The world's biggest racing circuit is coming to the world's biggest stage. Formula One announced today that the inaugural Grand Prix of America will take place over a 3.2-mile road course that runs through West New York and N.J., with the Manhattan skyline as the backdrop.
The race will take place in June of 2013, which means it will be paired with the Canadian Grand Prix on the F1 calendar. The United States last hosted an F1 race in 2007 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. An F1 race is also scheduled for November 2012 in Austin, Texas.
"Formula One is predicated on taking the world’s most popular form of motor sports to the world’s greatest cities," said Bob Varsha, a Northport native who will be calling the race for the SPEED channel. "I think a glaring omission in recent years – and really throughout the history of Formula One – has been New York City. So, I think this is huge. It’s the center of the world’s financial markets, it’s the center of the world’s media markets and it’s the center of the world’s entertainment markets. If there’s anything that’s bigger than Formula One – it’s New York. It’s just a natural they would go together."
The announcement was made Tuesday at Weehawken's Port Imperial Ferry Terminal. A portion of the race will run through Weehawken.
"This is another example of what New Jersey can do when we work together," said New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. "I can assure the people from Formula One this is going to be one of the wisest decisions you've ever made."
According to Christie, there will be no public money used to pay for the event. Unlike a proposed NASCAR track, this is a road race and thus construction of a large-scale stadium is not necessary. The seating structures and guard rails are often not permanent for such races. Christie called the economic impact of the event, "enormous." It is expected that more than 100,000 people will visit the area for the race. Tickets for the three-day event are likely to be $360.
"There have been some permanent race tracks out on Long Island and events like the Vanderbilt Cup," Varsha said. "But it’s ironic that there really hasn’t been a race track incorporated in New York, a place where everything imaginable can be seen or done. New York does really loom large in the history of motor sports, so it’s only right that it should have a Formula One race. It’s going to take a significant effort, but I’m just delighted to see that it’s happening."