ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The 16th annual Grand Prix of St. Petersburg was supposed to kick off the IndyCar season on March 15, but the pandemic forced the race to be postponed at the 11th hour.
Now, it's scheduled for October 25, turning it into the season finale for the first time ever.
Two-time race winner and St. Petersburg resident Sebastien Bourdais is just happy to get back on the track in front of the home fans.
"All sports without the fans, really. We’re missing a massive piece of the puzzle," Bourdais said. "It’s just great to maybe feel like things are going to maybe start to catch up a little bit with normalcy. Can’t wait to see people enjoying some racing, being outside, and staying safe at the same time."
All fans in attendance will be required to wear masks indoors and outdoors.
Construction of the 1.8 miles, 14-turn track is on a shorter timetable than usual. IndyCar estimates a 25-day window for construction, but St. Petersburg only has 18.
Structures include seven grandstands, five bridges to the infield, 18,000 feet of concrete blocks (weighing 20 million pounds), 40,000 feet of chain-link fencing and more than 12,000 tires for the track's safety system.
Josef Newgarden won this race last year. Bourdais won back-to-back titles in 2017 and 2018, and he's looking to join Helio Castroneves (2006, '07, '12) as the only three-time winners at St. Petersburg.