Construction will begin this evening on the Grand Prix of Baltimore race circuit. The track is a 12-turn, 2-mile course, traversing through downtown Baltimore's Inner Harbor area with a southern loop around Camden Yards. The Grand Prix will take place Labor Day weekend, August 31 - September 2, and will feature the IZOD IndyCar Series and the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron. A news conference to position a ceremonial track barrier took place this morning along the Inner Harbor, and included IndyCar driver Josef Newgarden.
"For the Grand Prix of Baltimore, we are building in sections around the city instead of the traditional method of building a track in sequence," explained Tony Cotman, founder of NZR Consulting, the track design and construction company working with Andretti Sports Marketing. "This is far more difficult and time-consuming, but it's done to allow businesses access until the latest possible time before the Grand Prix."
Construction will take place only at night to lessen the impact on traffic and business in the downtown area.
"Choosing to build the circuit in the manner we've designed is part of our overall commitment to minimizing the impact on businesses and commuters," said Tim Mayer, general manager of the Grand Prix of Baltimore for Andretti Sports Marketing. "'Baltimore is open for business' is a phrase we focus upon each day."
Changes to the racetrack for the 2012 Grand Prix includes the removal of the chicane on the longest straightway along Pratt Street, and improved passing areas around the course. The changes will result in higher top speeds and improved passing opportunities.
Josef Newgarden, the 22-year old driver who finished second in the Indy Lights race at Baltimore on his way to winning the 2011 Indy Lights championship, is now a rookie in the IZOD IndyCar Series.
"Removing the chicane will be great for the race. I think it will really promote passing and make for good competition," said Newgarden. "It was a phenomenal crowd last year in Baltimore. You don't see that happening very often with a first time event. There were a lot of new fans that embraced IndyCar in the city. It was definitely one of our best events last year, so it should be even better this year!"
Source: Andretti Sports Marketing