Bernie Ecclestone's big dream of a Formula 1 race in the greater New York area could be closer to reality than many people thought after plans for an event in Jersey City emerged this week.
A proposal for a race in the 1,200-acre Liberty State Park from 2012 has been put together by the director of tourism for Destination Jersey City, with the possibility of it being turned into a night event.
A document produced with outline plans for the event states: "With the incredible backdrop of the New York City skyline, selecting Jersey City for the 2012 Grand Prix Auto Race Circuit will not only boost ticket sales as the Grand Prix returns to the United States, but will [provide] striking television footage.
"To maximize the dramatic effect, Jersey City could possibly follow in Singapore's footsteps by holding the finals at night."
Organizers, who want the "Jersey City" moniker in the name of the race, are seeking a five-year deal and a 3.6-mile track layout has already been sketched out.
Although F1 is eager for the sport to get back into the United States, the plans for the Jersey GP have not been a universal hit with local officials and activists. Local campaigners Friends of Liberty State Park labeled the idea "obscene" in a letter written to Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy.
Sam Pesin, head of the Friends' board of trustees, told local newspaper the Jersey Journal: "Once you have a track there, and especially with the state's finances, there would be such pressure on the state to have regular car racing there. You'd end up having the name changed from Liberty State Park to Liberty Race Track."
Mayor Healy has spoken to Pesin about the matter and issued a statement after their conversation saying: "This was a response to an overture made by Formula 1, and Jersey City is one of several cities they are pursuing. There have been a few, preliminary conversations and this is very much in the exploratory phase. However, this may not be something that is in the best interest of Jersey City or Liberty State Park."
The plans for the Jersey GP come a few weeks after there was fresh speculation Indianapolis could be poised to get F1 back, with former track boss Tony George present at the Chinese Grand Prix to discuss ideas.