Port Imperial Street Circuit

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The Port Imperial Street Circuit[2] 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,[3] 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.[4][5][6][7][8][9][10]

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.[9] The race was repeatedly added then removed from future Formula One provisional calendars, and dropped completely from even the provisional calendar by 2016.[11]

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.[12]

Location and design[edit]

The junction of Boulevard East and Hillside Avenue at the circuit's highest point

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.[1]

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.[1][13] The elevation change from Port Imperial to the Palisades, some 150 feet (46 meters),[14] would give the circuit one of the greatest elevation changes on the calendar.[15]

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.[1][16]

Promotional runs[edit]

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.[17] Commenting on the elevation changes and turns he said he was reminded of the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps and the Circuit de Monaco.[18][19][20][21] 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.[17] 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.[22][23][24]

Construction planning[edit]

The Weehawken Port Imperial ferry terminal, adjacent to the start/finish line

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.[25] The circuit will consist entirely of existing roads, removing the need to build any sections of circuit exclusively for the race,[1] with the exception of the pit lane.[26] A contract between the municipalities and the race promoters was signed in June 2013.[27] 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.[28][29]

Construction of a previously planned parking garage at the NY Waterway ferry terminal began in July 2012,[30] which is intended for use as race headquarters and paddock,[31][32][33] with space for twenty-four pit garages.[34] As envisioned, the ground floor of the building will normally function as retail space, to be transformed each year for use by the race.[31] Construction was completed in the Summer of 2013. In November 2013 ground was broken for two hotels to be built above the parking facility.[35]

Resurfacing and other work on the roads to be used was planned for August to November 2013.[36][37] 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.[31]

It was considered for the barriers used for the defunct Valencia Street Circuit to be used for the circuit.[38][39]

Formula E[edit]

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.[40][41] 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.[12]


