TRENTON – Government and racing officials announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding that would bring an annual Formula 1 Grand Prix of America race to Port Imperial in Weehawken and West New York beginning in June 2013.
“I am pleased that New Jersey will play host to Formula 1 beginning in 2013, bringing one of the world’s most popular and exciting sports right to our backyard. These races will showcase Weehawken and West New York, as well as our state and region to an international audience, while strengthening both the local and regional economies,” said Gov. Chris Christie.
“The three day event will bring very positive economic activity to the region, while giving fans of the sport in our region and around the world an exciting, new venue to experience Formula 1 racing. This is another example of how New Jersey remains a leader in hosting marquee national and international sporting and entertainment events like the Super Bowl, NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, and the Ironman Triathlon in various parts of our state.”
The races, which will receive no subsidies from either local or state government, will bring investment to New Jersey and the surrounding region each year. And while Formula 1 is currently awaiting a formal economic impact study, the races anticipate hundreds of millions in economic development over the life of the ten-year agreement.
During the announcement, the group also released renderings of the course itself that will be run on existing streets in the municipalities, with the New York City skyline and Hudson River as the backdrop. The race will be a 3.2 mile road race, run on existing roads through Port Imperial and at the top of the Palisades in Weehawken and West New York. Upwards of 100,000 people are expected to attend each race, starting with practice on Friday, qualifying on Saturday, and racing on Sunday and able to take NJ Transit and PATH to the races.
“We are thrilled to bring Formula 1 racing to New Jersey, and we’re grateful for the Governor’s support and the partnership with Mayors Turner and Roque,” said YES Network founding chairman and former CEO Leo Hindery. ”We know that the race will bring tremendous economic benefits and excitement to the New York/New Jersey region. The course will be one of the best and most unique in the world; racing along the picturesque and challenging Palisades, with New York City’s skyline and the Hudson river as the backdrop.”
In a joint statement, Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner and West New York Mayor Felix Roquesaid, “The Formula 1 race will bring significant economic impact to our towns and local businesses, totaling several hundred million dollars to the region annually. Further, the investor group has assured us that the financial benefits from the privilege of having these races in our towns are equitably shared and no government subsidies will be used.”
Formula 1 is a world championship with races held on purpose-built circuits and public roads throughout the capitals of Europe and Asia and in Canada, Brazil and Australia. Formula 1 is the highest class of auto racing sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the world-wide race-sanctioning body, the number one sport worldwide in revenue produced per event, and attracts an audience of 600 million people in 188 counties annually.
Hindery, with a long history in motorsports as a driver and executive, is the founding chairman and former CEO of The YES Network, the nation’s largest and most successful regional sports network and the television home of the New York Yankees. He currently serves as Managing Partner of InterMedia Partners, LP, a media industry private equity fund headquartered in New York City.
In standing with the governor, former President and GM of Lowe’s Motor Speedway Humpy Wheeler said, “I’ve been in auto racing in the United States my entire career, in all aspects, and the key to success is always community relations. We have put together the strongest possible team of racers, business people and investors committed to making our race a ‘winner’ for the State of New Jersey, the two towns, local businesses and, of course, citizens.”
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