The Fort Lauderale street race is apparently moving forward and could end up on the 2013 schedule despite being left off in the initial calendar. The Broward County Commission has a request for discussion about potential sponsorship of Grand Prix in Fort Lauderdale on Thursday, and the proposal offers a wealth of details about the event.
Because I used to be a reporter I have a love for original documents, and so I went to find the agenda. The Commission has posted Andretti Sport Marketing’s power point that answers a lot of questions. I’d like to take a moment to commend both Broward County and the city of Ft. Lauderdale for their efforts to be transparent. A lot of municipalities won’t do simple things like post power points in advance.
Productive morning at Broward County Commission meeting. Lots of support in our community backing Ft. Lauderdale Grand Prix project
— Ryan Hunter-Reay (@RyanHunterReay) November 13, 2012
First off it seems that Andretti Autosport will return with the same driver and sponsor lineup next year. Tony Cotman’s NZR Consulting firm is working on track design (NZR is responsible for the layout and construction of the street circuits in Sao Paulo and Baltimore.) The weekend would feature ALMS and a vintage car race, there was no reference of any of the Road to Indy series. They are seeking a five year contract with a three year option.
Also. They included a proposed track diagram that shows the a massive front stretch running along the beach on A1A South with a hairpin before turning north on A1A past the Ft. Lauderdale Aquatic Center with a couple left-right-left turns on side streets before ending up on Cortez Street, which would be a short stretch followed by a 90 degree right hander back onto A1A South. The track looks like it has at least three to four good passing areas, a beautiful backdrop and a number of hotels would fall within the track’s footprint. There’s also a number of parking lots that can be used for corporate hospitality and other attractions. I read through the Ft. Lauderdale City Council minutes a few months ago and it appears there are plans to renovate the Aquatic Centerto use as a viewing area for the grand prix.
The current Izod Indycar Champion Ryan Hunter-Reay lives in Ft. Lauderdale. A number of drivers including Helio Castroneves, and Tony Kannan live in nearby Miami. Hunte-Reay’s main sponsor DHL is based in Plantation. Organizers are expecting 120,000 spectators over three days with 63,000 in attendance race day. Given that Barber Motorsports Park is pulling in 50,000 on race day, 60,000 in Ft. Lauderdale seems reasonable to me.
I grew up in Florida, and September is when we would go to Disney World because it was the off season. All retail and restaurant activity slows down in September, kids go back to school, and that takes time and money. So I can see why local organizers would be a fan of a September date. It’s before the Dolphins, Heat and Panthers start their seasons, so the only competition in town is the Marlins. Ft. Lauderdale recently held a Ryan Hunter-Reay Day, which apparently drew a decent crowd.
Hopefully this happens. I’d love to see Indycar’s first American champ since Sam Hornish defend his crown in his home town.