Next stop on the Champ Car World
Series is Monterrey, Mexico. As with all races, there has been speculation
and rumors regarding this race, and the best way to turn speculation and rumors
into news is by going to the source, I visited the offices of the Monterrey Grand
Prix in Fundidora Park to interview the executives in charge of the race for
Jorge Lozano “Monterrey Grand Prix
Director,” clarified some aspects of the 2004 race. The first hot topic we
discussed was the one concerning the grandstands. Specifically we were concerned
that some sections were moved to different locations around the track, and having
less sections than the 2003 race - did this mean they would have less seats in
2004? Jorge told me that the 2004 race will have the same number of seats as
the past races, which is 58,000 seats (this is not counting the suites and the
general admission tickets), the difference being that last year the 58,000 seats
were distributed in 27 sections and this year will be distributed in 18 sections.
Since the stands are modular they just increased the height of some of the stands.
He showed me a study they made in 2003 to evaluate the fan satisfaction in the
different sections, and decided to eliminate the sections with low ratings and
move those seats to the sections with the highest ratings.
Photos by Jose Arrambide
Another topic was the movement of
tickets. I asked Jorge to compare the presale of 2003 with the presale of 2004,
the percentage of tickets sold to this date, and their expectation 2004 vs. 2003.
Jorge explained that Ticketmaster Mexico didn't have the final numbers, but said
the preliminary numbers showed that the 2004 presale was a lot better than the
2003, but the most important part was that they had already sold out 3 sections -
section 5, section 6 and section 6a. He pointed out that this is the first
time in the history of the Monterrey Grand Prix that they have had any sections
sold out a month before of the race. This makes them real confident for this
event. He told me that they sold 90% of the tickets for the 2003 event, but they
are expecting to sell all of the 2004 tickets before race day. He also mentioned
that the “platino suites” (VIP seating with a cost of $30,500 USD each) were also
I was also interested in knowing what would be different in 2004 from the 2003
event. He said that this year they were concentrating on the off-track show, he
said they will have 3 different theme areas. The first theme area will be
the music area, there will be a big stage that will have different bands nonstop
from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but on Friday and Saturday
there will be a special concert at 6:00 PM after all the track action is over.
He promised to have big national bands. The second area will be the family and
kids area, next to the Fundidora Park there is a Sesame Street theme park. There will be a special access to this park from the track all weekend, access to
the park will be free to all Monterrey Grand Prix ticket holders (including the
general admission tickets), The third theme area will be a surprise, he told me,
but it will be announced in a few weeks.
I asked Jorge about the support series. I pointed out that there are a lot
of rumors in the media but that they have only announced officially the Toyota
Atlantic Series. Jorge told me that as of today they have confirmed the
Dodge Trucks Series and the Neon Series. When asked about the official
announcement of “Copa Corona” (Formula Renault) made by their executives yesterday
of having their opener date on the “Monterrey Grand Prix” weekend Jorge just
smiled and said, I can't deny or corroborate that one. Michel
Jourdain Senior is in charge of the support series negotiations, but he assured me
they will have more support series (The AutoRacing1.com rumor says five).
I also asked Jorge about the media center, specifically that there were rumors
they were changing the location. Jorge said that indeed they are moving the media
center. They are moving the center next to the paddock. He remembered
that last year the media center was in the 3rd floor of the Cintermex Building,
which is far from the paddock, and media members had asked for a better location
for the 2004 event.
Finally I asked Jorge if he had anything to add, he told me that they felt that in
past years the race was viewed as an elitist event, an event only for fans with
money. In response to this, the organizers decided on changing the
general admission tickets from $50 USD to $25 USD for the whole weekend, and they
will have access to all of the off-track events and shows. “We want everyone to
feel it's their race. We want the average fan to have the chance to attend this
event. We are not worried about the price decrease. We know we will make it up, and
more, with the increase in attendance this year,” Jorge said.
After talking with Jorge Lozano I went with Octavio Reyna who is in charge of the
track, to inspect the track work. They have already installed 75% of the
walls, and they have already installed 14 of the 18 sections of grandstands, and
are already working on the last 4 sections. Everything will be completed 2 weeks
before the race.
I left the track with confidence that the 2004 event will be even better than the
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