No title sponsor likely for Grand Prix of Baltimore

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It appears that for a third year in a row, the Grand Prix of Baltimore will be run without a title sponsor – something that the Labor Day weekend event has never had since its inception in 2011.

General manager Tim Mayer told the Baltimore Business Journal earlier this week that his group is looking for a title sponsorship in the low seven figures and that multiple companies have expressed interest to fill that role for next year’s running.

A title backer would likely ease any lingering concerns about the event’s long-term presence in the IZOD IndyCar Series. Those concerns would appear to come from the Grand Prix’s past history of financial and organizational problems.

The race’s original organizers, Baltimore Racing Development, had its contract with the City of Baltimore terminated in 2011 due to unpaid debts, and the next managing group for the event, Downforce Racing, was quickly dropped after it failed to meet benchmarks set by the city administration.

In May of 2012, Race On Baltimore and Andretti Sports Marketing stepped up to organize the race with limited time to get everything ready; the race went off, but attendance, understandably, took a drop. However, with the luxury of a full year of preparation, things appear to be looking up for the Grand Prix.

While Mayer wouldn’t give exact numbers to the BBJ, he said that ticket sales and corporate suite sales are on line to improve from last year’s marks. In addition, there’s a bigger number of said suites – always a good sign for a street race – and with a 21-day track building schedule (down from 31 days in 2012, per the BBJ), there should be less hassle for the city’s commuters.

Toyota victorious in Bahrain on Porsche’s LMP1 swansong

Toyota Motorsport GmbH
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SAKHIR, Bahrain – Toyota denied Porsche a swansong victory in its final LMP1 appearance in the FIA World Endurance Championship by taking a commanding win in the 6 Hours of Bahrain on Saturday.

Porsche started from pole in the last competitive outing for the three-time Le Mans-winning 919 Hybrid car, only to lose out to Toyota’s Sebastien Buemi within the first half an hour of the race.

Porsche lost one of its cars from contention for victory after an errant bollard got stuck underneath Timo Bernhard’s No. 2 entry, leaving Nick Tandy to lead its charge in the No. 1 car.

Tandy moved into the lead just past half distance after a bold strategy call from Porsche to triple-stint the Briton after a fuel-only stop, vaulting him ahead of Anthony Davidson in the No. 8 Toyota.

Tandy’s win hopes were soon dashed when he tangled with a GTE-Am backmarker at Turn 1, sustaining damage that forced Porsche into an unplanned pit stop that put the car a lap down.

With the No. 7 Toyota losing two laps following a clash with a GTE-Pro car earlier on, Davidson, Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima went unchallenged en route to the car’s fifth victory of the season.

Porsche rounded out the podium with its cars, with the No. 2 leading home the No. 1, leaving Toyota’s No. 7 car to settle for P4 at the checkered flag.

Vaillante Rebellion clinched the title in LMP2 after a stunning fightback led by Bruno Senna, with the Brazilian securing his maiden motorsport championship win in the process.

GTE-Pro saw AF Corse complete a hat-trick of titles in 2017, with James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi wining the class’ first world championship recognized by the FIA, while Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda sewed up the GTE-Am title.