In just a couple of seasons, the Grand Prix of Baltimore (Sun., 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN) has made plenty of headlines for both good and bad reasons.
The races themselves have been entertaining thanks to a relatively wide circuit with multiple passing zones, but financial issues involving past race organizers have, at times, overshadowed the on-track action.
This recent article should give you a basic understanding of those latter problems, so we’ll move our focus to the Baltimore layout, which will play host this weekend to not only the IZOD IndyCar Series but also its main development league, Firestone Indy Lights, and the American Le Mans Series as well.
Winding along Baltimore’s famed Inner Harbor and past Oriole Park at Camden Yards, the circuit boasts two exceptional passing zones with the right-hander at Turn 1 off the main straight and another right-hander at the Turn 3 hairpin, which comes after a shorter stretch.
A potential trouble spot comes later on at the Turn 5-6-7 complex, which is situated near the entrance to pit road. This part of the course was tweaked (as was Turn 1) prior to last year’s race to increase passing, but it’s still a tough left/right/left section that can wind up causing problems.
Porsche will skip Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race with its two GTLM cars at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course after three positive COVID-19 tests were confirmed during the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
That resulted in Porsche choosing to pull out of the Nurburgring 24 Hour endurance race in Germany, electing to avoid sending any team members as a precautionary measure.
Porsche Motorsport announced Tuesday that its COVID-19 decision also would apply at Mid-Ohio to its No. 911 and No. 12 teams.
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Three of Porsche’s four IMSA GTLM drivers — Laurens Vanthoor, Frederic Makowiecki and Nick Tandy — also were racing in Le Mans. The trio has remained isolated in Europe and won’t be allowed to travel.
“Based on yesterday’s decision that no employee or racing driver of our Le Mans team will participate in the Nürburgring 24 Hours, we have today decided that this ruling will also apply to the upcoming IWSC race in Mid-Ohio,” Fritz Enzinger, vice president for Porsche Motorsport, said in a release. “This means that Laurens, Nick and Fred will not be traveling to the USA.
“This is very regrettable, but we would like to emphasize that in this case as well the health of all those concerned is the prime focus of the decisions we have taken.”
The decision also affects Earl Bamber, who teamed with Vanthoor to win the GTLM championship last year in the No. 912.
Porsche said its GTLM Porsche 911 RSR-19 entries will return for the Oct. 10 race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.
That will reduce the GTLM class to four cars — two Corvettes and two BMWs — this weekend at Mid-Ohio, in what could be somewhat of a 2021 preview. Porsche Motorsport announced earlier this year that it will leave IMSA after the 2020 season because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.