The Baltimore Grand Prix has secured a new lease on life with the announcement of a new promoters group, which has guaranteed that the street circuit will again play host to the IZOD IndyCar Series and American Le Mans Series this Labor Day weekend.
Mayor Stephanie-Rawlings Blake announced on Wednesday that she has selected Downforce Racing to produce the Baltimore Grand Prix through 2016. Downforce Racing – a partnership comprised of two Baltimore-based entrepreneurs and an Indianapolis-based construction executive with extensive motorsports experience – replaces Baltimore Racing Development, which organized and ran the inaugural event in 2011.
Dale Dillon, who owns Indianaoplis-based Dillon Construction Group and Dillon Racing, and Wilkes Lane Racing's Felix J. Dawson and Daniel C. Reck are the promoter principals. Dillon has served as head of operations for IndyCar races in St. Petersburg and Toronto, and was brought in to manage the operations of the 2011 Baltimore Grand Prix just weeks before the Sept. 2 race. Dawson and Reck are founding partners of Wilkes Lane Capital, which focuses on advisory services and private investing in the energy sector. Both are former executives of Constellation Energy.
Dillon, who is also seeking to stage an IndyCar race weekend in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in 2013, said the group expects last year's $47 million economic impact to the city to increase as the event becomes a Labor Day staple. The race weekend also was a promotional home run for the city with tens of thousands of spectators flooding the fan-friendly venue.
"(St. Pete and Toronto) are great events with great attendance," he said. "It's a model we'll be fortunate enough to learn from. These races can be successful and they can be money-makers. There's a passion side to it, and they go hand in hand."
The NBC Sports Network (formerly Versus) will broadcast the IZOD IndyCar Series race live and the Firestone Indy Lights event on a delay basis. The American Le Mans Series will air live on ESPN3 and on a delay basis on ABC.
“The new promoter brings a proven track record in motorsports operations and event management to the race," said IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard. "We are confident that this new team will continue to grow the event and make it a success for all those involved.”