2.5-mile Shanghai street circuit is like no other on the CART circuit
mistake about it, I feel very strongly that CART's future is best served by
taking on a more international flair. Anyone who reads AutoRacing1
regularly knows where we stand. Recently I have been pushing for CART
to take a serious look at China, and in this report we bring you the
details, as we now know them, regarding a possible CART race in Shanghai,
Lee, President of Auto Racing Legends (ARL) recently returned from Shanghai
with a 10-year contract with the government to put on two races per year in
the streets of Pudong, a province of Shanghai. ARL, a California Corporation, has been contracted by the Shanghai City Government to co-organize this event.
The goals of the venture are to bring motor sports entertainment to the vast Chinese audience. The race circuit will be on the streets of Shanghai, a modern city with a population of 18 million. While the business section of Shanghai is a forest of skyscrapers, the race will be held in the open and park-like area of Pudong, the fastest growing financial and business district in China. The first activity, "Introduction to the Shanghai Super Prix", will be held November 30 to December 2, 2001.
It will be largely a demonstration of different forms of motorsports.
has learned that at least one CART team (Walker Racing), possibly more, will
take some Champ cars to that event. It's likely that the first
official race will be in October, 2002, an ALMS event, with CART possibly
following with a May 2003 race as a back-to-back event with Motegi,
Japan. The intention is to hold a race every May and every
October. Today I got wind that there is an outside chance we could see
CART there as early as 2002, however, that is just hearsay at this point,
but the source of the information was pretty reliable. CART's official
position at this time is that "we have spoken to Mr. Norman Lee and we
are aware of the 10-year contract his firm has in place." From
what I could gather, CART is taking a cautious, but very serious look at
China, and in particular, Shanghai. They have had several proposals on
the table by at least three different entities, but my sources tell me that
Shanghai is the only venue that has the blessings of the Shanghai government
and Beijing as
Shanghai government has given their blessings on the basic circuit layout
(see above). An Australian engineering firm (the same one that did
Surfers) is now doing the detailed engineering design and safety
drawings. They are expected to be completed within a month or two.
majority of the streets the race will be held on are 100 feet wide, but in a
couple of places they neck down to around 36 feet. You can tell by
observing the width of the green line in the layout above. We spoke
with Bill Marcel, who works for Norman Lee, and urged him to make the track
as wide as possible. We reminded him to keep in mind that perhaps the
best street circuit ever, Adelaide Australia, was very wide. The wider
it is, the more opportunity for overtaking, ala Cleveland. Mr. Marcel
said they were initially thinking about not having a 100 foot wide racing
circuit, and were going to move the barriers in to make it narrower.
Although I didn't tell him, I almost jumped through the roof when I heard
that! Let's hope they decide on nothing less than 70 feet wide.
government expects a Friday crowd of 100,000 to 150,000, and a Saturday and
Sunday crowd of 150,000 to 200,000 each day if CART comes to race
there. That is what they are planning for in year #1. That being
the case, a 500,000+ weekend crowd is likely. A similar number is
expected in Mexico City, a race that was announced today.
Interestingly, an investor on today's Mexico City press conference urged
CART to dump some of the less successful events and add more 'Mexico
City's.' Well it appears CART has one staring them right
in the face, all the more reason why Shanghai is looking better by the day.
A lot of
American readers don't know much about Shanghai, thinking China is just a
bunch of Rickshaw's and slums. I have to admit, I didn't either.
However, after reading an article about Shanghai by Jamie James called
"Shanghai Sizzles" in the May 2001 issue of
Conde Nast Traveler (I urge you to read it), I learned nothing could be
further from the truth.
has gone through a swift and stunning transformation and is expected to soon
overtake Hong Kong as China's financial gateway to the world. Every
big city is changing, but that hardly describes what's happening in
Shanghai. The city is a time machine with the gas pedal stuck to the
floor, hurtling into the future. The city has attracted some $40
billion in direct foreign investment over the last decade, more than any
other city in the world. In addition, the China government has
invested $185 billion of its own to make Shanghai not only China's leading
commercial center (which it already is), but a world-class cultural center
five years will be even more interesting as China's leaders have every
intention to raise Shanghai to the status of a Tokyo, Paris or even NY
City. New deals are announced almost weekly. With a German firm,
the City will build the world's first magnetic levitation train line at a
cost of over $1 billion to tie into its new $2 billion airport.
Perhaps this will put it in better perspective for you - 25% of all the
construction cranes now in operation in the world are in Shanghai!
Stop and think about that for a moment. The pace of change is so
rapid, it's said the locals sometimes get disoriented.
itself will be in Pudong proper, just across the river from downtown
Shanghai. The development of the Pudong New Area is the world's most
grandiose building project since the Great Wall of China was built (yes, you
read that right!). This special economic zone is a sprawling new city,
a financial center planned to rival not only Hong Kong, but Wall
Street. The architecture of Pudong is extraordinarily sophisticated,
from the bizarre to the ridiculous. And Shanghai people keep their
city spic-n-span clean.
On a more cautious
note, political corruption is a serious problem for Western business
throughout most of China, however, the government in Shanghai is relatively
clean, so if CART is going to race in China, Shanghai is likely the best
is a great club scene, as one resident put it - "the whole City
is a buzz, and a very cosmopolitan way of life." We bring you the
rest of our story in these incredible photos of Shanghai, hopefully a future
destination for one of CART's most grandiose races.
Green of Lujiazui,
a section of Pudong
Link to Yan' an and
Peoples Square, Spring
Shanghai Grand Theater
Shanghai Grand Theater
Shanghai Museum, displays
treasures of the east
Skyscrapers in Lujiazui
TV Pearl Tower
& Huangpu River
Yang Pu Bridge
Yu Yuan (Garden of Happiness)
across the river where CART would race
$2 Billion Airport
the HaungPu River
The author can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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