The Music City Grand Prix, known as the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix for sponsorship reasons, is an IndyCar Series race held at the Nashville Street Circuit in Nashville, Tennessee. Marcus Ericsson won the inaugural event in 2021.

History

Background

On September 16, 2020, the IndyCar Series announced the addition of the Music City Grand Prix as a street circuit race in downtown Nashville for its 2021 schedule.[1][2] This announcement came after three years of discussion between Nashville sports and tourism officials and IndyCar executives, which had previously resulted in three failed proposals for a race in Nashville.[3][4] Two of the three failed attempts, which occurred in 2010 and 2015, respectively, were led by former Pocono Raceway president Joseph Mattioli III.[5][6] The Music City Grand Prix is privately funded and has a three-year contract for IndyCar Series races.[3][4] Nashville's successful hosting of the 2019 NFL Draft was one of the deciding factors in the race becoming a reality, according to Penske Entertainment Corporation President and CEO Mark Miles.[3][7] The Tennessee Titans serve as a host for the race.[4]

Two-time IndyCar Series champion and Nashville-area native Josef Newgarden called the race "the number-one destination outside of the Indy 500".[1] He further opined that "it is going to showcase the town of Nashville probably the best way possible."[4] Nashville mayor John Cooper called the race "a catalyst for our economic recovery".[7]

The Music City Grand Prix became the first new street circuit race for the IndyCar Series since the Grand Prix of Houston in 2013.[1][4] It also became Nashville's first IndyCar race since the Indy 200 was held at Nashville Superspeedway between 2001 and 2008.[3][8] The Music City Grand Prix was scheduled as the sixth street circuit race of the 2021 season, joining the doubleheader at Detroit along with races at Long Beach, St. Petersburg, and Toronto. All of these races have been run since at least 2012, however, and more recent events on street circuits have already become defunct, including races in Baltimore, Boston (which was never held), and Houston.[3]

Circuit design

The Nashville Street Circuit measures 2.17 miles (3.49 km) and includes 11 turns.[1][3][4] Running adjacent to Nissan Stadium, the circuit's most notable feature is its 3,578-foot (1,091 m) straightaway across the Korean War Veterans Memorial Bridge, which spans the Cumberland River.[1][4] The bridge layout makes the track the only one on the IndyCar circuit and one of the few in the world to cross a significant body of water.[3][4] Top speeds for the IndyCar race were expected to be around 200 miles per hour (320 km/h). The track varies in width from a minimum of 37 feet (11 m) to a maximum of 80 feet (24 m).[1] As at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, the Nashville Street Circuit uses a different location for starting the race (between turns 3 and 4) than the finish line.[9] Middle Tennessee State University's School of Concrete and Construction Management created concrete mixes for the track's barriers and pit row.[10] Music City Grand Prix CEO Matt Crews noted that the event organizers planned to "limit traffic interruptions as much as possible".[4] Track designer Tony Cotman intentionally avoided Nashville's major streets so as not to adversely affect tourism.[3] Discussing the design of the circuit, he called the Korean War Veterans Memorial Bridge "one of those landmarks where you see that bridge on TV or in photos and you’re going to know exactly where it is. It’s like seeing the Queen Mary in the background at Long Beach."[9] Cotman also noted that he expects turns 1, 2, and 7 to be the best passing locations on the circuit.[9]

Pundits and drivers, including former Formula One drivers Romain Grosjean and Marcus Ericsson, have compared the Nashville Street Circuit to the Baku City Circuit that hosts the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. The Nashville Street Circuit's downtown section and long straightaways on the Korean War Veterans Memorial Bridge have been compared to the castle section and long straights at Baku.[11]

Race summaries

  • 2021: The inaugural Music City Grand Prix was held at 5:30 pm EDT on August 8, 2021.[12] During the August 6–8 race weekend, the GT America series, the Trans-Am Series TA2 class, and the Stadium Super Trucks also competed as support series.[13][14][15] Marcus Ericsson took victory in the inaugural event despite being involved in an early incident in which his car became airborne after running over the car of Sebastian Bourdais. Polesitter Colton Herta lead the most laps, but crashed while attempting to retake the lead from Ericsson. Scott Dixon and James Hinchcliffe completed the podium. The race was incident-filled, with nine caution periods resulting in a total of 33 of the event's 80 laps run under caution conditions and two race stoppages.[16]
  • 2022: Scott McLaughlin qualified on pole. The race was delayed by an hour and a half due to thunderstorms, though the track was dried before the start of the race. McLaughlin held the lead through the early stint of the race before a large caution period saw Scott Dixon cycle to the front around lap 54 by virtue of being the first one to make his last pitstop. Dixon would hold the lead for the remainder of the race despite his car suffering floor damage earlier in the race that took away significant downforce. McLaughlin made a late charge to a near photo finish with Dixon by virtue of conserving his push to pass but ultimately settled for second place. Alex Palou rounded out the podium. Much like the inaugural Music City GP the race was incident filled, with eight total caution periods during the race. [17]

Race results

NTT IndyCar Series

Season Date Driver Team Chassis Engine Race Distance Race Time Average Speed
(mph)
Report
Laps Miles (km)
2021 August 8 Sweden Marcus Ericsson Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara Honda 80 173.6 miles (279.4 km) 2:18:50 72.607 Report
2022 August 7 New Zealand Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara Honda 80 173.6 miles (279.4 km) 2:06:24 79.744 Report

