The overnight approval of a new NFL stadium to house the Tennessee Titans will affect the future location of the Nashville Grand Prix, but it won’t threaten the popular event’s place on the NTT IndyCar Series calendar.
With its current layout set around the Titans’ existing stadium, the Nashville Grand Prix is heading into the third and final year of its contract with IndyCar for the August 4-6 Big Machine Music City GP. After it’s completed, much of the current layout will be lost, along with the IndyCar field, as construction of the team’s new home on those lands is scheduled to begin in mid-2024. The $2.1 billion Titans Stadium is scheduled for completion in 2027.
“We were ready for this,” Jason Rittenberry, CEO of Nashville GP, told RACER. “And we’ve been planning with Tony Cottman and myself and with IndyCar, and we’ve got together and we’ve discussed and we’re working on a plan for ’24 and beyond. We’re in the process of signing a new three-year extension with IndyCar, so we’ll keep racing and it’ll be a new track, but it’ll still be downtown Nashville.”
In light of the event’s positive economic impact in the Nashville area, the Rittenberry Promotions team has the city’s support to reimagine the design in 2024 and beyond.
“Obviously the stadium and the construction will make things more difficult for us,” he said. But we have the full support of the city, the mayor, and we’re moving forward. Our goal is to make some announcements before the event to share with the world what our plan is going forward, but we have a few things that need to be signed off and done before we can do that. The good news is, the race isn’t going anywhere. The city wants us here, IndyCar wants us here, and we want to continue promoting this event, so we’re not going anywhere. We’ll make things a little more exciting in the future.”
The alternate course planning process has already begun, and will continue until the next design is finalized and approved by the City and the Community.
“It takes the aerial map and looks at what might work? What streets are wide enough? What is the potential impact of the businesses that are on those streets?” explained Rittenberry. “We’re very familiar with all of these things, because trying to get the city to close the streets involves more than just racing.
“And so things are going to get a little bit easier this time because businesses now welcome crowds, because we’re bringing people into town and so they’re happy because the race is running through their business now, versus the first race, they were afraid you were going to shut down the business for a week. Now we can be more aggressive with track and where we might go. And Tony has a crazy mind and has crazy ideas.”
Positive feedback has already been received from Nashville about it.
“Looking at the possibilities for downtown Nashville, as you can only imagine, there are a lot of opportunities,” Rittenberry continued. “And as we start planning, we have to make sure we keep it at the track distance that IndyCar will approve of. Then Tony drives the streets and looks at the turns and sees the revisions that need to be made or the construction that needs to be done to make the corners and radius work. There’s just a million things we have to put in considerations to determine the course design, but Tony is the best and that’s why we hired him and IndyCar trusts him.
“And we’ve already met with the city, we’ve met with the mayor, we’ve looked at potential new designs, and we’re very confident that we’re going to come up with a design that everyone will agree with and that we’re happy with because the race isn’t going anywhere.”
Updated to correct the spelling of Jason Rittenberry, CEO of Nashville GP.
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