Grand Prix of Houston
|Location||Houston, Texas, USA
|Corporate sponsor||Shell, Pennzoil|
|First IndyCar race||2013|
|Distance||147.06 miles (236.67 km)|
|Previous names||Texaco Grand Prix of Houston (1998–2000)
Texaco/Havoline Grand Prix of Houston (2001)
Grand Prix of Houston (2006–2007)
|Most wins (driver)||Sébastien Bourdais (2)|
|Most wins (team)||Team KOOL Green & Newman/Haas Racing (2)|
|Most wins (manufacturer)||Reynard (3)|
|Length||1.634 mi (2.630 km)|
The Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston is an annual auto race on the IndyCar Series circuit. It was held in a street circuit located in downtown Houston for four years, then returned after a four year hiatus for two years on a course laid out in the parking lot of the Reliant Park complex. Before resuming in 2013, the last race was held on April 22, 2007 (with the IRL merger canceling the 2008 event just two months prior to the event).
From 1998 to 2001, CART held a race on Houston's downtown streets, adjacent to the George R. Brown Convention Center. This event was sponsored by the oil company Texaco, and named the Texaco Grand Prix of Houston. However, construction in downtown Houston resulted in the race not being renewed for the 2002 CART season.
In 2005, the Champ Car World Series announced that it would be making a return to Houston in 2006; for some time, series directors had wanted to make a return to the city. The 2006 event was held on May 13 as the second round of the 2006 Champ Car schedule. However, this time the race was held on a 1.7-mile temporary street circuit on the Reliant Park complex instead of the downtown streets and was the first race held on a street course to run at night in the history of Champ Car or its precursor series (in 2003 and 2004, Champ Car ran under the lights at Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland, Ohio). Also, the American Le Mans Series held an event, the Lone Star Grand Prix, on the previous night, marking only the second time Champ Car and American Le Mans promoted their own events in the same city on the same weekend (they joined in 2003 for the Grand Prix Americas in Miami, Florida). For 2007, JAG Flocomponents picked up the naming rights to the previously unnamed street course, naming it JAGFlo Speedway at Reliant Park.
Mi-Jack Promotions had a handshake deal with IndyCar to revive the event in October 2011, however the required sponsorship was not found by June 2010. IndyCar officials announced the event will return in 2013 sponsored by Royal Dutch Shell and using a tweaked version of the 2006–2007 course. The event has a 5-year race contract through 2017 with IndyCar and Shell, using its Pennzoil brand of motor oil, is signed for 4-years as the event's title sponsor.
The Champ Car paddock was located inside Reliant Arena. In 2006, the Newman/Haas, RuSPORT, Dale Coyne, and Team Australia haulers were on the northern side, while the Forsythe, Rocketsports, PKV, and CTE-HVM teams were on the southern side.
A round of the popular Face of Champ Car beauty contest was also held during the Grand Prix weekend. Current Face of Champ Car Brandi Latimer had a visible presence at the circuit, and Brooke Adams won the Houston round of the contest. Adams was unable to complete her duties as Miss Grand Prix (she joined the ECW Wrestling League in late 2006) therefore 1st Runner Up Angela Rutledge was crowned the new queen. Rutledge, along with winners Lauren McDonald, Miss Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Long Beach, California); Skylar Starks, Miss Grand Prix of Cleveland (Cleveland, Ohio); Natalie Waples, Miss Grand Prix of Toronto (Toronto, Canada); Ashley Stewart, Miss Grand Prix of Edmonton (Edmonton, Canada); Jennifer Field, Miss San Jose Grand Prix (San Jose, California); Lauren Gardner, Miss Grand Prix of Denver (Denver, Colorado); and Sarah Buller, Bartercard Miss Indy (Surfers Paradise, Australia) traveled to Mexico City to compete to become the 2007 Face of Champ Car. Lauren Gardner from Denver won the grand final and became the 2007 Face of Champ Car. In 2008, Angela Anderson was crowned Miss Grand Prix of Houston and went on to Mexico City to win the 2008 International "Face of Champ Car". Angela Anderson came back after 5 years to give up her title during the 2013 Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston. She was involved in the promotional events and appearances leading up to the October race.
|Season||Date||Driver||Team||Chassis||Engine||Race Distance||Race Time||Average Speed
|Champ Car history|
|1998||October 4||Dario Franchitti||Team KOOL Green||Reynard||Honda||70*||106.89 (172.022)||1:36:30||66.051||Report|
|1999||September 26||Paul Tracy||Team KOOL Green||Reynard||Honda||100||152.7 (245.746)||1:55:31||78.96||Report|
|2000||October 1||Jimmy Vasser||Target Chip Ganassi Racing||Lola||Toyota||100||152.7 (245.746)||1:59:02||76.626||Report|
|2001||October 7||Gil de Ferran||Penske Racing||Reynard||Honda||100||152.7 (245.746)||1:54:42||79.521||Report|
|2006||May 13||Sébastien Bourdais||Newman/Haas Racing||Lola||Ford Cosworth||96||162.24 (261.099)||1:59:57||81.154||Report|
|2007||April 22||Sébastien Bourdais||Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing||Panoz||Cosworth||93||156.519 (251.892)||1:45:32||88.986||Report|
|IndyCar Series history|
|2013||October 5||Scott Dixon||Chip Ganassi Racing||Dallara||Honda||90||147.06 (236.67)||1:54:48||76.856||Report|
|October 6||Will Power||Penske Racing||Dallara||Chevrolet||90||147.06 (236.67)||1:52:29||78.444|
- 1998: Race shortened due to heavy rainshower that caused poor visibility.
- "City's sputtering motor sports scene may rev up". Houston Chronicle. 2010-02-09. Retrieved 2010-02-28.
- Lewandowski, Dave (March 28, 2012). "Houston, we have liftoff for October 2013 event". IndyCar Series (IndyCar). Retrieved March 28, 2012.
- Goodall, Russ (March 28, 2012). "IndyCar's coming to town: Houston race slated for 2013". Houston Chronicle. Archived from the original on November 17, 2012. Retrieved November 17, 2012.
- "First Annual Off Camber Face of Champ Car Straw Poll". Off Camber.