Westminster Grand Prix: Top of parking deck becomes F1 racetrack


Photo credit Kanav Kakkar

Do your friends complain about your “reckless” driving? Does your mother refuse to let you drive when she’s in the car even though you’re an “amazing driver?” Well, Wildcats, the days of having to defend your driving skills are over.

The Westminster Schools has officially announced it will host the 2023 Westminster Grand Prix this coming May. What is known to the Westminster community as a safety threat to those texting while walking, the third floor parking deck will now be known among the Formula 1 community as the most unique and structurally difficult circuits in racing history.   

With accumulating on-campus accidents caused by students eager to get home after a stressful day, or those rushing to class after 20 minutes of West Paces morning traffic, Westminster found yet another way to monetize its campus. 

Mr. Batcheller, Mr. Evans, and Dr. Small sealed the deal with Formula One Group Commissioner ​​Stefano Domenicali just last week.

“One of my priorities as commissioner is ensuring that the driver, fans, and viewers have the best experience possible,” said Domenicali. “That said, I travel the world searching for the perfect tracks with unique difficulties that challenge our drivers and entice our fans. I’m proud to announce that we have found this at the Westminster Schools.”

The deal has been in the works for a few months but was only made official on March 29. Top F1 drivers like Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc, and Fernando Alonso have been practicing on the deck since JanTerm. 

“I worked with Ferrari for many years, and I must say, I’ve never seen an automobile drive as fast as a Ram pickup truck rounding the corner of the second-floor ramp at 3 pm on a Friday,” said Alonso.  

“We know there’s been a lot of frustration with the third floor of the parking deck in recent years: it’s been a great expansion of the campus, but no doubt students drive too fast,” said Batcheller.

The infamous third-floor parking deck, finished in 2020, was part of Westminster’s most recent stage of mass construction. Aside from the occasional Buckhead mom brunch in Barge, the third floor is strictly senior territory. 

If this news wasn’t exciting enough, the press release obtained by the Bi-Line also states that three Westminster students will be chosen to compete. 

“We know the Class of 2023 has had a difficult and unusual high school experience, so we are opening up competition eligibility to our much-deserving senior class,” said Small.

Westminster is a school of prestige and competition, and what is more prestigious and competitive than the F1 Grand Prix?” said Evans.

While financial details have not been publicly released yet, there’s no doubt the endowment will be receiving a few extra dollars this year, not to mention significant publicity from the F1 community.

“I know there are quite a few state championship trophies lining the halls of Turner Gym, but an F1 Trophy wouldn’t look too bad either,” said assistant director of admissions Danny Alexander.

While the Westminster Grand Prix is an unusual partnership between Westminster and Formula 1, months of planning, negotiation, and test drives have ensured the event’s success.

This one-of-a-kind event is the perfect opportunity for seniors to showcase their driving skills in front of some of the most successful names in the sport. Let’s hope all those fender benders weren’t for nothing and that the Westminster Grand Prix champion is one of our very own Wildcats.