Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is an IndyCar Series race held in St. Petersburg, Florida. Since 2009, the race has served as the season opener, with the exception of 2010, when it was the second race of the season (but the first on U.S. soil). The race is held annually in the spring, currently in March.

Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg
GPStPete logo.png
St. Petersburg street & airport racing circuit.svg
IndyCar Series
LocationSt. Petersburg, Florida, U.S.
27°45′59″N 82°37′45″W / 27.76639°N 82.62917°W / 27.76639; -82.62917Coordinates: 27°45′59″N 82°37′45″W / 27.76639°N 82.62917°W / 27.76639; -82.62917
Corporate sponsorFirestone
First race1985
First ICS race2005
Distance1.8 mi (2.9 km)
Laps110
Previous namesSt. Petersburg Grand Prix (1985–1990)
Kash n' Karry Florida Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (1996–1997)
Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (2005–2013)
Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (2014–present)
Most wins (driver)Hélio Castroneves (3)
Most wins (team)Team Penske (9)
Most wins (manufacturer)Chassis: Dallara (15)
Engine: Honda (9)
Circuit information
SurfaceAsphalt/Concrete
Length1.8 mi (2.9 km)
Turns14
Lap recordJordan King (1:00.0476, Dallara DW12, 2018, IndyCar Series)

The race takes place on a temporary course, utilizing downtown streets, and one runway of Albert Whitted Airport. The event dates back to 1985, with IndyCars first competing in 2003.

HistoryEdit

The SCCA Trans-Am Series held a race on a St. Petersburg downtown waterfront circuit from 1985 to 1990. Can-Am also competed in 1985. Local residents and businesses complained about noise, and the event was eventually put on hiatus.[1] Driver Jim Fitzgerald was killed in a crash during the 1987 race.[2][3] Racing in the Tampa Bay Area was then moved across town for a couple years. An IMSA race at the Florida State Fairgrounds was held in 1989 and 1990.

From 1996 to 1997, the St. Petersburg race was revived on a different course around Tropicana Field (about one mile west of the original waterfront course). Along with the Trans-Am Series, support races included U.S. FF2000, World Challenge, Pro SRF and Barber Dodge. The event subsequently went again on hiatus for several years.[1]

In 2003, the event was revived again for the Champ Car World Series. A new, modified version of the original 1985 waterfront circuit was created.

For 2004, the event was cancelled due to a dispute between the promoters, furthermore, the bankruptcy and liquidation of the CART series into the new Champ Car World Series saw a shakeup of the calendar. When the race returned in 2005, it switched to the IndyCar Series, marking the first non-oval event for the Indy Racing League. In 2007, the race weekend was expanded to include an American Le Mans Series event.

Andretti Green Promotions would later take over promotion of the event.[4] Starting in 2014, Firestone took over as title sponsor.[5]

Past winnersEdit

Season Date Driver Team Chassis Engine/Aero Kit Tires Race Distance Race Time Average Speed
(mph)
Report
Laps Miles (km)
Champ Car World Series history
2003 February 23   Paul Tracy Forsythe Racing Lola B02/00 FordCosworth XFE Bridgestone 105 189.63 (305.179) 2:04:28 91.401 Report
2004 Not held
IndyCar Series history
2005 April 3   Dan Wheldon Andretti Green Racing Dallara Honda Firestone 100 180 (289.681) 2:09:54 83.14 Report
2006 April 2   Hélio Castroneves Team Penske Dallara Honda Firestone 100 180 (289.681) 1:56:58 92.34 Report
2007 April 1   Hélio Castroneves (2) Team Penske (2) Dallara Honda Firestone 100 180 (289.681) 2:01:07 89.166 Report
2008 April 6   Graham Rahal Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing Dallara Honda Firestone 83* 149.4 (240.435) 2:00:44 74.251 Report
2009 April 5   Ryan Briscoe Team Penske (3) Dallara Honda Firestone 100 180 (289.681) 2:12:27 81.542 Report
2010 March 29*   Will Power Team Penske (4) Dallara Honda Firestone 100 180 (289.681) 2:07:06 84.975 Report
2011 March 27   Dario Franchitti Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara Honda Firestone 100 180 (289.681) 2:01:00 89.26 Report
2012 March 25   Hélio Castroneves (3) Team Penske (5) Dallara DW-12 Chevrolet/UAK-12 Firestone 100 180 (289.681) 1:59:51 90.113 Report
2013 March 24   James Hinchcliffe Andretti Autosport (2) Dallara DW-12 Chevrolet/UAK-12 Firestone 110 198 (318.65) 2:22:13 83.539 Report
2014 March 30   Will Power (2) Team Penske (6) Dallara DW-12 Chevrolet/UAK-12 Firestone 110 198 (318.65) 2:06:58 93.572 Report
2015 March 29   Juan Pablo Montoya Team Penske (7) Dallara DW-12 Chevrolet/CAK-15 Firestone 110 198 (318.65) 2:16:58 86.735 Report
2016 March 13   Juan Pablo Montoya (2) Team Penske (8) Dallara DW-12 Chevrolet/CAK-16 (5) Firestone 110 198 (318.65) 2:13:28 89.006 Report
2017 March 12   Sébastien Bourdais Dale Coyne Racing Dallara DW-12 Honda/HAK-16 Firestone 110 198 (318.65) 2:04:32 95.391 Report
2018 March 11   Sébastien Bourdais (2) Dale Coyne Racing (2) Dallara DW-12 Honda/UAK-18 (9) Firestone 110 198 (318.65) 2:17:48 86.207 Report
2019 March 10   Josef Newgarden Team Penske (9) Dallara DW-12 Chevrolet/UAK-18 (6) Firestone 110 198 (318.65) 2:04:18 95.572 Report
2020 October 25 Dallara DW-12 Firestone 110 198 (318.65) Report
  • 2008: Race shortened as a result of inclement weather at the start forcing the race to start on Lap 10 after nine Safety Car laps. Shortened by ESPN under time limit.
  • 2010: Race postponed from March 28 due to inclement weather.[6]
  • UAK = Universal Aero Kit
  • CAK = Chevrolet Aero Kit
  • HAK = Honda Aero Kit

