Grand Prix of Boston Called Off

Local reports from Boston arose on Friday evening confirming the demise of the Verizon IndyCar Series’ newest event, the Grand Prix of Boston.

Promoters have pulled the plug on the inaugural Grand Prix of Boston, which was scheduled for Sept. 2-4, 2016 on a 2.2-mile temporary street circuit at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center.

John Casey, president of the Grand Prix of Boston, places the blame on friction between his promoter group and the City of Boston after city and state officials pushed the promoters to come through on their financial commitments, the Boston Herald reported.

“The relations between [the Grand Prix of Boston] and the city and state has deteriorated to the point where I feel we cannot run a successful race,” an email from Casey to investors and other important figures in the event read.

Furthermore, Casey told the Boston Herald in a phone interview that he feels as though he “got out of an abusive relationship,” adding that the promoters “have no relationship with the mayor.”

“It came to a point where I just didn’t trust them,” Casey said.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s administration, though, felt that the promoters had been dishonest in putting together the agreements necessary to make the event – which has been on the 16-race schedule since it was made public in October – come to be.

A statement from Chief of Operations for the City of Boston Patrick Brophy read:

“The City of Boston will always be open to opportunities that will positively showcase our city, however as we continued to work with Boston Grand Prix they were unwilling or unable to meet the necessary requirements to hold an event of this size. The Mayor feels strongly in protecting the taxpayers and limiting the impact to residents, and we are not shy that we held them to very high standards.”

INDYCAR, while not a factor in the final decision to ax the event, released a statement of its own upon hearing of the news from Boston:

The cancellation of the event comes at a cost for the local group that was attempting to put on the race, as part of the agreement with INDYCAR stated that the Grand Prix of Boston would be held to a $1.5 million fine if the event failed to take place.

A group of Boston citizens, forming the Coalition Against IndyCar Boston, regularly spoke out in opposition of the proposed event and aided in the city going now 0-for-2 in bringing large events to Boston after the storied demise of the city’s bid to host the 2024 Olympics.

“We’re grateful that the public process finally worked, that the people of Boston will be spared the damage and destruction of our streets and that the people in South Boston and the Seaport will be able to live their lives without the disruption this race portended,” a statement from Larry Bishoff, co-chairman of the Coalition Against IndyCar Boston, read.

“From the beginning, this was the wrong place and time for this event.”

Similar to the cancellation of the Brasilia Indy 300 which was to kick off the 2015 season last March, alternate locations to replace the Boston event have already become the talk, with the Boston Globe reporting that a “Plan B” could be put into action by the promoters to bring the event to a different Northeastern city. Per the Globe, two such cities exist, one of which is also in the New England region.

The axing of the Grand Prix of Boston joins the Brazilian example in making it two consecutive years that the Verizon IndyCar Series has seen scheduled events prematurely meet their end.

Beyond INDYCAR’s premier series, also not racing on the streets of Boston will be the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo North America and SPEED Energy Stadium SUPER Trucks championships, all of which were a part of the inaugural event’s schedule.