IndyCar eyeing Boston street race

A Boston group’s plan to bring a Grand Prix race to the Hub is picking up speed as organizers envision a series of events leading up to open-top race cars roaring around the streets of the Seaport District on Labor Day weekend next year.

IndyCar Boston, a group led by former IndyCar executive Mark Perrone, is working with the city and IndyCar to bring the season finale of the 2016 racing season to the streets of Boston starting next year, potentially continuing for years as a regular event.

"We’re working on it, we’re looking to see if it works for the city," Mayor Martin J. Walsh said in an interview. “Certainly it would be a great opportunity for promotion of the city."

As first reported in the Herald last August, Walsh sent a letter to IndyCar chief executive Mark D. Miles, expressing his interest in hosting the race. IndyCar Boston is pursuing the event with the backing of IndyCar, which must give the green light to the proposal.

“Everybody’s positive and everybody’s optimistic about the potential of an IndyCar race in Boston," said IndyCar spokesman Mike Kitchel.

IndyCar Boston has begun laying out its plans to neighborhood groups, including at a meeting of the Friends of Fort Point Channel, hosted at the headquarters of Zipcar last week.

“This was the start of a robust community outreach effort, through which Grand Prix of Boston will attend meetings of civic associations, business coalitions, and any other neighborhood and community group that will have us," said spokeswoman Kate Norton.

Proposed as the Sunday highlight for a weekend-long event in the city, the race would draw more than 250,000 spectators, according to organizers.

The weekend would also include events such as a car show, street festivals and other attractions.

On race day, a temporary track would be set up winding, curving and looping around the Seaport District, eventually crowning the Verizon IndyCar Series champion at the checkered flag.

The track would be designed to avoid significant road closures, organizers say.

IndyCar Boston is nearing the final stages of negotiations with the city, and then must determine what – if any – state agencies may be involved.

Organizers expect a final announcement in the coming months.

If the Grand Prix race comes to Boston, it would join Long Beach, Calif., Houston, Detroit, Toronto and St. Petersburg, Fla., as host cities.

Walsh focused on drawing high-profile events to the city, creating the Office of Sports, Entertainment and Special Events months after his inauguration.

“The Frozen Four’s coming to Boston this year, the NCAA hockey championship, that’s another exciting weekend for Boston," Walsh said. “We want to try to do more of that." Boston Herald

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