The race formerly known as the Grand Prix of Boston won’t be happening in Boston, reports the Boston Globe. The relationship between the city and race promoters had gone foul, and both are pointing fingers at each other as to why this race won’t work. Organizers are now looking for a back-up city for the race.
The race was originally scheduled to run on Labor Day using a 2.2-mile temporary street course around the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. Promoters signed a contract to hold the race there in 2016 with Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh that was renewable for up to four subsequent years.
However, that contract is now toast. President of the former Grand Prix of Boston group John Casey told the Globe:
The relationship between us and the city is not working. The relationship is untenable. [...] I’m writing a book about this whole process. It’s so ridiculous, it’s hysterical.
Casey claims that city officials had endless, unrealistic demands.
Most recently, a revised flood zone on the new new Federal Emergency Management Agency map of the area would have forced promoters to get a wetlands permit to complete some of the race-related construction, reports the Boston Herald.
Meanwhile, city officials have characterized the race promoters as disorganized and unwilling to put the work in to make the Boston Grand Prix happen. The Boston Globe writes:
Patrick Brophy, chief of operations for Boston, said in a statement that race organizers “were unwilling or unable to meet the necessary requirements to hold an event of this size.”
In a Globe interview, Brophy said the city insisted on protections for the taxpayers and the neighborhood.
“They didn’t want to do it, and we’re OK with it,” he said. “I’m sure there will be plenty of good things to do in Boston over Labor Day weekend.”
According to a statement from Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker in the Globe, several deadlines had already been extended to try and make the grand prix happen.
Tech company LogMeIn’s offices was located along the race route, and the company signed on early to be a major sponsor of therace. LogMeIn CEO Bill Wagner told the Globe that the race had already gained a broader appeal than he expected, and that all of its permitting woes and eventual cancellation doesn’t bode well for attracting other events to Boston:
It’s going to send a signal to other people trying to bring events to Boston. If anyone else brings an event to Boston, I’m sure they’re going to call IndyCar and ask what their experience was. I would hate to hear what that call was [like].
However, as Boston’s NIMBY set celebrates this as a major victory, the IndyCar grand prix set for Labor Day may be heading to someone else’s backyard.
The two back-up cities for the race have yet to be named, however, one is in New England, and Casey assured the Globe, “They are both willing to do it without the headaches of Boston.”