Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 24 No. 160

Events and Attractions

Baltimore Grand Prix organizer Race On LLC said Tuesday that it is "prepared to lose money on the Labor Day weekend event, but pledged that no vendor or taxpayer would go unpaid," according to Luke Broadwater of the Baltimore SUN. Grant Capital Management President & CEO J.P. Grant, who is heading Race On, said that he "hopes the group will turn a profit running a second race in 2013, but realizes that's unlikely this year." Grant said, "This is the first year of running a new business." Grant and Baltimore GP GM Timothy Mayer, of Andretti Sports Marketing, said that the group "plans to launch a marketing campaign" on Sunday. Last year's race "drew 160,000 spectators to the Inner Harbor, and organizers sold 110,000 tickets -- numbers Grant says he'd be glad to hit." Grant said, "If we hit the attendance numbers we hit last year, that's a grand slam. If we're sort of close, that's fine." He said that he was "willing to underwrite early losses." Tickets "went on sale in late May, though the men declined to say how many have been sold thus far." Mayer said, "We are where we need to be. We are comfortable with where we are now." Mayer said that the prospects "also did not look good for securing a title sponsor for this year's event, but the group was prepared to put on the race without one." Grant and Mayer said that they "did not plan to make the race's financial books public, though they said they would provide reports to the city." The Maryland Stadium Authority on Tuesday "approved two deals with the group: one for rental of warehouse space at Camden Yards and another for parking lots for the event" (Baltimore SUN, 7/11).

STICKING WITH 19: IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard said Sunday that the organization has "closed the door on several Midwest venues for 2013, including possible races at Road America, Michigan International Speedway and the discussed street circuit in Chicago." Bernard said that his goal "remains 19 races, and China, which canceled an Aug. 19 event, won't be one of them." Bernard said, "Before we put something on the schedule next time I want a deposit as well as a signed contract." Bernard said that he is "scheduled to meet with Phoenix International Raceway President Bryan Sperber this week." In Indianapolis, Curt Cavin noted Bernard "described recent conversations as 'fantastic'" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 7/11).

Austin city officials Tuesday called their recent trip to the British Grand Prix, “criticized by some as a junket, worthwhile and valuable,” according to John Maher of the AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN. Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell said that it “would have been irresponsible for officials not to take the chance to see a Formula One race before Austin hosts its inaugural U.S. Grand Prix" on Nov. 16-18. Officials “seemed impressed by the F1 race.” The flights and hotels for Leffingwell and City Manager Marc Ott “were paid for by Circuit of the Americas, while the city paid $5,600 for the others.” After being “stranded in a traffic jam on his way to a Friday practice session, Leffingwell concluded it might be a good idea to have a contingency plan for when natural parking areas turn into mud pits or for when officials have to drastically alter the planned traffic flow.” He said, "It's an amazing event, extremely complex." Leffingwell added that one thing “he noticed was that a lot of volunteers would be needed for the Austin race.” He said that he “liked the high-pitched scream of the F1 cars,” and that some local officials “told him the F1 cars could be heard four miles away.” Leffingwell: "Nobody should try to soft-pedal the fact that it's going to be noisy" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 7/11).

NO JOKE: The GUARDIAN's Christian Sylt notes F1 Management Chair Bernie Ecclestone has “confirmed for the first time that he is indeed working on a race" in London. He said, "We are getting on with it. It is no joke, 100% completely no joke.” Ecclestone revealed that work on the race “is progressing following the unveiling last month of plans for a track which would snake past some of the capital's most famous landmarks.” He also said that F1 would “cover the running costs and waive the usual [US$54M] hosting fee” (GUARDIAN, 7/12).