Port Imperial Street Circuit
The Port Imperial Street Circuit was a 2011 plan for a 3.2-mile (5.2 km) motor racing circuit in Weehawken and West New York, New Jersey, in the United States, to be constructed on the Hudson Waterfront around Weehawken Port Imperial.
It was first announced in October 2011 to host the Grand Prix of America, a race of the FIA Formula One World Championship. Originally intended to debut on the calendar in 2013, the race was subject to a series of postponements and delays stemming from financial difficulties, failure to obtain approval from the FIA, a lack of preparedness from organisers, and a contractual dispute.
When the inaugural 2013 race was dropped from the calendar, Formula One President and CEO Bernie Ecclestone stated that the promoters were in breach of contract and that new proposals from other parties would be welcome. The race was repeatedly added then removed from future Formula One provisional calendars, and dropped completely from even the provisional calendar by 2016.
In 2014, Formula E chief executive Alejandro Agag revealed that he had been working with promoters to bring that series to the proposed Port Imperial Circuit, but later (2016) settled on a circuit in the Brooklyn industrial area instead after the continued failure to launch the Formula One race.
Location and design
The site of the circuit was made after several years of searching for an appropriate venue in the New York Metropolitan Area and was chosen for its location near the Hudson River and Hudson Palisades, offering sweeping skyline views, elevation changes and access to public transportation.
The circuit, designed by German track designer Hermann Tilke, will run clockwise. The start line is planned to be located next to the NY Waterway ferry terminal, with the pits and paddock located between the ferry terminal and Port Imperial Boulevard. The first sector of the circuit will run along the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway, designed to allow the cars to race through Port Imperial before climbing the Hudson Palisades along Pershing Road. The circuit will then follow Boulevard East north to Donnelly Memorial Park where it will turn right and descend Hillside Avenue to a hairpin turn adjacent to the West New York sewage treatment plant. The circuit will then return south to the ferry terminal via Port Imperial Boulevard. The elevation change from Port Imperial to the Palisades, some 150 feet (46 meters), would give the circuit one of the greatest elevation changes on the calendar.
Although the circuit will pass residential areas, residents will not be cut off from their homes; the organizers plan to provide access to the seven affected residences. The organizers further plan to fund the race without any public money.
In June 2012, Sebastian Vettel did a promotional test run along the proposed route describing it as "exceptional" before going on to add that it would become a favourite among drivers. Commenting on the elevation changes and turns he said he was reminded of the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps and the Circuit de Monaco. According to Vettel, the circuit will be made up of "quick, floating corners", and he expects cars will reach speeds of over 200 mph, with the net result being that the circuit will reward the bravest drivers. In August 2012, David Coulthard drove portions of the course to test out the roadways as part of the creation of a promotional video for Red Bull Racing featuring the street circuit and environs.
Event organiser Leo Hindery announced in June 2013 that the race has received all necessary local permits and that 31 contractors were engaged in preparation work for the course. The circuit will consist entirely of existing roads, removing the need to build any sections of circuit exclusively for the race, with the exception of the pit lane. A contract between the municipalities and the race promoters was signed in June 2013. That month, a long-awaited bridge between the building and the Port Imperial Hudson–Bergen Light Rail station, seen as an important component of public access to the circuit was opened.
Construction of a previously planned parking garage at the NY Waterway ferry terminal began in July 2012, which is intended for use as race headquarters and paddock, with space for twenty-four pit garages. As envisioned, the ground floor of the building will normally function as retail space, to be transformed each year for use by the race. Construction was completed in the Summer of 2013. In November 2013 ground was broken for two hotels to be built above the parking facility.
Resurfacing and other work on the roads to be used was planned for August to November 2013. In order to create a smooth surface, repaving was to be done in a staggered line or "echelon" so that asphalt will not cool as lanes are poured. It remained to be determined whether potential obstacles such as fire hydrants and traffic lights would have been moved.
According to a March 2014 report in Forbes, Formula E chief executive Alejandro Agag revealed that he had been working with promoters to bring the series to the New York area, but that he was waiting to see how the financial situation surrounding the Grand Prix was resolved before he could commit to bringing the Formula E series to the city. With the continued failure to launch the Formula One race, with associated development of the Port Imperial Street Circuit, Agag later (2016) settled on a circuit that will utilize the Brooklyn industrial area instead.
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The change of elevation is something we really enjoy. A street circuit is always special. It's always very technical. You have these bumps built in and even if you resurface the track, you still have these bumps but it's part of the track. It gives the circuit a bit of soul and it's good for us for orientation and even if it feels rough it belongs to the circuit.
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...tested sections of the proposed 3.1-mile race course...to see how a high performance vehicle would react to imperfections in the roadways. "We were wondering about the cracks and everything in the roads, but I don't think they're an issue.
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... an 800-space parking garage and headquarters for the 2013 Port Imperial Grand Prix Formula One race is heading toward completion as well.Check date values in:
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Port Imperial Street Circuit.|
- Donahue, Brian (October 31, 2011), "New Jersey's Grand Prix of America Formula 1 racetrack: the pedal power tour", The Star-Ledger
- Kilgannon, Corey (November 7, 2011), "Imagining Local Roads as the Scene of a Race", The New York Times
- Port Imperial Street Circuit on Google Maps