Road Racing in Downtown Norfolk?

By: Bruce Rader

It almost happened in 1987, now Norfolk officials are once again talking about the possibility of bringing a road race to the streets of downtown.

WAVY-TV has learned that a group of racing enthusiasts are talking with city officials and Festevents about bringing a race to downtown perhaps in the next couple of years. It is still very much in the exploratory stage, but a spot on the Indy Car tour might be a possibility–these cars race in cities such as Birmingham and St.Petersburg, along with “big” street races in Long Beach, Detroit and Toronto. A race has been added in New Orleans this year, and through the streets of Boston next year.

Other possibilities include the American LeMans Series circuit and the Tudor Sportscar circuit which is closed wheel cars–most of these races are shown live on FOX Sports, or NBC giving the cities national attention. The pros are, Baltimore for example saw crowds of over 150,000 come out to watch races through their downtown. And saw an estimated economic impact of $130 million over three years. But it cost the city $7-million in road improvements and additional funds in city services. And downtown residents complained about the road closures and barriers put up prior to the races.

Norfolk City spokesperson Lori Crouch says the proposed project is “still in it’s infancy, and that the city and Festevents are always looking for new exciting ways to showcase downtown and bring exciting events to the city”.

So there is a lot to be discussed, before we hear the sounds of engines through downtown Norfolk.

What do you think about this development? Would you like to see race cars on the streets of Downtown Norfolk?