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American Le Mans Series Kicks Off Grand Prix Races

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BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Revved up! The Baltimore Grand Prix hits top speed and it hasn’t disappointed. The event is running full throttle. Fans are flocking to the city for a weekend filled with fun and fast cars, and the main event is almost here.

Weijia Jiang has more on the action in downtown Baltimore.

The American Le Mans Series is taking place Saturday that features cars like Ferraris and Porsches. This is exactly what fans have been waiting for, and now that it is here, they cannot get enough of it.

“Love it, love it! Been waiting two years for this!” said Todd Kuyawa from Baltimore.

The wait is over.

“I’ve never seen anything like this before in my life,” Erin Fogarty said. “It’s ridiculous. It’s so much fun though.”

The first races of the first ever Baltimore Grand Prix are underway, turning downtown into an action-packed, two-mile race course with hairpin turns and 90-degree angles.

“We were just talking about how bizarre it is we walk down this street, we drive down this street and now it’s a racetrack,” Baltimore resident Amanda McCarty said. “It’s crazy. It’s great!”

Drivers are flying through the streets at speeds of up to 180 miles per hour.

“I think they’re so fast, they’re going as fast as Superman would be going, flying,” said one.

That’s why many– like the Panitz family –had to make a pit stop before heading to the grandstand.

“We made a special stop at Bass Pro Shop, got him ear protection and he’s enjoying the races,” said Aileen Panitz of her son Alex Panitz. “His little head turns every time a car goes by.”

Others are improvising as they watch the pros do the same on a track no one officially raced on before Saturday.

“I think it’s great, great. It’s good for the economy,” said another person.

Great for the drivers too, who are already praising the event.

“They’ve done a fantastic job,” said Will Power of Team Penske and the pole winner. “The track’s good, the crowd’s good, plenty of grandstands and a lot of action.”

The main event of the Grand Prix– the Indy Car Series– starts Sunday at 2:45 p.m. Fans who want to catch a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the cars can do so starting at 8 a.m.

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake expects the Grand Prix will pump $100 million into the economy this year.

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