Why a Fort Lauderdale Grand Prix Makes Sense for the City

Imagine standing along A1A, chugging some ice-cold brews on a hot fall day and watching a string of Formula One cars race by at 190 mph. The breeze from the beach, the whistling whiz of the engines, the potential for a horrific wreck -- these are the things dreams are made of. And they're the things that draw international attention and legions of tourists to Fort Loddy Doddy. 

This week, Andretti Sports Marketing pitched the idea of a Fort Lauderdale Grand Prix to the Broward County Commission. Why didn't the commission rubber-stamp the proposal, break out the street sweepers, and wave the checkered flag in drunken celebration? Because the group is asking for $20 million from the county to help put on the event. 

Yup, that's a lot of taxpayer dough going to a race. And while Andretti Sports Marketing has all types of stats on tourism and profit potential to make it seem like a worthwhile investment, the biggest benefit can't be quantified. 

Fort Lauderdale lives in the shadow of Miami. Always has, always will. There's the Miami Heat, the Miami Dolphins, and the Miami Marlins. What's Fort Lauderdale got? A boat show. Sorry to break it to you, but there's one of those in Miami too. 

Nabbing a major racing event that will garner international media attention is a surefire way to put the spotlight on us for an extended period of time and permanently sear the city's name into the collective psyche of out-of-town gearheads and speed freaks. 

It's already happening. 

On Wednesday, an Australian paper covering the potential of a Fort Lauderdale race ran the headline "IndyCar Could Land a New 2013 Race in Florida Described as 'Kinda Like a US Surfers Paradise.'" Sure, it doesn't make too much sense. But what else in this city's history has scored a headline in a far-off paper describing it as "kinda like a surfers paradise." And that's just from a County Commission meeting. 

Numerous F1 blogs jumped on the story as well, most of which had positive things to say about the track. Beyond the Flag noted that the course has a "beautiful backdrop and a number of hotels would fall within the track's footprint." And they're right. Just look at the proposed course:

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The good news is that though there's no chance in hell that the county is going to fork over $20 million, commissioners didn't completely shoot down the idea. 

After the presentation, the board asked that Andretti Sports Marketing tinker its request, provide a clearer explanation of the potential return on investment, and show that the event will really help fill more than 22,000 hotel rooms. 

If the race gets the green light, it won't be long before Fort Lauderdale is a sun-baked mecca of speed and precision. 

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The tax payers of Fort Lauderdale are not that ignorant.    Not one motor racing journalist will address the issue of  "Nick Hunter Reay" one of the local cocain cowboys:  Look him up on google and remember that our freedom in America is not free or cheap.  Some people actually work for a living and those honest tax-payers in Ft. Lauderdale have a long memory.  Cute family men disguised to rip you off are no longer acceptable.

"Fool me once
Shame on you
Fool me twice
Shame on me."

--Chinese Proverb


Let's do this Ft. Loddy Doddy!


Um, you do know that Surfers Paradise is the name of the waterfront town in Queensland, Australia where an IndyCar event has been held every year since 1991? A 30 second Google search by the author would have turned this up, but hey, it's much easier to just write a line about how it "doesn't make sense", right? Good research as always, New Times.


went to most of the down town miami races and a few in st pete.  great even, that draws lots of tourists,  sells rooms, and is a lot of fun. 


bad racing.  not much passing, expensive to run and attend, if it rains, no one goes, excitement wears off for locals after few years, and takes a lot of time and  effort to set up .  bleachers, welding man hole covers, repaving.  -but at least it not in down town, like miami, so business don't get disrupted.


also the time of year.... late oct early nov?  hurricane season?


still would be great event for a few years.  I'd go.


 @Anon Actually, I was aware of that. It doesn't make too much sense to general readers and the headline itself doesn't make too much sense as written. But thanks for the note-- it should have been clarified. 

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