The new track for the Mexican Grand Prix will go through a baseball Ffeld. Tickets Go on Sale Friday June 21st Mexico City, June 11th, 2002.- After a long wait, the Telmex-Gigante Mexican Grand Prix was officially announced this afternoon at...
The new track for the Mexican Grand Prix will go through a baseball Ffeld.
Tickets Go on Sale Friday June 21st
Mexico City, June 11th, 2002.- After a long wait, the Telmex-Gigante Mexican Grand Prix was officially announced this afternoon at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, Mexico's historic track built in 1959 and currently being remodeled to host the GP next November. The race will close the 2002 FedEx CART Championship Series, and CIE -Interamerican Entertainment Corp.- general director, Rodrigo González-Calvillo announced that a "new track layout has been adopted in consensus with our partners , after reviewing the magnificent facilities at the Foro (baseball stadium). We decided to take advantage of them and benefit more fans who can now attend this race in all comfort". The seating arrangement gives a total of 142,293 fans in the stands plus some 25,000 general admission three-day tickets, without a guaranteed seat. González-Calvillo also announced that three-day ticket packages will go on sale at all Ticketmaster outlets starting Friday, June 21st with prices starting at 350 pesos (35 dollars) for General Admission, and he assured the press that "with the intense activity we are watching here at the Autódromo, our work team leaders are completely confident that we can re-inaugurate the track by November 1st" which is almost 3 weeks before the race.
Track, ticket prices, grandstands, and remodeling were covered by GRAND's -the joint enterprise by CIE and Forsythe Racing which organizes the Grand Prix- general director, Rubén Saldívar. Announced that the historic layout of the track will not undergo any permanent modifications, but to increase the uniqueness of this event, "a turn will be adopted around the middle portion of the straight preceding the Peraltada (banked) corner in order to take the cars through the Foro and get them out of it at mid-Peraltada, which will make this the only track in the world going through a baseball stadium -some spectacular views we will have there- and making this race something unique for racing fans all over the world".
Ron Dickson, On Track Operations manager, explained the technical aspects of the layout and mentioned: "We'll change the apex of 2 turns -a bit- in this historic circuit, in order to increase security for drivers and fans alike. We'll try to keep the original idea of the designers and we'll maintain its status as one of the great track of the world, one Mexicans are and will be proud of". Dickson also forecast "Champ Cars will reach 218 - 220 miles per hour at the end of the straight, probably 197 at the entrance to the Foro, this is one fast track", and he bases his prediction in the fact that the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez has one of the largest straights anywhere in the world of racing, more than 1 kilometer long, the longest in any CART circuit.
After the press conference, the media corps took a ride in an electric tram around the track, accompanied by CIE and GRAND officials, plus Michel Jourdain Jr. and Mario Domínguez, Mexican stalwarts in CART. Among the visible work being done, and the planned outcome, we found:
Demolition of some buildings in the paddock, including stripping the innards of the control tower, the suites and the garages;
Tearing down the grandstands opposite the pits in the main straight, which will be replaced by some new permanent ones and some temporary; in all, the total capacity will be 142,293 seats, including the 25,000 seats at the baseball stadium;
Remodeling for more than 100 corporate suites, plus new ones to be built within the new grandstands opposite the pits;
Increasing garage area -which will ultimately hold 62 racing cars;
Modernization of the control tower, including timing and scoring, race control, national and international broadcast, local PA and the GRAND administrative offices;
Consolidation of roads inside the Sports Park where the Autódromo is located;
Walls and fencing being installed at the end of the straight, and even some new planted grass between the track and the wall;
Leveling and filling all the spaces between the track and the wall, in order to follow the existing banking in the layout;
Repaving the track in 4 phases, in order to always have some loop layout that can be used by other sportsmen on bikes or foot.
Saldívar also mentioned the existing coordination with the local authorities of Mexico City, reflected in the work in process. Among the bilateral affairs that have been solved are:
An Ecological Impact Plan which is in the final evaluation stage by the local Ministry of Ecology;
An adequate Civil Protection Plan for an event of this magnitude;
An Urban Impact Program including aspects about transit and access to the site, presented to the local Transit Authority; this Plan includes extra runs in the subway, bus and micro bus lines serving the area, plus a detailed parking program which includes more than 11,000 spaces within a quarter mile of the complex;
Substituting a soccer field (#37) used in the widening of the pit area, for two others and a soccer court in the area of the Stadium;
A comprehensive security program in the area of the Autódromo, with shared responsibilities among the local police in the outside and the private police and security staff inside;
Installation inside the complex of mobile offices of the Federal Consumer Protection Agency, the local attorney general's office, and the local Tourism Ministry, among other governmental institutions.
The conference was attended by Mexican drivers Michel Jourdain Jr. and Mario Domínguez, and featured phone calls from their mate Adrián Fernández -the only driver-owner in CART currently- and CART's president Chris Pook, the latter saying this track will "provide the perfect season ending for the 2002 championship". It is the first time that CART will end its season outside the USA, and it ends where it started, in Mexico, so a bit of history is being made.
Now, the program specifies that Thursday November 14th, the track will be opened for practice (preliminary races such as Barber Pro and Mustang Cup) and the fist official qualifying for CART will take place Friday 15th, followed by the final qualifying on Saturday and the Grand Prix returns to the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez on Sunday, November 17th, for a grand season finale.