Support series past winnersEdit

Road to Indy presented by Cooper TireEdit

 
Stefan Wilson driving along the Bay Shore Drive Southeast section during the qualifying race of the Indy Lights 2011.

Atlantic ChampionshipEdit

Season Date Winning Driver
1985 November 3 Riley Hopkins
1986 November 16 Scott Goodyear
1987 November 7 Johnny O'Connell
1988 October 23 Jocko Cunningham
1989 October 29 Jocko Cunningham
1990 November 4 Brian Till
Source: [7]

American Le Mans SeriesEdit

Overall winner in bold.

Season LMP1 Winning Team LMP2 Winning Team GT1 Winning Team GT2 Winning Team Report
LMP1 Winning Drivers LMP2 Winning Drivers GT1 Winning Drivers GT2 Winning Drivers
2007   #1 Audi Sport North America   #6 Penske Racing   #4 Corvette Racing   #62 Risi Competizione report
  Rinaldo Capello
  Allan McNish
  Sascha Maassen
  Ryan Briscoe
  Oliver Gavin
  Olivier Beretta
  Mika Salo
  Jaime Melo
2008   #2 Audi Sport North America   #7 Penske Racing   #4 Corvette Racing   #71 Tafel Racing report
  Marco Werner
  Lucas Luhr
  Timo Bernhard
  Romain Dumas
  Olivier Beretta
  Oliver Gavin
  Dominik Farnbacher
  Dirk Müller
2009   #9 Patrón Highcroft Racing   #15 Lowe's Fernández Racing No entry   #45 Flying Lizard Motorsports report
  David Brabham
  Scott Sharp
  Adrian Fernández
  Luis Díaz
No entry   Patrick Long
  Jörg Bergmeister

Stadium Super TrucksEdit

Year Date Driver Ref
2014 March 29   Robby Gordon [8]
March 30   P. J. Jones
2015 March 28   Sheldon Creed [9]
March 29   Burt Jenner
2016 March 12   Sheldon Creed [10]
March 13   Keegan Kincaid
2017 March 11   Robby Gordon [11]
March 12   Matthew Brabham [12]

SCCA Trans-AmEdit

 
Dan Wheldon memorial plaque located adjacent to the course layout.
Season Date Driver Team Car Race Distance Race Time Average Speed Report
Laps Miles (km)
1985 November 3   Willy T. Ribbs Roush Racing Mercury Capri 50 100 (160.934) 01:15:05 79.910 mph (128.603 km/h) Report
1986 November 15   Pete Halsmer Roush Racing Mercury Merkur XR4Ti 50 100 (160.934) 01:15:09 79.838 mph (128.487 km/h) Report
1987 November 15   Pete Halsmer Roush Racing Mercury Merkur XR4Ti 50 100 (160.934) 02:06:24 47.462 mph (76.383 km/h) Report
1988 October 23   Walter Röhrl Audi of America Audi 200 Quattro 63 125.999 (202.777) 01:38:09 77.0207 mph (123.9528 km/h) Report
1989 October 29   Irv Hoerr Oldsmobile Cutlass 63 125.999 (202.777) 01:42:55 73.459 mph (118.221 km/h) Report
1990 November 4   Chris Kneifel Chevrolet Beretta 63 125.999 (202.777) 01:47:11 70.535 mph (113.515 km/h) Report
1991-1995, Not held
1996 February 25   Ron Fellows Chevrolet Camero 63 106.470 (171.346) 01:18:13 70.535 mph (113.515 km/h) Report
1997 February 25   Tommy Kendall Ford Mustang 60 101.400 (163.187) 01:14:44 81.405 mph (131.009 km/h) Report
1998-2002, Not held
2003 February 23   Scott Pruett Jaguar XKR 55 99.330 (159.856) 01:16:06 81.405 mph (131.009 km/h) Report

