Urban pro-racing speeds into roadblocks

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The Future. Every popular pro-racing circuit in the world — F1, Formula E, IndyCar, NASCAR, etc. — has increased the number of races that take place on public roads in major cities. Each race is a feat of engineering and logistics, earning plenty of praise and criticism for its impact. But as the sport continues to attract an enviable mix of money, celebrity, and investment, expect hosting high-profile races to become as competitive as hosting the Olympics.

Pedal politics
Legal street racing is navigating a twisty road to mainstream acceptance.

Just look at F1.

  • A third of F1 races will take place in street or hybrid courses (up from 15% last decade) — an intentional part of owner Liberty Media’s plan to bring the sport to “destination cities” to grow its global appeal.
  • That’s brought a flurry of economic activity to hosts, such as $900 million in economic activity during the Vegas race last year, $506 million in direct revenue over the past four races in Azerbaijan, and $1.5 billion in tourism to Monaco since 2008.

Proponents of the urban-set races say that they’ve expanded the sport’s fan base and decreased city pollution (people take public transit to enjoy the races).

Conversely, there are plenty of critics, who say that local businesses are hurt when public roads are closed off for construction, races can cause irreparable harm to cities (damage to historic areas, pulling out trees), and the cars are dangerous or annoyingly loud to residents.

Not everyone feels the need for speed.

David Vendrell

Born and raised a stone’s-throw away from the Everglades, David left the Florida swamp for the California desert. Over-caffeinated, he stares at his computer too long either writing the TFP newsletter or screenplays. He is repped by Anonymous Content.


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