It was good to see the Baltimore Grand Prix go off pretty well. Kudos to the development group and the racers of all the classes. Even the political leadership needs some thanks on this score, since the jockeying politicians have angled to forecast the event’s downfall, which seemingly did not come. Baltimore’s tourism goals combined IndyCar’s path to legitimacy generally create a decent marriage of convenience for both sides despite protestations of natives, so to see it go well is good.
Couple things on that score: it’s not the worst weekend to host a race and not expensive as a formula 1 grand prix.
Having IndyCar in Baltimore is like having a Monaco Grand Prix on a budget. But F1 is a beast of a different sort with demands on countries and venues that seem near criminal: google the ordeal surrounding the Bahrain Grand Prix where Ecclestone is happy enough to work with the dictatorial regimes to put together an event, because the money was on the table despite the human rights concerns, but judge for yourself.
Anyway, $5m in road repairs is nothing compared to the $25m Austin had to put down just to guarantee the next year’s F1 race. (Light Street looked terrible, though — it’s bad enough in a road car). But like Tony Kanaan said: that’s what they get paid for… and he’s right.
Second, the city is strategically located for a number of sponsors who needed an East Coast venue. Baltimore’s current draw of tourists was a good bet (having worked on a number of tourism brochures research shows Baltimore to be a strong “drive-to” venue.)
Also, Baltimore’s looking to increase it’s name value while IndyCar’s still trying to rebuild American open-wheel racing as it resurrects itself from insolvency less than ten years ago.
Seemingly, having lost its helm of legitimacy as the fiercest series behind F1, the series is still in the early stages of developing a must-watch option.
Recent defections of people like Jacques Villneuve and Juan Pablo Montoya from F1 to Nascar spell the stability and emergence of the oval-dominated series.
A new venue and the prospect of new fans does have the potential to bode well for both the city and IndyCar, as well as the emerging American Le Mans Series.