Pima sees Formula 1 racetrack in future

Supervisors OK search for party to build venue near fairgrounds
2013-06-06T00:00:00Z Pima sees Formula 1 racetrack in futureJoe Ferguson Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
June 06, 2013 12:00 am  • 

The world of Formula One racing could be coming to Tucson.

The Pima County Board of Supervisors has given the green light for the county economic development staff to investigate leasing 400 acres south of the Pima County Fairgrounds for open-wheel racing, and finding someone willing to build a track.

Plans are in the earliest of stages, said Tom Moulton, the director of economic development and tourism for Pima County.

The staff will spend the next three weeks drafting a plan for a long-term lease for the site, allowing a third party to build a several-mile-long track to be used for Formula One races as well as other kinds of open-wheel racing circuits.

The cost could be in the tens of millions of dollars for the developer, Moulton estimated.

The county may be able to offer some economic incentives to the developer of the racetrack, but Moulton was not prepared to elaborate.

The idea to build a world-class track, which would attract organized professional races, was borne from designing a master plan for the fairgrounds as well as surrounding the Southeast Regional Park Pima County, Moulton said.

With the paved NASCAR track at the Tucson Speedway, the Southwestern International Dragway and the Musselman Honda Circuit already at the fairgrounds, planners are looking for ways to complement existing attractions.

The county has been looking to expand racing facilities next to the fairgrounds since at least 2010, according to county documents.

With no nearby neighbors to complain about the noise, Moulton believes the fairgrounds is perfect for Formula One racing.

The proposal to build a new track is expected to go before the supervisors again in July; they will have the final say before the long-term lease is publically released.

Moulton expects to bring qualifying proposals back in the fall, although he cautions it will at least be several years before any Formula One cars will be zipping around around that particular track.

He estimated it would take at least three years before a third party could design and build a world-class facility on the site.

On StarNet: Read more local and state government and political news at azstarnet.com/politics

Contact reporter Joe Ferguson at jferguson@azstarnet.com or 573-4346.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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