Reporting Kai Jackson
BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Traffic nightmares aside, the Baltimore Grand Prix is driving up excitement all over the city. All of the teams are in race mode, something WJZ’s very own Kai Jackson learned.
The track is set and the course is closed.
The inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix roared into Maryland Friday, and racing fans are looking for a bird’s-eye view.
“When we’re doing a 160-170 miles an hour in these cars, things happen so quickly,” said driver Guy Cosmo.
WJZ spent the day with Team Patron in the American LeMans Series running 500-horsepower Ferraris.
“The American LeMans Series wasn’t as unique as it’s a two-man team,” driver Ed Brown said. “So both drivers, by the rules, have to drive in the race.”
Yet, long before the drivers suit up and hit the track, the cars are prepped here.
“This is the Ferrari 458 GT2,” Brown said. “This is a brand new race car this year.”
The crew area has all the nuts and bolts needed to hold the cars together, and the high-performance tires needed to keep these monsters on track while doing a blistering 160 miles an hour.
“As we drive, these tires will heat up, and they almost become like glue,” Brown explained. “And that’s what keeps us glued to the track.”
The pit row is the nerve center for the drivers and their teams. How fast a driver is able to get into pit row and get back onto the course is crucial to the success of their race.
Despite traffic headaches and the inconvenience for citizens, race organizers and city leaders believe the pros outweigh the cons.
“We certainly feel for the folks that have been inconvenienced and we feel for them a lot,” Ed Triolo, vice president of the American LeMans Series, said. “Hopefully, the economics will be benefitting them down the road.”
Race organizers say they’ve also donated tickets to a number of local groups and individuals who would otherwise be unable to purchase them.
Races begin Saturday.