Andretti Green completes purchase of Grand Prix of Toronto assets UPDATE #2 Bob Singleton, who was general manager of the race during the successful Molson years, thinks the race can be successfully revived.
"I think they have to focus on energizing the city again, getting some sponsorship and turn the thing into more than a race; make it an event.
"I always maintain you're going to get the race fan. You have to get the event going."
Singleton said he doesn't think the absence of a race this year will affect the success of an event next year.
"I think this gives them 14 months to get ready for the race. They aren't running this summer, so they can start work tomorrow.''
Toronto-born driver Paul Tracy, one of the top drivers on the Champ Car circuit and one of Andretti's arch rivals, was excited to hear his hometown event is on the verge of being revived.
"Hopefully it strengthens my position to get a decent ride next year," he said. Tracy lost his ride this season when Forsythe declined to enter a team in the IRL series. Toronto Star
05/15/08 Toronto's Indy car race will return in 2009. Andretti Green Racing told a news conference in Indianapolis on Thursday it has finalized an agreement to purchase the assets of the Grand Prix of Toronto, with the first event scheduled for next summer.
Terms of the agreement will not be disclosed.
"As a driver, Toronto was always my favorite race of the year, and it will be no different as a promoter," said AGR co-owner Michael Andretti, who won the event seven times. "The fans are some of the most enthusiastic you'll ever be around and we're looking forward to building on the great history of this event."
|Start of 2007 Toronto GP Champ Car race|
Held annually since 1986, the event was dropped from the calendar this year after the amalgamation of the Indy Racing League and Champ Car. The IRL was unable to juggle its schedule to accommodate the event, or one in Montreal.
A race already set for Edmonton will still be run, though the date has not been listed on the IRL website.
Andretti announced in March his intent to purchase the assets of the Grand Prix Association of Toronto.
Since then, he and racing team co-owners Kim Green and Kevin Savoree have been in negotiations with the city, and Ontario and federal governments over grants and other financial relief.
Race's estimated worth to local economy is $50M.
While impacts are hard to gauge, Toronto Coun. Joe Pantalone, who heads the board of Exhibition Place where the event is held, estimates the race's contribution to the local economy at $50 million.
"It's not small change, and it provides a venue for residents who enjoy the sport plus a major signature attraction in the month of July for people who come from the United States and beyond," he said.
The final date for the letter of intent by Andretti Green was to run out on April 30, but was pushed back twice to allow final negotiations.
Pantalone said it was his understanding that Tourism Toronto and the provincial government have agreed to economic incentives to allow the race to proceed.
Exhibition Place certainly has, though he would not say to what extent.
"We're still going to make money," Pantalone said. "We have given [Andretti Green] breaks, but we have made a good business deal as well." CBC05/15/08 Andretti Green Promotions, LLC announced today it has formed a wholly-owned Canadian company, Andretti Green Toronto, ULC (AGT), and has completed the purchase of the assets of the Grand Prix Association of Toronto Corp. The terms of the purchase agreements will not be disclosed. Andretti Green Toronto is operating out of a Toronto-based office and will run its first IndyCar Series event in 2009.
The Grand Prix Association of Toronto owned and operated the Grand Prix of Toronto. Throughout its history, the event was one of the marquis stops on the North American Indy car racing landscape, running from 1986 through 2007. AGT is part of an Andretti Green family of companies that includes Andretti Green Racing -- the winningest team in IndyCar Series history -- and Andretti Green Promotions. The promotional arm of the company was founded in 2004 when it announced it would stage the Indy Racing League’s first non-oval event ever on April 3, 2005. Since then, the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg has become a cornerstone of the IndyCar Series, Firestone Indy Lights and American Le Mans Series schedules.
Michael Andretti, who co-owns Andretti Green Racing and Andretti Green Promotions with Kim Green and Kevin Savoree, ended his driving career following last year’s Indianapolis 500, but not before winning 42 races – seven of which came in Toronto. Team Green, the predecessor to Andretti Green Racing, captured two Toronto wins, one with driver Dario Franchitti in 1999 and another with Andretti behind the wheel in 2001.
Michael Andretti, chairman, Andretti Green Racing: “We are very excited to be coming to Toronto. It is a terrific city and a great venue for Andretti Green to host another event. As a driver, Toronto was always my favorite race of the year and it will be no different as a promoter. The fans are some of the most enthusiastic you’ll ever be around and we’re looking forward to building on the great history of this event.”
Kevin Savoree, president and chief operating officer, Andretti Green Racing; managing director, Andretti Green Promotions; president of Andretti Green Toronto: “Andretti Green is thrilled to bring Indy car racing back to Toronto. It’s an event with so much heritage and we look forward to continuing that. As a market, Toronto is among the elite in North America with a huge fan base and a great business climate. So many people invested a lot of effort to make this a reality and we are very appreciative of that. This begins a new chapter for IndyCar racing in Toronto and the future is very bright.”
Charlie Johnstone, vice president and general manager, Andretti Green Toronto: “To have Indy car racing return to the streets of Toronto is very exciting for the city, the community and our partners. Michael, Kim, Kevin and everyone at Andretti Green share great passion for this event, which will certainly ensure the continuation of an outstanding racing tradition for years to come. We look forward to once again putting Toronto on the world stage and delivering an epic event.”