On May 23, the world’s most famous car race will take place somewhere you may not know much about. Monaco is the world’s second-smallest country, spanning roughly 2 square kilometers of Mediterranean coastline in the south of France. In 1929, it used all the space it had to create a remarkably unique racecourse and hosted the first Monaco Grand Prix.
Drivers must navigate 78 laps around a 3.3-kilometer circuit that runs right through the heart of Monaco — down city streets, up a cliff, through a tunnel, and around the famous harbor. Over several decades, the “race of a thousand corners” created some of the sport’s most dramatic moments, making it the event every driver wants to win.
But the racing is only half of why the Monaco Grand Prix is so famous. You should also understand why so many of the world’s rich and famous come to watch it.
To find out how Monaco created the world’s most famous car race, watch the latest episode of Vox Atlas.