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Champ Car eyes Orlando GPUPDATE #6This rumor is downgraded to 'false' today. Rumors that the Champ Car World Series racing sanctioning body would stage a race in Orlando in 2008 were apparently that -- rumors. Champ Car announced its 2008 schedule this afternoon, and the closest the series comes to Florida is Houston and Cleveland. Orlando was thought to be a possibility for a season-ender, but as this year, Champ Car's last North American race is August 10 in Wisconsin, though the season doesn't end until November 9. Ending the season in Orlando -- or anywhere in America -- could have guaranteed some interest in the series' late season, but as this year, few will care what happens after August 10. Orlando Sentinel
07/30/07Though negotiations have been largely under the radar, there's a good possibility that the Champ Car World Series, the open-wheel sanctioning body with competitors that include Paul Tracy, Sebastien Bourdais and Graham Rahal, could come to Orlando as early as 2008.
So said one of the series directors, at last weekend's Grand Prix of San Jose. Champ Car's nearest race to Orlando is Cleveland or Houston, so the sanctioning body is interested in placing a race in the Southeast. Orlando and Savannah, Georgia have been mentioned, but sources say Savannah won't happen, but odds seem about even that Orlando will. Champ Car runs many of its races on temporary street or airport circuits, and that is what would happen in Orlando, with the race essentially becoming a three-day street festival that culminates in a Sunday afternoon race. Stay tuned.Orlando Sentinel
07/27/07Below we had a story about a proposed development of an area in Orlando on International Drive with a race track in the plans behind the Lockheed-Martin complex. From what transpired yesterday in the Orange County/Orlando commission meeting, we would guess that those plans are off the table. Orange County leaders late Thursday approved a $1.1 billion plan for a new arena, performing-arts center and major Florida Citrus Bowl upgrades in downtown Orlando that supporters vowed would bring boundless new jobs and entertainment to the region.StoryandRelated Story
However our own investigation has revealed that the community venues project appears to have no bearing on a possible race in Orlando, because the organizer of the rumored race in Orlando is not the developer, and is not currently considering the proposed track by Universal City Properties, who opposed the venues project. As far as we can tell, Universal City Properties has not made any commitment to build the track. It is merely a concept. Even though their arena plans were shot down, they could still conceivably build the track by itself. But we doubt that a track will be built in that area anyway, because the property in that area is selling for approximately $1 million an acre, even in this dismal real estate market. At those prices, how could a racing track ever make any money? The land alone would be worth over $200 million or more.
You would be better to put up another hotel or something that makes money instead of a money-losing racetrack. Also, there are all kinds of expensive hotels and condos being built there, so we doubt that the noise of a year-round track would be accepted by those paying the high prices for the rooms and condos. It sounds a lot like the Riverside Raceway scenario to us. The land is too valuable, and the nuisance factor is too high. A temporary race is only a few days of noise, and has obvious benefits. In this case, it would be a lot cheaper too.
Also, since it seems the Universal City people pissed off almost everyone in power and all of the corporations that endorsed the new arena and arts center, a race at their track would probably not be able to get the political support it would need to be a success. So we doubt it will happen.
Our hunch is that you will probably see somebody try to do it with the standard style temporary track, which in this case would make much more sense. Just remember you heard it here first.
07/03/07Through some thorough research by AutoRacing1.com staff we have learned that there is a 2nd group that wants to hold a Champ Car race right across the street (around the Orlando Convention Center) from where the track is shown below. From what we can tell it is this 2nd group that is more likely to succeed in pulling off this project given their connections in Orlando. In fact the Orlando Grand Prix LLC that we mentioned below is actually associated with this 2nd group. The mega project shown below has little chance of moving forward because it has too much political opposition from what we found in our research.
06/29/07Here is a graphic (right) from the Orlando Sentinel which was obtained from public records that clearly shows the proposed 2.2-mile (approx)grand prix race track as part of the huge site plan. AutoRacing1.com was the first to break this rumor back in August 2006 (SeeRumor) but we could not say too much back then.
06/29/07Interestingly we were able to find that this limited liability corporation calledOrlando Grand Prix LLCwas formed. It sounds like plans for this race are pretty far down the road. Now it remains to be seen whether Champ Car steps up and gets this deal done. We do know that there is a real desire in Champ Car to race in Florida again and what better place than in Orlando. We hear the people behind this event would like to get on the 2008 Champ Car calendar.
06/29/07Orange County leaders who will be asked to approve a $1.1 billion plan for arts and sports venues next month now have another option to consider -- one that includes not only a new basketball arena but a retractable-dome baseball stadium and a grand-prix racetrack.
An International Drive-area developer is pushing the Orange Megaplex -- a plan that would put the stadium, track and arena on land near Orange's convention center.
At this point, the proposal is merely a concept and seems to have little chance of being built, at least anytime soon.
While details are sparse, site plans obtained through a public-records request by the Orlando Sentinel show a baseball stadium called the Orange Dome, an arena called the Orlando Forum and a winding track called Orlando Grand Prix. Peppered with hotels, shopping and entertainment, the overall plan is labeled the Orange Megaplex.
A spokeswoman for the Indy Racing League said she wasn't aware of any discussions about the Orlando track. A Champ Car series spokesman would not comment on whether talks have occurred, but AutoRacing1.com has learned that indeed Champ Car is in deep conversations about this project. In part fromOrlando Sentinel
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