Reporting Mike Hellgren
BALTIMORE (WJZ) – Racing to get Baltimore’s Grand Prix on track before a tight deadline. The new organizers of the race announced some major sponsors and spoke about the event’s financial health.
Mike Hellgren goes one-on-one with those in charge.
They have major financial muscle and city support and want to reassure the public the financial and managerial mess left last year will not happen again.
With just seven weeks to go before Baltimore’s Grand Prix, the new group in charge, Race On, says it will be ready. They revealed three new sponsors: Dr. Pepper, Sunoco and Giant Food.
“All of the major building blocks are there. There’s a million little details in a race like this and we’re polishing off those details,” said Tim Mayer, the race’s general manager.
Organizers admit the Grand Prix is likely to lose money but say investors remain committed and they want to stabilize the race over the length of their five-year contract.
“We’re here in 2012, 2013. We’ve got a five-year contract. We plan on fulfilling that and hopefully we’ll get a renewal for another five years,” said investor JP Grant. “This is a good start for this year. We’re solid and we’re going to build on that in 2013.”
Single day reserved ticket sales just started. Last year’s event drew 160,000 spectators and the race sold 110,000 tickets.
Track work will start later this month and continue right up to the race.
Drivers are ready to hit that track–which is slightly tweaked–through downtown with speeds hitting 180 miles an hour.
“The event itself was an absolute home run last year. It was the financials behind it, the way it was run that got a little shaky,” said driver Ryan Hunter.
“If we can build and establish a race here in the Inner Harbor, it will be great for the city. It will be great for the area,” said driver Tommy Milner.
Race On is the third group to take charge. The original organizers left behind a string of unpaid bills to vendors, something the new general manager promises won’t happen again.
“Baltimore is open for business. It is going to be open for business and we are passionate about communicating that to people,” Mayer said. “Our financial projections really did not account for a title sponsor so we’re really right on plan.”
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Tickets can also be purchased at Ticketmaster outlets and by phone at 1-800-745-3000.