Firestone Grand Prix Of St. Petersburg Continues In 2021 With COVID-19 Changes
While the event will still feature 11 races in three days, COVID-19 safety protocols will change the experience for attendees, including postponing an eight-year tradition until 2022.
Racers’ speeds are not going to be the only thing that will be checked at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
As a COVID-19 safety measure, visitors’ temperatures will be monitored upon entrance.
The Grand Prix will run from April 23-25, and while it will feature most of the fun and fast activities that have drawn onlookers since 2005, COVID-19 safety measures will change the fans' experience.
Beyond the temperature checks on entry, race organizers have enforced a number of “safe to race” protocols.
Race attendance will be at a limited capacity to allow for social distancing. To monitor the number of attendees and to prevent bottlenecking, tickets will not be sold at the gate but instead online.
Masks are required in all areas of the festival — including outside — and visitors are encouraged to use the sanitizing and handwashing stations that are set up throughout.
An eight-year tradition will not be returning to the Grand Prix in 2021 to accommodate safety concerns. The MBA 5K Run, which raised money for the Police Athletic League of St. Petersburg and the American Stage, is postponed until 2022 due to COVID-19.
While the race on foot is not happening this year, there are 11 car races over the course of three days. The practices and some of the qualifying races will be held on Friday, Saturday will be an even mix between qualifiers and the first round of races, and Sunday will have the second and final round of races. To see the full schedule, click here.
Ticket prices vary by day — $25 on Friday, $40 on Saturday, and $55 on Sunday. The three-day package is $60. To purchase tickets, click here.
There are four series of races being held at the Grand Prix. The NTT INDYCAR series is the headliner of the event as the premier open-wheel racing series in North America. The series is considered challenging due to the diversity in track types.
Some of the best new competitors who are on their way to the NTT INDYCAR series — but not there quite yet — will compete in The Road to Indy series.
The Grand Prix will also feature two race series that are not in open-wheel vehicles. The Indemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup series will feature grassroots champions racing in Mazdas for a $250,000 scholarship.
For a less traditional race, attendees can watch trucks speed down the straightaway, soar through jumps, and slide through turns in the SPEED Energy Stadium SUPER Trucks series.
In between races, guests can entertain themselves by visiting vendors, taking part in interactive activities, and getting fun festival food.
Those who can’t attend the races in person can watch them live on NBC Sports.