  1. ^ a b c d e Baime, A.J. (25 October 2011). "Formula One Roars To Banks of Hudson". The Wall Street Journal. News Corporation. Retrieved 26 October 2011.
  2. ^ Diegel, Amanda (25 October 2011). "Announcing the Grand Prix Of America". Aerys Sports. Archived from the original on 25 April 2012. Retrieved 27 October 2011.
  3. ^ Elizalde, Pablo (25 October 2011). "New Jersey confirms F1 grand prix from the 2013 season". autosport.com. Haymarket Publications. Retrieved 26 October 2011.
  4. ^ "New Jersey Grand Prix to be postponed until 2014". Autosport.com. Haymarket Publications. 19 October 2012. Retrieved 19 October 2012.
  5. ^ "World Motor Sport Council A meeting of the FIA World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) took place today (27 September) in Dubrovnik, Croatia". Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile. 2013-09-27. Retrieved 2013-10-15.
  6. ^ Strunsky, Steve (December 4, 2013). "It's official: N.J. grand prix won't run in Hudson County in 2014". The Jersey Journal. Retrieved 2013-12-05.
  7. ^ "The final 2013 meeting of the FIA World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) took place today (4 December) in Paris, France" (Press release). FIA. December 4, 2013. Retrieved 2013-12-04.
  8. ^ Lin, Jonathan (December 4, 2013). "Ecclestone: 'No doubt' Port Imperial F1 race will take place in 2015 despite latest postponement". The Jersey Journal. Retrieved 2013-12-04.
  9. ^ a b Sylt, Christian (December 24, 2013). "New Jersey Grand Prix organizers in breach of contract says Ecclestone Formula One boss says if another group wants to take over Grand Prix of America, 'they can have it'". Auto Week. Archived from the original on June 8, 2014. Retrieved 2013-12-24.
  10. ^ Strunsky, Steve (December 24, 2013). "Formula 1 welcoming new NYC-area race proposals, report says". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved 2013-12-24.
  11. ^ "World Motor Sport Council 2014 - Beijing" (Press release). FIA. September 4, 2014. Retrieved 2014-09-12.
  12. ^ a b "Formula E reveals New York street circuit". speedcafe.com. Retrieved 22 September 2016.
  13. ^ Torres, Agustin C. (25 October 2011), "Formula One racing is a done deal for Hudson County's 'Monte Carlo'", The Jersey Journal, retrieved 2011-10-29
  14. ^ Maher, John (25 October 2011). "New Jersey will host second F1 event in U.S." Austin American-Statesman. Austin, TX. Archived from the original on 28 October 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-26.
  15. ^ Greene, Tony (14 April 2011). "Vox Certatus: 'Texas is flat so there will be no elevation changes'". Formula1Blog. Archived from the original on 2 April 2012. Retrieved 2011-10-26.
  16. ^ Pope, Gennarose (30 October 2011), "Three-day race hits local streets in 2013", Hudson Reporter, retrieved 2011-11-05
  17. ^ a b Zeitlinger, Ron (August 30, 2012). "Slick new video shows Red Bull F1 car racing through Hudson County". The Jersey Journal. Retrieved 2013-06-15.
  18. ^ Mayersohn, Norman (June 12, 2012). "Sebastian Vettel Gets Loose on the Grand Prix Circuit in New Jersey". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-06-13.
  19. ^ Benson, Andrew (June 13, 2012). "F1 champion Sebastian Vettel happy with New Jersey circuit". BBC. Retrieved 2013-06-13. 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.
  20. ^ Stunsky, Steve (June 11, 2012). "Formula 1 champ races through Grand Prix test run in Weehawken, West New York". the Jersey Journal. Retrieved 2013-03-20.
  21. ^ Torres, Augustin (June 11, 2012). "F1 driver takes me along on a test run of the Grand Prix of America route in North Hudson". The Jersey Journal. Retrieved 2013-03-22.
  22. ^ Scrivner, Micheal (August 15, 2012). "Formula 1 Grand Prix driver tests out portions of Hudson County race course". The Jersey Journal. Retrieved 2013-03-22. ...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.
  23. ^ Roberts, Christine (August 16, 2012). "Go Speed Racer Go! Pro driver whizzes through Lincoln Tunnel - in under 30 seconds". The Daily News. Retrieved 2013-06-15.
  24. ^ "David Coulthard drives F1 car at 190mph through Lincoln Tunnel in New York". The Telegraph. August 17, 2012. Retrieved 2013-06-15.
  25. ^ Strunsky, Steve (June 7, 2013). "Local Formula 1 organizer says he has new contract, NJ race on schedule for June 2014". Jersey Journal. Retrieved 2013-06-07.
  26. ^ "Formula One To Race In New Jersey In 2013". SPEED Channel. 25 October 2011. Archived from the original on 26 October 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-27.
  27. ^ Torres, Augustin C. (June 22, 2013). "Political Insider: Weehawken and West New York sign new 15-year contract with F1 race promoters". The Jersey Journal. Retrieved 2013-11-15.
  28. ^ Wenik, Ian (June 9, 2013). "Open at last - After long wait, pedestrian bridge connects light rail and ferry". Hudson Reporter. Retrieved 2013-07-11.
  29. ^ Cichowksi, John (June 11, 2013). "Road Warrior: $9.7M footbridge needs more feet". The Record. Retrieved 2013-07-11.
  30. ^ Cahn Roundup (July 7, 2011). "Weehawken Twp. and Roseland Property Company Break Ground on Ferry Parking Garage at Port Imperial". Retrieved 2013-04-25.
  31. ^ a b c Jones, Satcy (July 8, 2012). "New Jersey's Gold Coast prepares for roaring engines of Formula One racers with eye on 2013 start". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved 2013-03-20.
  32. ^ Pope, Jennifer (December 31, 1969 [sic]). "Building boom on the waterfront". Hudson Reporter. Retrieved 2013-03-22. ... 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: |date= (help)
  33. ^ Strunsky, Steve (May 8, 2013). "N.J. Formula 1 race, more bumps in the road". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved 2013-05-08.
  34. ^ Baine, A.J. (7 June 2013). "N.J. Formula One Race Is 'Definitely On'". The Wall Street Journal. Lex Fenwick. Retrieved 8 June 2013.
  35. ^ Sibayan, Rose (November 14, 2013). "Weehawken breaks ground for two hotels to rise above Port Imperial parking garage". The Jersey Journal. Retrieved 2013-11-16.
  36. ^ "FORMULA 1: Bus Route Nos. 23, 128, 165, 166 and 168: Boulevard East Detours due to Construction Work for Formula 1 - Beginning Mid-August 2013" (Press release). New Jersey Transit. August 13, 2013. Retrieved 2013-08-31.
  37. ^ Mai, HJ (March 8, 2013). "New Jersey F1 Race Promoter Hindery Jr. Says 'We Are Back Under Construction'". SportsBusiness Journal. Retrieved March 8, 2013.
  38. ^ "Valencia F1 barriers to be used at New Jersey F1 track". Grand Prix 47. October 18, 2013. Retrieved 2013-10-31.
  39. ^ Seward, John (October 25, 2013). "How recycling can help new F1 circuits prosper". Auto Car. Retrieved 2013-10-31.
  40. ^ Sylt, Christian (March 28, 2014). "Formula E "Working With New York" On Street Race". Forbes. Retrieved 2014-04-05.
  41. ^ Strunsky, Steve (April 4, 2014). "Formula E could replace F-1 as New York's grand prix, report says". The Jersey Journal. Retrieved 2014-04-05.

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