The mayors of two neighbouring New Jersey towns have expressed an interest in holding a race as early as 2013 – and insist that it will be a source of profit, and that no tax dollars will be spent. A group of investors led by Le Mans racer Leo Hindery Jr are behind the project.
The street track would be close to the Hudson River and will have New York City as a back drop.
Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner and West New York Mayor Felix Roque said in a joint statement: “In these uncertain economic times when every direct and indirect revenue source is vital, our own Formula One race could be a very positive boost to our citizens. This said, we need to ensure that the financial benefits from the privilege of having these races in our towns are equitably shared and that no tax dollars are used.
“The investor group has already told us that our towns would be substantially compensated annually. If this advances, we will make every effort to ensure that these events will be highly enjoyable for the people of our towns.”
Once the home of Fred Astaire, Weehawken has a population of just 12,000, while West New York has 49,000 residents. Clearly they are not big enough to provide any public funding and would be open to suggestions of ways to generate more income – not to mention some PR.
According to the WSJ a spokesman for New Jersey governor Chris Christie said: “The prospect of having Formula One come to New Jersey is exciting.”
The 63-year-old Hindery was the founder and former CEO of the The YES Network, a sports cable channel that is the TV home of the New York Yankees and several major sports teams. He has won Emmy awards as an executive producer, and written books about management.
He is now managing partner with New York’s InterMedia Partners, a private equity fund with investments in a range of cable channels, including Universal Sports and Soul Train. He is also active in Democratic politics, and is an advisor to Barack Obama.
Hindery competed at Le Mans between 2002 and 2005, and was a regular in the ALMS series.
It remains to be seen whether his group can fund the sanctioning fee and the creation of the venue, although a street race will be a lot cheaper than building a permanent venue from nothing.
Although the calendar looks pretty packed for the forseeable future – Turkey has been dropped for 2012 – a New Jersey race would form a perfect double header package with Montreal, now that Austin has been moved to November.
In recent times attempts to bring a GP to Jersey City and to the Monticello track in NY State have both failed. In the former case it was the local mayor who raised objections.