Support events

GT America Series

Season Date Winning Driver
2021 August 7 United States James Sofronas
August 8 United States Bret Curtis
2022 August 6 United States Onofrio Triarsi
August 7 United States Justin Wetherill

Trans-Am Series TA2

Season Date Winning Driver
2021 August 7 United States Mike Skeen
2022 August 6 United States Brent Crews

Stadium Super Trucks

Season Date Winning Driver
2021 August 7 United States Robby Gordon
August 8 United States Robert Stout
2022 August 6 Australia Matthew Brabham
August 7 United States Gavin Harlien

Indy Lights

Season Date Winning Driver
2022 August 7 Sweden Linus Lundqvist

Lap Records

The official race lap records at the Nashville Street Circuit are listed as:

Category Time Driver Vehicle Date
GP Circuit: 3.492 km (2021–present)
IndyCar 1:15.7491 Scott McLaughlin Dallara DW12 2022 Big Machine Music City Grand Prix
Indy Lights 1:20.9801[18] Sting Ray Robb Dallara IL-15 2022 Indy Lights Music City Grand Prix
GT3 1:29.057[19] Onofrio Triarsi Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 2022 Nashville GT America round
Trans-Am TA2 1:31.882[20] Connor Mosack Chevrolet Camaro Trans-Am 2022 Nashville Trans-Am round
SRO GT2 1:32.647[21] Elias Sabo Audi R8 LMS GT2 2021 Nashville GT America round
GT4 1:34.624[22] Chris Cagnazzi Mercedes-AMG GT4 2022 Nashville GT America round

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f Ryan, Nate (September 16, 2020). "IndyCar adds Nashville to its 2021 schedule with Music City GP Aug. 6-8". NBCSN. Retrieved January 23, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. ^ Blackstock, Elizabeth (September 19, 2020). "Take A Lap Around IndyCar's Music City Grand Prix Circuit In Nashville". Jalopnik. Retrieved January 23, 2021.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Brown, Nathan (September 16, 2020). "IndyCar announces 'a heck of a party' in return to Nashville for 2021 Music City Grand Prix". The Indianapolis Star. Retrieved January 23, 2021.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Organ, Mike (September 16, 2020). "IndyCar Series Grand Prix coming to Nashville in 2021 with a unique track". The Tennessean. Retrieved January 23, 2021.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. ^ Estes, Gentry (August 8, 2021). "Music City Grand Prix wasn't a race but a party, and Nashville does those well". The Tennessean. Retrieved August 11, 2021.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ Martin, Bruce (November 9, 2017). "Nashville group wants to bring major racing series to downtown Music City". Autoweek. Retrieved August 11, 2021.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. ^ a b Davis, Chris; Bowles, Laken (September 15, 2020). "IndyCar announces Music City Grand Prix race for 2021". WTVF. Retrieved January 23, 2021.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. ^ Organ, Mike (August 28, 2020). "Roger Penske, other IndyCar executives' visit brings Grand Prix closer to Nashville streets". The Tennessean. Retrieved January 23, 2021.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. ^ a b c Malsher-Lopez, David (September 17, 2020). "IndyCar's new Nashville street course: the track designer's guide". Motorsport.com. Retrieved January 23, 2021.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  10. ^ "Tennessee university tapped to help Music City Grand Prix". Associated Press. November 16, 2020. Retrieved January 23, 2021.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. ^ Smith, Fred (August 6, 2021). "IndyCar's New Nashville Circuit Looks Tight, A Little Sketchy". Road & Track. Retrieved August 28, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  12. ^ "Streets of Nashville". IndyCar Series. Retrieved January 23, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  13. ^ "Trans-Am's TA2 Class Added To Music City Grand Prix". Speed Sport. November 21, 2020. Retrieved January 23, 2021.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  14. ^ "GT America Added To Music City Grand Prix". Speed Sport. November 19, 2020. Retrieved January 23, 2021.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  15. ^ "Rev Up Nashville – 30 Days Until Green Flag for Big Machine Music City Grand Prix NTT IndyCar Series Race". Music City Grand Prix (Press release). July 8, 2021. Retrieved July 9, 2021.
  16. ^ Pruett, Marshall (August 8, 2021). "Ericsson rebounds from early crash to win wild inaugural Music City GP". Racer. Retrieved August 9, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  17. ^ Biebrich Jr., Richard. "2022 IndyCar at Nashville results: Scott Dixon drives from 14th to win Big Machine Music City Grand Prix". CBS Motorsports. CBS. Retrieved 8 August 2022.
  18. ^ "2022 Indy Lights Nashville Race Statistics". Retrieved 7 August 2022.
  19. ^ "2022 Music City Grand Prix GT America Race 1 - Classification - Provisional" (PDF). Retrieved 7 August 2022.
  20. ^ "Trans Am Championship Presented by Pirelli Big Machine Vodka SPIKED Cooler Challenge presented by Race for RP Nashville Street Circuit 2.09 Miles August 5 - 6 2022 TA2 Round 9 Official Results" (PDF). Retrieved 7 August 2022.
  21. ^ "2021 GT America Music City Grand Prix Race 1 Results". Retrieved 9 August 2021.
  22. ^ "2022 Music City Grand Prix GT America Race 2 - Classification - Provisional" (PDF). Retrieved 7 August 2022.

External links

Preceded by
Gallagher Grand Prix
IndyCar Series
Music City Grand Prix
Succeeded by
Bommarito Automotive Group 500