For the fifteenth year, the Grand Prix is back with its 1.8-mile, 14-turn, waterfront circuit through the streets of St. Petersburg.
According to Kim Green, Chairman and CEO of Firestone Grand Prix St. Petersburg, the race is the largest spectator event in Pinellas County each year and is expected to rev up the economy.
“The city estimates between 140 and 160 thousand people coming through the gates,” said Green. “For the week of the race, there’s above $40 million in economic impact.”
The event brings people from across the nation and around the world. It’s also on television nationwide, putting an even larger spotlight on the area.
“It is great coverage for the city of St. Petersburg,” said Green. “It is a great advertisement for people to come and visit St. Pete and see what it has to offer.”
A typical day at the Firestone Grand Prix features sports car racing, high performance and exotic road-style cars, exhibits and lots of food and entertainment.
“It’s three days of activity on the race track,” said Green. “We have 11 races in total on the weekend and the IndyCar race on Sunday is the big one that everyone wants to come and see.”
The track winds through downtown streets, taking drivers past Al Lang Stadium, Pioneer Park, Mahaffey Theater and the Dali Museum. Drivers speed past the Yacht Club before turning onto the runway at Albert Whitted Airport.
Friday evening will also feature a 5k run around the track. All proceeds will go to the Police Athletic League of St. Petersburg.
Racing activities Friday through Sunday will open at 8 a.m. and close around 6 p.m. Tickets are available at the Grand Prix website.