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.
Robert Kass and the girls: Tamara Beckwith Veroni, Lady Victoria Harvey, Celesta Hodge and Vivi Veroni
In the Renault Pit
Lawrence Bender, Celesta Hodge and Tommy Alastra with friend
The Virgin Pit (sounds inappropriate)
On the grid before the race starts
With my darling Tamara Beckwith Veroni and the beautiful Vivi Veroni
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!
The lobby of the Chateau Marmont
Beautiful outdoor dining
The “Rush” table
My table with both #1 and #2 winners of the race: Piquet and Virgne
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!