The Fylde, Wednesday: A1 Grand Prix bosses told journalists today that they are hoping a proposed new race on the streets of Blackpool will eventually become as famous in motor racing as the Le Mans 24 Hours, the Daytona 500 and the Monaco Grand Prix.
The glittering (no, seriously) seaside resort, popular in the 1950s with tourists from as far away as Preston and Manchester, has hoped for many years to recapture its former glory as some kind of cheap British version of Las Vegas. Town planning officials are now very confident that the planned A1GP event will attract crowds of tourists and bring much-needed income into the declining seafront area.
“We want Blackpool to be as well-known in the motor racing world as Monaco,” a spokesman for the town council told us today, “although probably without all the tax-dodging superstars driving round in their Mercs and Porsches. They can take the tram like everybody else,” he hastily added.
The circuit’s layout has yet to be confirmed, though a long blast along the town’s famous promenade, past landmarks such as Blackpool Tower and a couple of dilapidated amusement arcades, seems inevitable. Legendary racetrack designer Hermann Tilke has already reportedly been invited to “stay the hell away” from the circuit’s designs.
A1GP’s last attempt to construct a Monaco-style street event, on the streets of Beijing, proved disastrous when the track was discovered to be too narrow for cars to properly negotiate a hairpin bend. Councillors in Blackpool, however, are reportedly confident that they can learn from Beijing’s mistakes, with the town recruiting advisors who were involved in the Chinese circuit’s construction, who have apparently travelled “all the way from Morecambe Bay” to assist in the project.
A1GP officials are enthusiastic that the event be included as the season opener when the circuit opens in 2010, but whether this will become a reality is uncertain given that such an event would interfere with Blackpool’s famous illuminations, reportedly not bright enough to support the prospect of a night race.