While there continues to be hand-wringing over whether the much-publicized Circuit of the Americas near Austin, Tex., will be finished in time for the return of Formula One racing to the United States come November (I’m betting it is), there’s no doubt they’ll be ready for the one to follow in New Jersey next year.
Alex Howe, vice-president of communications for Global Strategy Group of New York, emailed me this photo the other day that shows construction already under way on garages and corporate suites for the June, 2013, Grand Prix of America at Port Imperial in Weehawken and West New York, N.J.
Howe advises that when construction is completed, the lower level will house the garages while the upper levels will contain luxury hospitality suits where guests will be able to see the pits, the front straight and, most important, the skyline of New York.
A 3.2-mile course on public roads – yup, just like Monaco’s – will start and finish at the Port Imperial ferry terminal and rise and fall 150 feet as it meanders close to existing residential neighbourhoods (I wonder how they’re going to like the noise . . .).
Much of the course will be on a road beside the Hudson River waterfront.
Organizers (the guy who invented the Yes Network – that stands for Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network – is behind the New Jersey race; one of the investors in Austin is the fellow who owns Patron Tequila, which is title sponsor of the American Le Mans Series) plan to repave the roads on which the cars will run and to erect concrete barriers and to put up grandstands to hold 75,000 people.
Otherwise, as is the case with the Honda Indy through the streets of the CNE in Toronto (July 6-8 this summer) or the Grand Prix of Canada on Ilse Notre-Dame in Montreal (June 8-10), the terrain will be as natural as natural can be.
Hey, Formula One and the city of New York. What an incredible combination!
One of the iconic events of North American racing, the Long Beach Grand Prix featuring the cars and stars of the IZOD IndyCar Series, takes places this weekend (be sure to check "George’s TV listings for race fans" on wheels.ca’s home page for channel and time) and a wonderful multimedia event is going to take place to publicize it.
Drivers Rubens Barrichello and Tony Kanaan will answer live questions from fans around the world and have the questions, answers and full conversation instantly translated using technology developed by Ortsbo, which translates emails (no cutting and pasting required) into more than 50 languages.
The moderator will be another driver, Canada’s own James Hinchcliffe, of Oakville.
Do you want to be a part of this? The Q & A will start at 7 p.m. Eastern on Saturday and you can register to watch in advance or join live at www.liveandglobal.com/indycar
Now, F1 is in Shanghai this weekend and, as mentioned, IndyCar is in California. NASCAR, on the other hand, is in two locations – Texas and North Carolina.
The Nationwide cars will be at Texas Motor Speedway Friday night and the Cup cars will race at night on Saturday. Meantime, the trucks are returning to Rockingham on Sunday afternoon and that race is generating some excitement because of the locale.
The facility, situated in the Sandhills of North Carolina, held its last NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event in February 2004 and pretty much sat there until former racer Andy Hillenburg purchased it in 2007.
Under Hillenburg, racing returned to "The Rock," and last September, NASCAR announced its plan to head back to the one-mile speedway with the Camping World Truck Series (in which J.R. Fitzpatrick of Cambridge, Ont., has had a couple of good runs so far this season).
The inference is that if Rockingham does a good job with the truck race, it might - might - land a Nationwide or Cup race sometime down the line. (Remember, Rockingham was an early-season stop on the Cup circuit for years and years and only lost its place because NASCAR wanted to run races in the southwest when it was cold in the east - and it was sometimes freezing in the Carolinas in March.)
Said Speed TV reporter Ray Dunlap (and, frankly, I can’t figure out why the various networks don’t make better use of this guy in other series, because he does an excellent job in the pits):
"There truly is a great heritage at Rockingham. The drivers are even more excited to get the race started than the media or fans. The surrounding area was hit hard by the loss of Sprint Cup racing, so I think this will be a big boost to the area with the fans travelling in from Raleigh, Charlotte and the Triad."
And me, travelling to my couch, in my Family Room, in Mississauga, Ont., to be there in spirit.