Can-AmEdit

  • 1985 Lou Sell

SCCA Super VeeEdit

IMSA (fairgrounds)Edit

CourseEdit

 
The section of the 2012 Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg that curves through the Al Lang Stadium parking lot

The Streets of St. Petersburg course is a street circuit connecting existing roads with one of the two runways of Albert Whitted Airport in St. Petersburg, Florida. It also dips into the parking lot at Al Lang Stadium. St. Petersburg is classified as an FIA Grade Two circuit.[13]

First bayfront courseEdit

The original 1985 Trans-Am course utilized a similar layout to the course used today. For the first year the track actually ran out to the pier, made a 180 degree turn and returned. At the end of Bayshore Drive, rather than diverting off to the airport runways, the course circled around 5th Avenue Southeast around Bayfront Arena, and the start/finish line was located just south of the paddock (the parking lot of Bayfront Arena). In addition, the old course traveled further up Beach Drive Northeast, all the way to 5th Avenue Northeast. 5th Ave. NE was a very narrow segment. The course came south down Bayshore Drive Northeast, and passed by The Pier.

Tropicana Field courseEdit

The second course at Tropicana Field was located about a mile west of the waterfront location. The circuit used the roads around the perimeter of the parking lot of the stadium.

Second Bayfront courseEdit

 
Helio Castroneves approaches Dan Wheldon Way (Turn 10) on the final lap of the 2012 Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

When the course was reconfigured, the northbound segment turned at Central Avenue instead, and did not go as far as The Pier. The pits and main straight were moved to the airport, and a purpose-built paddock area was paved next to the runway. The Albert Whitted Park was reconfigured/relocated, and the entire course layout was repaved.

The pits and paddock areas, as well as link from Dan Wheldon Way to the airport runway (turns 11, 12, and 13) were constructed specifically for the circuit in 2003, and are considered permanent features of the otherwise temporary circuit.

After the crash at the 2011 Izod IndyCar World Championship that killed Snell Isle resident Dan Wheldon, who won the 2005 race and two Indianapolis 500 titles, the straight following Turn 10 (the turn from Bayshore Drive to Albert Whitted Park) was renamed "Dan Wheldon Way" in his memory. The sign and commemorative plaque was unveiled by St. Petersburg mayor Bill Foster on March 6, 2012. A permanent Dan Wheldon Memorial is located next to the Dali Museum on the opposite side of Turn 10, where race winners have their names placed on the memorial.[14]

NotesEdit

Works citedEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "St. Petersburg Grand Prix: City has had false starts with racing". St. Petersburg Times. February 21, 2003. Retrieved April 3, 2015.
  2. ^ "Trans-am Driver Killed In Crash During St. Petersburg Event". Sun-Sentinel. 1987-11-09. Retrieved 2013-07-14.
  3. ^ "Veteran driver Fitzgerald dies". Reading Eagle. Reading, Pennsylvania. November 9, 1987. Retrieved 2013-07-30.
  4. ^ Brassfield, Mike (6 April 2009). "Grand Prix is a winner for St. Petersburg". St. Petersburg Times. Archived from the original on 8 April 2009. Retrieved 13 February 2011.
  5. ^ http://www.indycar.com/News/2013/11/11-20-Firestone-to-sponsor-St-Petersburg-season-opener
  6. ^ Auman, Greg (29 March 2010). "Grand Prix of St. Petersburg postponed until Monday". St. Petersburg Times. Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. Retrieved 13 February 2011.
  7. ^ http://www.champcarstats.com/atlantic/tracks/stpetersburg.htm
  8. ^ Sinclair, Adam (March 16, 2015). "SPEED Energy Stadium Super Trucks Presented by TRAXXAS Returns to St. Petersburg Grand Prix for Two Races March 27-29". Speedway Digest. Retrieved July 24, 2019.
  9. ^ Green, Chuck (April 1, 2015). "Speed Energy Stadium Super Trucks Rock Saint Petersburg". Off Road Xtreme. Retrieved July 24, 2019.
  10. ^ "Team TRAXXAS Sweeps Stadium SUPER Trucks Weekend at Grand Prix of St. Petersburg". Speed Energy. March 13, 2016. Retrieved July 24, 2019.
  11. ^ Nguyen, Justin (March 11, 2017). "SST: St. Petersburg Race #1 Recap". Overtake Motorsport. Retrieved July 24, 2019.
  12. ^ Nguyen, Justin (March 12, 2017). "SST: St. Petersburg Race #2 Recap". Overtake Motorsport. Retrieved July 24, 2019.
  13. ^ "List of FIA licensed circuits" (Press release). Federation Internationale de l'Automobile. December 14, 2018. Retrieved September 24, 2019.
  14. ^ "Street in St. Petersburg named for Dan Wheldon". Fox News. AP. 2012-03-07. Retrieved 2012-03-26.

External linksEdit


Preceded by
IndyCar Monterey Grand Prix
IndyCar Series
Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg
Succeeded by
Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama