This Tuesday, from a press conference on the shore of Weehawken New Jersey, the Grand Prix of America - Port Imperial was announced for the 2013 season. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, along with Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner, West New Jersey Mayor Felix Roque, and Leo Hindery, founding chairman and promoter, unveiled plans for the race.
Featuring a 3.2 mile street course with the New York skyline as a backdrop, the facility will be a temporary circuit run on existing roads, requiring only one permanent facility for the pit complex to be contstructed. The remaining components, seating and barriers for example, will be setup for the duration of the event and then removed.
Leo Hindery celebrated the idea of using existing roads and said the race will be far more cost effective than the facility in Austin and more reasonable to setup. The existing roads at Port Imperial run along the Hudson river shore and resemble a layout more similar to Monaco, with a fairly flat portion near the shore with steep elevation changes moving inland.
The official name of the race will be "Grand Prix of America - Port Imperial," and is an official Formula 1 event that will continue under a ten year contract from 2013-2022. Similar to Circuit of the Americas, this signifies a long-term commitment from Formula 1 and the facility promoters to support the sport in America and develop a stronger sporting community.
// Our Reaction
Now, it's obviously that we at The Austin Grand Prix are die hard advocates for the future of motorsports in Austin at Circuit of The Americas. At first glance however, the prospect of a duplicate Formula 1 race in the US would normally cause a sense of fear that both events would negatively effect the fans, splitting them between each race. Ignoring this knee jerk reaction and looking at the situation a little more closely, the truth becomes evident, this is a great thing for motorsports in America, and especially for fans. Here's why:
1: The Circuit of the Americas is 1868 miles from the Grand Prix of America - Port Imperial. To put this in perspective, seven of the twenty races in the 2012 Formula 1 calendar are within the same distance of Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium. The idea that Austin and Port Imperial are too close to support the fan base in America is absurd.
2: The US has supported more than two Grand Prixs in one season at one point in time. In 1982, The US became the first and only country to hold three GP events in one year (Long Beach, Las Vegas and Detroit).
3: The design of the two circuits are unique and feature a completely different fan experience. Austin's circuit is more like Spa or Silverstone, and Port Imperial more similar to Monaco; both have their merits and advantages and each should deliver great racing.
4: Circuit of The Americas will feature several races throughout the year from other series like MotoGP, V8 Supercars and others, while Port Imperial will host Formula 1 once in the year at a temporary circuit. Both have a different strategy to the facility programming, but Austin carries the edge in this case, offering more diverse and frequent events.
5: The United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas will be held on November 18th, 2012, while the Grand Prix of America - Port Imperial, is expected to be held in June just following the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal. This means the two race's distance apart from eachother in the race season will help increase their individual excitment.
As fans of motorsports, we embrace competition, whether that be from the driver or the car design, competition brings out the best in all of us. I only see the two races in America being a great advantage to the sport, and to fans in America.
This weekend we invite you to come out to SIX Lounge and talk with others about the GP of America at our watch party for the inaugural Indian Grand Prix. RSVP here on Facebook!