Just about every red-blooded boy, lot's of men, a few girls, and probably thousands of women, have dreamed of turning the downtown streets of Nashville into an IndyCar course. For those of you who are from other areas, perhaps the dream was on the downtown streets of Seattle, Atlanta or Tampa? Regardless of where that dream was… it came true for several tens of thousands of spectators over this past weekend in Middle Tennessee (scroll down for photos).
For those who have never been to the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix, the 2.17-mile road course is literally on the streets of downtown Nashville. Being in the middle of the race, almost feels as if you have stepped into a street racer video game that started in 2021, is literally the downtown streets of Nashville.
The big news at the race this past weekend, is that officials revealed plans of the NTT IndyCar Series taking on a brand-new course in 2024, with a brand-new purpose. The September 15, 2024 event will have cars zooming past Honky Tonks, Hard Rocks and Margarita’s for their grand finale race!
The NTT IndyCar Series will move its season finale to Nashville in 2024, with the race taking place on a new seven-turn, 2.17-mile course that will run through the heart of the city's famous neon nightlife district on Broadway and past the Country Music Hall of Fame.
The race will be held on September 15, 2024, and will be followed by the IndyCar awards ceremony the following night. The race will be music to your ears, because the 2024 Awards Ceremony will be inside the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, one block away from the Country Music Hall of Fame.
The race brings thousands of tourists to not only Nashville, but also to hotels in the Murfreesboro and Smyrna areas. According to the most recent statistics, Rutherford County ranked 7th in the state for dollars generated by tourism. According to the state, the annual amount of money spent by visitors to Rutherford County increased by 34% between 2020 and 2021. A total of $643-Million was spent by guests in Rutherford County in 2021, which is $162-million more than 2020. Numbers for 2022 will be released later this month.
The new course will start with a left turn onto Korean War Veterans Boulevard and then a slight turn onto the 1,600-foot bridge that is 192 feet above the river. After reaching the stadium side (which is where the pit lane and paddock area will remain), it's a quick hairpin back over the bridge and into downtown.
Then it's a right on 1st Avenue, a left for three blocks on Broadway and a left on 4th Avenue to the finish line just before Demonbreun Street and the Bridgestone Tower.
The move to Nashville is a major coup for the IndyCar Series, as the city is a major tourist destination and has a strong motorsport following. The new course is also expected to provide exciting racing, as it will feature a mix of high-speed straightaways and tight corners.
The 2024 season finale in Nashville is sure to be a major event, and it will be interesting to see how the new course challenges the drivers and teams.
On an interesting sidenote, Penske Entertainment CEO Mark Miles once suggested that Nashville could one day rival F1 in Monaco. Even those who don’t follow racing have heard of the Monaco Grand Prix. That particular race is held on the Circuit de Monaco and has been home to some of the most significant automobile races in history. It is also considered to be the most prestigious location to hold a race since 1929, according to many.
Monaco is an independent and sovereign country that is located on the northern coast of the beautiful Mediterranean Sea. Monaco borders France, and Italy is just 10-miles away. Italy is home to legendary racing cars like Ferrari, Lamborghini and Maserati, just to name a few. While the Monaco Grand Prix has the Mediterranean Sea in view, drivers in Nashville will be able to cruise over Nashville’s sea, known as the Cumberland River. They will also race past tons of neon lights and take in lots of guitar pickin’.
Photos from the Trans Am Series Below (Photos by Scott Walker):