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Ladies and Gentlemen: Start Your Engines!


By JON WILSON, Consulting Editor, TB Reporter

The Firestone St. Petersburg Grand Prix is March 11-13.

ST. PETERSBURG — A few street closures downtown tell you that the Firestone St. Petersburg Grand Prix is on its way. The event, which launches the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season, is March 11-13. It is the 13th year for the race, which has been conducted here since 2003, with a year’s absence in 2004.

The 1.8-mile, 14-turn street course will be the venue for several events during race weekend. The feature, of course, is the IndyCar Series race, scheduled to start at 12:52 p.m. March 13. In addition to several supporting auto races during the three-day motor festival, a 5K footrace is 6:30 p.m. March 11. For a complete schedule of events, visit   You can visit that same web site for information about tickets, which are available in several packages. Paddock and pit passes also can be purchased.

Cars and their teams will begin arriving a few days before the races. The first officially scheduled practice run is 7:30 a.m. March 11, but nearby #residents, downtown workers and USF St. Petersburg staff and students may start hearing preparations before then.

Sections of Bayshore Drive already have seen track construction begin, and building the course will continue during the next few days. The Dali art museum, which is on Bayshore. will be closed beginning at 4 p.m. March 10. It will remain closed March 11-13, 2016, says the museum’s web site.  Regular hours resume March 14.

Last year’s Grand Prix winner, Juan Pablo Montoya, visited St. Petersburg when track construction started earlier this month.

“It’s very nice to be here in St. Petersburg and see the racetrack, see the city,” Montoya said. “The city is really pretty. Preparing for the first race is huge, last year was a great race for me and a great crowd. Hopefully we’ll have a great crowd and a great race weekend (this year) as well.”

 St. Petersburg | Auto Racing | Firestone Grand Prix | TB Reporter

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