Not only has driver Michael Andretti won the Toronto Grand Prix seven times, he now owns the Grand Prix Association of Toronto too. Andretti became the new corporate face of the race on Thursday, 15 May 2008. As spokesman for Andretti Green Racing, Andretti announced that the business fully intended to bring the popular race back to Toronto in the near future. However, despite being optimistic about the likelihood of such an event taking place in the future, the Indy Racing League has not confirmed anything yet.
John Griffin, acting in his capacity as vice-president of public relations for the renowned Indy Racing League, noted that Andretti had a good understanding of the League’s expectations. He further went on to suggest that the go-ahead would be issued within the next 45 days if certain details, such as an event date and the race route, could be worked out and confirmed within that time frame. In the past it was the Exhibition Grounds situated along Lake Shore Boulevard that played host to the race. Whether or not the Toronto Grand Prix stays here or moves to a new route, remains to be seen. However, all involved seem to indicate a positive outlook on the future of the race, and cars should be seen tearing around the streets of Toronto as part of the IndyCar schedule in the 2009 season if everything goes according to plan.
During the course of the press release, Andretti noted that he had always had a soft spot for the race. When racing, it was one of his favorite races of the season, and he will likely carry this enthusiasm over into his promotion of the auto racing event. This year will be the first time in 22 years that a race has not been held in Toronto. The race usually generates about $50 million for the local economy each year, so many consider it vital to see that the race is returned to the schedule. The Toronto Grand Prix was dropped earlier this year when the Indy Racing League merged with the Champ Car World Series. However, getting the legendary race back on the IRL schedule is important to the league and it shouldn’t be long before this happens.