I just returned from the esteemed Sports Legends Museum in Baltimore, where I heard details of a proposal to bring an open-wheel street race to the Inner Harbor area.
The race, which would be part of the Indy Racing League’s schedule, could come as soon as 2011. But there is a lot of work to be done between now and then.
Here’s the basics of what’s going on:
-The race is being proposed by Baltimore Racing Development, a new organization that hopes to raise as much as $10 million in sponsorships to hold the event.
-The city would be on the hook for any required infrastructure upgrades, but officials said some of those upgrades are already programmed into future city budgets.
-Organizers believe the event could bring as much as 150,000 visitors to the city and as much as $100 million in direct and indirect economic impact over a four-day span. Ther estimates were based on figures from other Grand Prix races, including those in Detroit, Toronto and Houston.
-Labor Day weekend is one possibility for the race.
-Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser Jr. is a consultant and IRL liaison.
-The city council has given BDR a two-year exclusive window to negotiate for the race, but the city must sign off on it by April of next year. Between now and then, BDR must present studies adressing traffic and noise mitigation.
-You can download a PDF of the proposed track layout here: http://www.baltimoreracingdevelopment.com/track.html