Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Toronto INDYCAR Street Race Date Secured through 2014

Photo Credit: Chris Nagy/XSL Speed Reporter

For 26 years in Toronto, Canada's second-longest running street course event (Trois Rivieres, Quebec is the oldest) has hosted the sounds of open wheel racing. Heading into the 2012 event, there is already the build-up of seeing brand new turbocharged IZOD INDYCAR race vehicles and the motivation of promoting this year's race following the rough-and-tumble 2011 edition of the event. On Monday, the immediate future of the Honda Indy is guaranteed through the 2014 season with an agreement between the INDYCAR sanctioning body, Honda Canada, Green Savoree Racing Promotions and the City of Toronto.

Optimistic on the presence of the open wheel racing series in Toronto (especially after the mayhem that was last season's running of the Honda Indy Toronto falling into the through that "any publicity is good publicity"), INDYCAR CEO Randy Bernard declared, “With a strong heritage in open-wheel racing, Toronto continues to be a great fit for INDYCAR,”. Along with being a showcase for the headlining IZOD INDYCAR Series, the Firestone Indy Lights, Star Mazda Championship and the Ferrari Challenge tour will be sharing the 1.755-mile circuit. The deal announced on Monday insures the framework for all major parties is in place for two seasons following this season's Honda Indy Toronto.

The event brought the reunified IZOD INDYCAR Series to the Canadian city in 2009 thanks to the efforts of 7-time Toronto Indy-winning driver Michael Andretti and Kim Green (who won the event twice as a team owner) who saved the race. Through the race promotion arm of the Andretti-Green partnership, that pairing parted ways with Kim Green receiving the race promotion business while Michael Andretti retained the INDYCAR race team.

Since becoming a date on the IZOD INDYCAR Series schedule has noticeably become a better event as spectators began returning to the July race weekend held on the temporary street course. With crowds being an important ingredient to securing the Honda Indy Toronto past the 2014 season, the race's non-supporters often complain about the race weekend shutting down streets during the summer. The street race in the heart of the city of Toronto could also be facing competition from the new-ownership group of the Mosport International Raceway (now called Canadian Tire Motorsport Park). Just outside of Toronto, the former Formula 1 venue is undergoing a renovation that could make Canadian Tire Motorsport Park more inviting to possible NASCAR and IZOD INDYCAR events. Inking an extension on the deal for the Honda Indy Toronto event, it will likely be, at least, 2015 that INDYCAR would consider the permanent road course. 

Celebrating a 25-year since the 1986 Molson Indy inaugurated the event last year, the 2012 Honda Indy weekend will be the 25th opportunity (no Toronto Indy occurred in 2008) that open wheel racing stars will roar alongside the Toronto waterfront.

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