Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines! Just one year after the race made its debut here in the city, the Grand Prix of Baltimore is back for a second time. With only one week to go, the city has already begun preparations for the big weekend. If you’ve been in the city lately, you may have already seen the giant barriers all along Pratt Street. As a self-proclaimed car buff, I couldn’t be any happier to see the big race right here in my own backyard. More importantly, I’m just as excited to have the famous Michael Andretti here in Baltimore.
You may not be an avid race fan, but chances are you’ve heard of Michael Andretti. The retired race car driver, and owner of Andretti Sports Marketing, has been instrumental in reviving the Baltimore race after last year’s financial collapse. While the race last year had an economic impact of about $47 million dollars, the organizers contract was terminated after they failed to pay the city. Thanks to Andretti, the show will go on.
By all indications, the race this year plans to exceed every expectation with events for children and race fans. Through a shortened schedule, race organizers hope to drive traffic to local businesses before and after the event. With so many events happening next weekend, we’ve put together a list on the many ways to watch.
It’s one thing to stay at home and watch a race on television, but to watch the race from your favorite corner in Baltimore is a whole other experience. Thanks to race organizers you have more than one option in getting a front row seat.
The simplest way to get a seat would be to visit the website and purchase a ticket beforehand. With only one week left I wouldn’t wait too much longer. Simply visit http://www.raceonbaltimore.com/tickets-and-schedule/ and select your ticket for purchase.
The second option would be to buy your ticket on LivingSocial.com. All week long they’ve been advertising heavily discounted tickets for the race. You can get general admission tickets for Friday’s race for as little as $9. General admission tickets for Saturday and Sunday are going for about $30. According to the race website, “General Admission tickets will have access to the three DHL Speed Zones, the Family Fun Zone and Rest Area, the Dr. Pepper Ten Test Track, ALMS Paddock, IZOD IndyCar Fan Village, Car Corrals and viewing along the fence lines between turns 9 and 10 or where signage is not placed.”
Your third option for catching the race action would be to volunteer with the Grand Prix. If you’re a race fan like me, you can work a few hours during the weekend for a front row seat behind the scenes. According to the website, the Grand Prix has openings in various categories, including Accessibility Ambassadors, Credentials, Customer Relations, Fan Zones, Guest Services, Hospitality, Media Center, Office Services, Pass Control, Track Services, Transportation, Ushers and Volunteer Services. All the information you need can be found here on the Grand Prix website.
Of course, if you find yourself driving down to watch the event you’ll certainly need parking. Don’t fret because there’s a new local startup looking to alleviate your parking woes. Parking Panda has put together a full parking plan for those heading downtown Labor Day weekend. You simply visit their site, reserve your space, and head on down. For more information, visit https://www.parkingpanda.com/baltimore-grand-prix-parking to reserve your space.
And finally, if you are lucky enough to work in Baltimore or have a friend who works downtown, ask if you can watch the race from the office. Many high rises offer an aerial view of the course, so you can see all the action from above, and do a little people-watching at the same time.