmont (www.chateaumarmont.com) in West Hollywood…definitely more up my alley! Just enough time to go back home, recover from the 15 champagne glasses and 1 cheese square I had for lunch and off I go! The Chateau Marmont is an LA landmark; a symbol of coolness, debauchery, chicness and lots of fun… an absolute celebrity mecca. Don’t bother trying it out…you can’t get in unless you’re famous, super rich or devastatingly gorgeous (don’t ask me how I get in…). The evening starts off with cocktails in the medieval style main lobby of the hotel. The room is filled with well dressed beautiful people (must be European) and the customary list of celebrities, among which: the always brooding Adrian Brody, Leonardo di Caprio, who is a major voice for 0 emission transportation and…me!

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The lobby of the Chateau Marmont

 

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Beautiful outdoor dining

 

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The “Rush” table

 

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My table with both #1 and #2 winners of the race: Piquet and Virgne

 

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With my “Hermano” Eugenio Lopez and snack

 

Finally dinner is served! All the large tables were named after a racing movie such as: Rush, Fast and furious…you get the shtick! I was seated at Giorgio and Tamara’s table with both the winner of the race Roland Piquet and the runner up Jean-Eric Vargne and his beautiful girlfriend who was next to me. I spent the entire dinner talking to the Swedish beauty, who’s name escapes me, until I started getting dirty looks from her French boyfriend. I re-directed my focus to the lovely Anna Mathews, seated across from me, to avoid a global scandal. Around midnight, dinner ends and the after party begins; this is when I usually start shining, but sadly, after being ON since 11AM, I was just out of fuel!!! The new round of exited guests started arriving, I waited for my dear friend Eugenio Lopez, hung out a little and finally staggered out of the party in hopes to reach my bed without passing out on the way from complete exhaustion. The next day was Easter Sunday and, unlike Jesus, I was not able to resurrect…I was in bed the whole day!