The Grand Prix of Baltimore storms thru Charm City
by Ken Visser
This past weekend most of Maryland saw (and heard) the exciting Grand Prix of Baltimore. And as the name suggests, this was a true road circuit run thru the streets Charm City.
The race course was shared with the American Le Mans Series along with the IZOD Indycar series as well as the IMSA GTR3 Cup Challenge and the Firstone Indy Lights Series. I was lucky enough to get one of the coveted All Access passes combined with a photo vest. The vest got me into the interior spots next to the track, along side the SCCA workers.
The track was a Balitimore sight seeing trip around Camden Yards and the water front. What an amazing scene with cars flying by the Convention Center and boats parked nearby.
The Dempsey Racing team proved to have it's nose in the middle of the race, literarlly. They qualified in 8th position and fought their way to 4th place in the highly competitive GTC class.
It was a real treat to see multiple manufacturers competing on the streets of Baltimore.
There was a pair of BMW Z 4 GTE that were extremely competitive and bravely driven hard during the race. Number 55 qualified a half second in front of the Corvettes. The Z4's had to settle for third and fourth behind the Vettes.
I spoke with Jan Magnussen, a Scandanavian driver of the class winning number 3. When I inquired as to the massive horsepower, he answered in typical racer form "It could do to have a bit more".
The prototypes were the big boys on the course. They were a good 3 to 5 seconds faster than the majority of the field. And that's what makes the ALMS series so compelling, faster cars hurtling around the slower vehicles. You really have to watch your mirrors.
It seems the Grand Prix at Baltimore was a great success. Walk up ticket sales were greatly improved and many families seemed to enjoy the Fun Zone. I hope this event is able to come back to Baltimore next year and Patrick Dempsey's team is part of the action.
If you love the tension and drama of Grand Prix racing, don't forget to check out part two of Velocity Channel's Patrick Dempsey: Racing Le Mans this Wednesday night at 10|9c.