The most luxurious marquees at the 2018 Australian Grand Prix

The 2018 Rolex Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne has kicked off (you may have guessed from the sound of throbbing thunder in the distance) and the only thing outdoing the cars are the corporate marquees punters are paying top dollar to access.

Even if you aren't an avid gearhead, each luxury oasis taking part this year has worked hard to create the kind of experience that, if it doesn't make you a total convert, will at the very least keep you entertained and taken care of.

With the promise of unfettered trackside views, endless drinks on the flow and design features catering towards optimum comfort and luxury - the question is why would you attend the Grand Prix in any other way?

A new look

While the luxury marquees are not a new feature of the racing event, there has been an upping of the stakes as far as immersive experiences and image are concerned.

Some would suggest it's all part of the bigger picture as the F1 works towards creating a more inclusive environment - a move that has also seen the removal of the controversial yet traditional grid girls.

There's also a smattering of competition with Melbourne's other grand races - Spring Carnival - and the desire to attract the same national attention (and covet-worthy grandeur).

Fashionably Mercedes-Benz

Food, flowers, fashion, and fast cars – a beat hasn't been missed by the team hosting what some insiders have suggested is the hottest place to be at this year's Grand Prix.

Contrasting to the industrial strength of the machines on the track, the Mercedes-Benz Star Lounge is an Amazon jungle-like greenhouse of flora and fauna.

On the plate, guests will be treated to an 'unrestricted Middle Eastern' dining experience, designed by Melbourne chef Shane Delia of Maha and Biggie Smalls. According to the team at Mercedes, Shane's motivation was to "introduce a creative foodie element for women to enjoy, breaking down the barriers to what is traditionally considered a male-focused event."


Moments in time

At Kennedy Lounge, expect a space that oozes minimalist sophistication.

Designed in-house, the chic charcoal and white space is also the gateway to the Formula 1 Paddock Club which will bring you up close and personal with the racing set.

A representative of Kennedy described the experience as one that goes above the traditional viewing platform.

Based around Kennedy's core brand values - moment in time - Kennedy Lounge is really a place for guests to not only watch the race but build networks too. And with a diverse guest list of corporate, industry and influencer, there'll be just as much action happening over a casual drink as there will on the tarmac below.

The Manor house

Guests of Bentley can prepare to step into the future of racing experience when they walk into Bentley Manor.

The sci-fi-esque structure will be ground zero for first looks at the new Grand Tour, The Continental GT, with the help of cutting-edge VR technology that will let you customise your very own dream vehicle.

This bespoke Bentley will then appear as a hologram for you to peruse at all angles, with a Bentley stylist on hand to guide them through the process.

Champagne by Mumm, premium spirits, catering provided the team at Atlantic and chopper transfers to Sandown Racetrack to experience the Continental GT in person, Bentley's first foray into trackside hospitality is a formidable one.

View from the top

This year sees Porsche celebrate 70 years of the German sports car.

Located at Turn 2, the purpose-built Porsche Pavilion can arguably boast one of the best views in the house.

A mix of outdoor and indoor viewing facilities (guests are right across from the Superscreen and internal telly inside the pavilion) lets you choose your level of racing immersion.

For those who determined to take the experience to its extreme, some guests will dovetail their spectating with the Porsche High Flier Grand Prix Experience program, run by the Porsche Track Experience team at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit in the new four-litre 911 GT3, before arriving at the circuit by helicopter.