Grand Prix Returns to Reliant Park

After a six year hiatus, IndyCar racing will return to Houston for the first weekend of October 2013. With a major sponsor to anchor the event, officials see it as a step toward expanding the circuit's reach in the United States.

 

The IZOD IndyCar series added Houston, and the event set for October 4-6 2013, will debut as the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston. IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard helped make the announcement at the Redstone Golf Club.

IndyCar Series Owner Roger PenskeIndyCar Series Owner Roger Penske

"Last year we saw a 28 percent increase in our viewership, TV viewership and we saw a 10 percent increase in our attendance. But most importantly, is how we look at our future. We want to make sure that we're selecting some of the best markets in the world. And what better than the fourth largest city, right here at Houston, Texas."

The race will run on a 1.7-mile, 10-turn street circuit at Reliant Park. IndyCar series owner Roger Penske says he's excited.

"We have access, you can go in the pit area, you can see the transporters, you can see the drivers, and I think that's one of the things why we're getting so much response in cities like Houston, Detroit, St. Petersburg and Baltimore. So, we're excited."

Hernandez: "And having an enclosed area like Reliant Park?"

Penske: "Well, I think it's safe. People know how to get in and out, because they come there for other sporting events — so it's a home run."

Grand Prix's return was solidified after Harris County Judge Ed Emmett formed the Grand Prix Local Organizing Committee.

"It is the largest spectator sport in the world, and we're very likely to attract a lot of spectators from South America, who will come up and spend dollars in Houston, watching the race."

The last Grand Prix had an estimated economic impact of more than $35 million.

A diagram of the Houston Grand Prix course
A diagram of the Houston Grand Prix course

Bio photo of Pat Hernandez

Pat Hernandez

Reporter

Pat Hernandez is a general assignments reporter who joined the KUHF news staff in February of 2008...