ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Are you ready to start your engines?
The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is coming up on Oct. 23-25, and there is plenty to be excited about for both race enthusiasts and fair-weather fans alike.
The Grand Prix of St. Petersburg opens the IndyCar Series as it has for the past nine seasons. It brings racing fans from all over for a weekend full of fun, and, of course, fast cars.
So, what can you expect – especially during this time of the coronavirus pandemic?
Hitting the pavement 🏁
Friday, Oct. 23
From practice runs to qualifiers, the schedule is jammed packed with events for fans all weekend.
On Friday, beginning at 9 a.m., the first practice will get underway for the MX-5 Cup. That’ll be followed up by practices for Porsche GT3 Cup, USF2000 and the Indy Pro 2000.
For a full list of Friday’s events, click here.
Saturday, Oct. 24
Each series continues on Saturday with the MX-5 Cup's first race starting at 8:30 a.m.
Additional qualifiers are scheduled for the USF2000 and the Indy Pro 2000. At 3:05 p.m., the first qualifying run is scheduled for the NNT Indycar Series.
Five races will take place, including those for the MX-5 Cup, Porsche GT3 Cup, USF2000 and Indy Pro 2000.
For a full list of Saturday’s events, click here.
Sunday, Oct. 25
Sunday is the big day.
Race 2 of the USF2000 kicks off at 9:30 a.m., and the warm-up for the NTT Indycar Series begins at 10:40 a.m.
Then, the Indy Pro 2000 and Porsche GT3 Cup will take the spotlight until pre-race ceremonies get underway just before the NTT Indycar Series.
The big race will then take place at 2:30 p.m.
For a full list of Sunday’s events, click here.
COVID-19 concerns 🏁
The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg originally was scheduled for March but was pushed to October because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Spectators are asked to enter at either Gate 1 or Gate 5 – expect a temperature check. Here's a map. Masks or face coverings are required to be worn at all times. People are asked to respect guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including social distancing guidelines.
Bathrooms and high-touch surfaces will be frequently cleaned, the event website says, and hand sanitizer and handwashing stations will be available.
Don't expect buffets in the hospitality areas; and while concessions will be open, there will be additional protocols to limit person-to-person contact.
The NTT Indycar Series Paddock and Pit Lane will be closed to spectators. So, too, will be the Porsche GT3 Cup Paddock. The Indy Pro 2000 Championship presented by Cooper Tires, the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship and the MX-5 Cub Paddock will be open but with social distancing measures.
Read through the event's COIVD-19 page for more.
Parking and transportation 🏁
City parking garages will be $10 for all-day parking on Friday and $15 for all-day parking on Saturday and Sunday:
(enter from the north side of First Avenue S. between Second and First Streets)
(enter from Second Street between First and Second Avenues N.)
You can also park at Tropicana Field for $10. Keep in mind that it’s credit card only. A shuttle will pick passengers up on the west side of 10th Street between 2nd Avenue S and 3rd Avenue S. and drops off passengers at 2nd Street S.
The shuttle will operate from Friday through Sunday starting at 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. It ends at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday.
The Looper Downtown Trolley and Central Avenue Shuttle will also offer rides throughout the weekend for 50 cents per person.
When you arrive, there will be two entry gates.
The first is Gate 1 located off First Avenue S. and First Street S.
The second is Gate 5 located off Fifth Avenue S. and Second Street S.
For more parking and transportation information, click here.
Traffic detours 🏁
The city of St. Petersburg has released the following information regarding street closures:
Closed – Beach Drive from Central Avenue to First Avenue S.
Closed – First Street from First Avenue S. to Fifth Avenue S.
Closed – Albert Whitted Park, motorized and pedestrian traffic
Limited Access – On Second Avenue S. from First to Second Street S.
Limited Access – First Street S. from Fifth Avenue S to Eighth Avenue S.
Limited Access – Sixth Avenue S. from Second Street to First Street
Ticket packages are limited and range from $40 on Saturday to $60 for a 2-day ticket. Friday tickets are sold out and 3-day passes are no longer available as of this writing.
Tickets can be bought at the gate, but prices are cheaper if they’re ordered online.
For more ticket information, click here.
Banned items 🏁
Race officials said strict security measures have been put in place. As a result, the following will not be permitted:
- Carrying open food/beverage containers over bridges or track crossings
- Abuse of intoxicants
- Disorderly conduct/fighting/profanity
- Placing cups on walls
- Standing on grandstand seats
- Smoking in grandstand and hospitality areas
- Spitting tobacco
- Standing or sitting in walkways, aisles and ramps
- Throwing or kicking objects
For all other information regarding race weekend, click here.
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