The group of 10 yachts in the interior of Turns 6, 7 and 8 of Miami Circuit, surrounded by special hard “vinyl” water, prompted a flood of photos and videos captured with Photoshop.
A modified video has gone viral on Twitter, of a man who appears to be jumping into water only to jump off a hard surface, and has now attracted more than three million views.
It was no surprise that fans’ opinion of what Miami did was divided.
Some embraced its exclusivity, as the track attempted to offer something completely different, others were more ruthless about the frenzy of opulence in it all on weekends when ticket prices were aimed at big dollar buyers.
But for Miami GP managing partner Tom Garfinkel, who is vice chairman and CEO of Miami Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium, fans scoffing at what the track has done to the marina isn’t a concern at all.
First, he loves the fact that it means everyone is talking about the Miami GP. But most importantly, he doesn’t see any downside to racing a little laugh and its ability to deliver something unique.
Speaking to Motorsport.com, Garfinkel said, “I guess we don’t take ourselves too seriously. We’re having some fun, right?”
“I think people are enjoying it. I think the people on the deck of those yachts who are watching the race are going to have fun, and I think the people who are kind of making fun of it, I think it’s funny, and cool.
“We don’t take ourselves too seriously. We try to have some fun.”
Photography: John Noble
Garfinkel says the idea for the stadium’s marina came about after plans for the city’s original Miami GP — and the real marina — failed.
“Initially, when we were looking at the city centre, F1 had some ideas about wanting to get shots of the yachts,” he explained.
When we moved here [to the Hard Rock stadium] For a number of reasons, and most importantly because we didn’t think we could have a good downtown racetrack, I told F1 you’d get your yacht footage, you’d get your yacht.
“They looked at me like I was crazy. Then I went back and drew it on the board and said, ‘I want a yacht mooring here, and we’re going to make that happen.'” And that’s what we did. It’s so much fun.”
It is important to understand that a fake yacht is not a piece of furniture that has nothing to do with track alignment that is only meant to make the rink look better on TV.
Instead, they are the focal point of a street of entertainment stalls that form a meeting place for the masses. The marina is located next to a track-side multi-storey yacht club with bars and restaurants, it is also surrounded by a faux beach with deck chairs, games and deck chairs.
So, while around 400 guests will be lucky enough to be able to spend the weekend on the yachts themselves, the entire area around it will be surrounded by thousands of guests celebrating the sunshine and what is on offer.
Photography: John Noble
Sorting out the fake marina wasn’t an easy feat for Miami, as it took 10 months to buy the yachts and get them to the ring.
With permits only allowing yachts to be transported at night, and the track needing special floors to be laid over the circuit so that the track’s surface would not be damaged when they drove to it, the largest yacht took five hours to arrive from Miami Marina to be in place on the circuit.
While the effort may seem overkill, it fits very well with the Miami vibe, which doesn’t do things in half.
But, unlike everything else, Garfinkel is pretty clear about one thing. Doing something like the marina, or the Hard Rock Beach Club with “real” sand at the other end of the track is never justified if they are located next to a track that offers no possibility of a great race.
That’s why the circuit has drawn some enthusiastic reviews from the drivers and seemed like it could present a good spectacle, he believes Miami has gone the extra mile to ensure there’s something special surrounding it.
And judging by the selling-out crowd, who scrambled to get tickets even though they were set at premium prices, the effort seemed well worth it.
“First of all, the first priority was to create a great racetrack,” he said. “So we really believe that if the drivers want to drive on the track, and the teams want to be in the race, that would be great for the fans. So that was the number one priority.
billboard on the water
Photography: Sam Bloxham. motorsports pictures
“Then then, why don’t we make it Miami? Why not bring a piece of Miami culture here to create great fan experiences?”
“If it’s a proper circuit to race, first of all, we can move on from that and do other things to make it great. And that’s what we’re really trying to achieve.”
When asked if he ever expected Marina to have a social media buzz about him, Garfinkel was quick to respond.
“I didn’t know if that was the thing, or the beach club would be the thing with its actual sand, or the platform itself,” he replied.
“But as long as people say we built a great racetrack for great races first, and people came here and had a great time, and then the rest of that, we can enjoy it.”