(Adds Christie comments starting in fourth paragraph.)
Oct. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Formula One auto racing will hold the Grand Prix of America in New Jersey in a 10-year deal that may generate as much as $1 billion in economic activity, said Leo Hindery Jr., organizer of the event and managing director at InterMedia Partners LP.
The course in Weehawken and West New York is expected to bring as many as 100,000 people to a three-day event in sight of the Manhattan skyline. Designers laid out a 3.2-mile track using roads at the Port Imperial ferry terminal and along the Hudson River Palisades.
“People from all over the world will be coming to New Jersey to see the race on this unique and exciting course,” Governor Chris Christie told reporters at the site of a planned pit area. “Everything has been handled extremely well and the inconvenience to people here will be minimal.”
The agreement is awaiting three permits, which Christie said he anticipates the state and towns will approve.
“I’ve been wanting to do this for years,” F-1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone said. “You’ll be able to see the Manhattan skyline on TV.”
The track, where cars hit speeds of as much as 320 kilometers per hour (200 mph), will be comparable to the current courses in Valencia, Spain; Shanghai; and Singapore, Hindery said.
Busing to the Race
The events may top $100 million annually in economic activity for a decade, he said. The event will require no public subsidies and organizers will pay the costs of safety and cleanup, he said. Fans are expected to arrive via mass transit, making it the world’s first “green race,” he said.
“Formula One is the No. 1 sport in the world in terms of revenue produced per event,” Hindery said. It’s going to be an extra boon for this state, the region and for these two towns.’’
Richard Turner, mayor of Weehawken, and Felix Roque, mayor of West New York, said they had been prepared to block the plans if the communities had to pick up any of the tab. The announcement is proof of a “rebirth for Weehawken and West New York,” Turner said.
“I have no doubt that this is going to end up being one of the great marquee races in history,” said Humpy Wheeler, an adviser to the race who is former president of Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina.
--With assistance from Alex Duff in Madrid. Editor: Stephen Merelman
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