The overnight approval for a new NFL stadium to house the Tennessee Titans will impact the future location of the Nashville Grand Prix, but it won’t threaten the popular event’s place on the NTT IndyCar Series’ calendar.
With its current layout positioned around the Titans’ existing stadium, the Nashville Grand Prix heads into the third and final year of its contract with IndyCar for the August 4-6 Big Machine Music City GP. After its conclusion, a large section of the present layout, along with the IndyCar paddock, will be lost as construction for the team’s new home is set to begin on those grounds in mid-2024. Completion of the $2.1 billion Titans stadium is scheduled for 2027.
“We’ve been prepared for this,” Nashville GP CEO Jason Rittenberry told RACER. “And we’ve been planning with [circuit designer] Tony Cotman and myself and IndyCar and have been meeting and discussing and working on a plan for ‘24 and beyond. We are in the process of signing a new three-year extension with IndyCar, so we will continue the race and it will be a new course, but it will still be in downtown Nashville.”
In light of the positive economic impact the event has had in the Nashville area, Rittenberry’s promotions team has the backing of the city to reimagine the layout in 2024 and beyond.
“The stadium and construction obviously is going to make things a little more challenging for us,” he said. “But we have full support from the city, from the mayor, and we are moving forward. Our goal is to make some announcements prior to our event to share with the world what our plan is moving forward, but we’ve just got a few things to get signed and executed before we can do that. The good news is the race isn’t going anywhere. The city wants us here, IndyCar wants to be here, and we want to continue promoting this event, so we’re not going anywhere. We’re just going to make things a little more exciting in the future.”
The process of mapping out alternate courses has already begun, and will continue until the next design is finalized and approved by the city and series.
“It’s taking the aerial map and looking at what would work? What streets are wide enough? What’s the potential impact to businesses that are on those streets?” Rittenberry explained. “We’re very cognizant of all those things, because trying to get the city to approve us to shut down streets involves more than just the racing.
“And so things are gonna be a little bit easier this time because now the businesses are welcoming the crowds, because we bring people to town and so they’re happy to have the race go by their business now, versus before the first race, they were scared that you’re gonna close the business down for a week. And so now we can be a little more aggressive with the course and where it could go. And Tony [Cotman] has a crazy mind and has crazy ideas.”
Positive feedback has already been received from Nashville on the subject.
“So looking at what possibilities are for downtown Nashville, as you can only imagine, there are lots of opportunities,” Rittenberry continued. “And so as we start the layout, we have to make sure we keep it in the track distance that IndyCar would approve. And then Tony drives the streets and looks at the turns and sees what revisions have to be made or what construction would have to be done to make the corners and radius work. There’s just a million things that we have to take into account to define the course design, but Tony is the best and that’s why we hired him and IndyCar trusts him.
“And we’ve already met with the city, met with the mayor, and looked at potential new designs and we are very confident that we will come up with one that everyone approves of and is excited about because the race isn’t going anywhere.”
Updated to correct spelling of Nashville GP CEO Jason Rittenberry’s name.