The biggest trend in motorized sports is coming to the District in a unique way: as an arcade.
Formula One racing (known also as F1) has become one of the biggest phenomena in the world of motorized sports. It’s developed a large following due to its presence all around the world. And next year, Formula 1 is coming to the District, but in a unique way. District Fray sat down with founder and CEO of the upcoming F1 Arcade, Adam Breeden, to talk bringing this buzzy sport to all in D.C.
District Fray: What was the inspiration behind creating an F1 arcade?
Adam Breeden: I have created quite a number of different concepts in the spot in what the space that you now call experiential hospitality [or] competitive socializing. It was Formula One that actually approached me to see what I think with concepts, and I immediately gravitated towards simulator racing because it’s something that everybody can do. It’s an incredible thrill, sitting in a race in a simulator, let alone what we’ve done to gamify the experience in all the different ways you can race.
These days, young people aren’t interested in just going out only to places where it’s just food and beverage alone. Certainly not just drinking alone. They’re looking for experiences. I think the thing that I’ve always done, and what I’ve done especially here is really focused on the execution of the food and beverage, the design and the atmosphere.
So when it came to curating those aesthetics and curating those extra parts of creating the arcade, where were you drawing inspiration from?
We absolutely did go about creating a design where we’re referencing racing in Formula One, but we also didn’t want it to be — and it isn’t — is a fan zone or a complete homage to Formula One. The whole concept is designed primarily for the non-fan. Of course, it appeals to the fan but what we’ve done I think very successfully is unlock it for the person who is not fan isn’t interested in motorsports [and] feels intimidated even by sitting in a racing simulator. They come everything is made so easy.
There’s elements of the design where we’ve taken like, the starter lights or Formula One which are iconic and actually brought those into the space in terms of very large scale. It exudes Formula One, but in a way that only the fans will notice, but the non-fan won’t walk in and go, “I’m in the world of Formula One,” because what we didn’t want it to be is off putting to the people who don’t really care about Formula One.
One thing I know that you added or are including with the opening of this Formula One experience is the designated driver menu. What was the inspiration behind that?
Up until maybe five years ago even it was important to have one or two non-alcoholic cocktails, but today people are looking for a much broader choice and a much better executed non-alcoholic cocktail list. We just felt that was an interesting play on words, to call it designated driver because of course, you’re not really driving.
You talked about how Formula One approached you in creating this immersive hospitality experience and I wanted to ask, what did you think when you were approached with this idea with F1 being starting to become such a popular sport?
The initial approach was not anything related to any specific concept. They had some other ideas, which I didn’t gravitate towards. I quickly honed in on the racing simulators and realized from a business perspective, that actually there could be a really interesting business here. But from a customer experience perspective, I felt like it could be one of the best experiences that you could lay out in this kind of space.
So, why D.C. as one of the first US locations?
I think that D.C. is interesting. There’s quite an international crowd in D.C. I think there is a great need in D.C., in all the different kinds of organizations that exist here — whether they be commercial or governmental — to have somewhere to go and do something like this. It’s an amazing icebreaker. It’s an amazing way to socialize without it being in large groups where you have this activity to break the ice, to kind of punctuate a social experience.
When can we expect to see the F1 arcade open up in D.C.?
I’m gonna say summer next year. We are on track. So we’ve hit every opening timeline that we’ve committed to.
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