Circuit type: Temporary street course
The Music City Grand Prix will mark the first new Indycar street race announced since Roger Penske took over the helm of the organisation and promises to be a great event. With a course that features long straights and passes over the Cumberland River twice, a short distance away from the hub of the downtown area, the Nashville Street Circuit looks set to add something a little different to the calendar.
In fact, the main straight is longer than that found at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and more than 1,650 feet of the circuit is located on bridges, utilising the Korean Veteran's Memorial Bridge in both directions. Part of the 2.17 mile circuit also passes the Nissan Stadium, home of the Tennessee Titans, so there is plenty of variety to the backdrop.
Announced in September 2020, the first race has been scheduled for August 8, 2021. COVID-19 restrictions notwithstanding, race promoters hope for over 100,000 fans to attend as part of a three day festival event combining racing with good food and live music (the city's trademark).
The track has been designed by go-to Indycar street circuit guru, Tony Cotman, whose NZR Consulting Company has also been responsible for layouts at Baltimore, Edmonton, Sao Paulo and the aborted Boston Indycar race, among others. Cotman had actually been considering designs for the Nashville race for a number of years but, with city officials initially reluctant to allow use of the Korean Veteran's Memorial Bridge, felt the resulting designs were too 'Mickey Mouse' to be suitable for racing.
The startline is located on the Memorial Bridge itself, though the finish is located in front of the Nissan Stadium and the pit area, in order to ensure fans in the grandstands and suites can see the race finish in full.
Turn 1 of the new course is where the action is expected to focus, with an 80 feet wide corner entry being among the widest on the calendar. For that reason there will be a number of grandstands located in the area.
Work is ongoing on resurfacing some of the roads that will make up the track, along with some alterations to the infrastructure which will be required for safety. Betweens Turn 1 and 2 are a particular focus as construction vehicles for a new hotel have taken a heavy toll on the existing road surface, while there's also some widening schedules in front of the stadium between Turns 3 and 4.
Further resurfacing is also needed in the Turn 7-10 area, while Cotman confirms there will also be some grinding required to iron out some bumps.
The Music City Grand Prix will feature the stars of the Indycar series, along with a supporting cast of GT cars from the GT America sprint championship and the TransAm series.
The Music City Grand Prix will be staged on a temporary circuit in downtown Nashville and around the Nissan Stadium campus. The nearest airport is Nashville International, only seven miles from the downtown area where the race is based.
There are numerous parking lots available during the event, in and around Nissan Stadium, while for Lyft, Uber, taxis, and other rideshare services, there are several drop off points located around the circuit perimeter. See the event website for details.