Officials with two high-profile racing circuits are calling it “Chicago’s summer of racing,” and they were in town to tout their respective events this week.
NASCAR will hold its first-ever city-based road race in Chicago later this summer, and Sail Grand Prix will host an event off of Navy Pier in June.
“High adrenaline racing on fifty foot foiling catamarans that fly above the water powered only by nature at highway speeds,” said Todd Reynolds with Sail Grand Prix. “Sail GP travels the globe racing at iconic venues like Bermuda, Copenhagen, Saint-Tropez, Dubai, Singapore, and Sydney.”
The international sailing competition is back at Navy Pier for the second year in a row.
“The course is a little smaller, so that makes the traffic between the other boats a little heavier. You know, it’s fresh water venue so it is a little bit different. You know, the weather here is a little less predictable than sailing on the Pacific coast,” said Cooper Dressler, a competitor with Sail GP.
Similar to last year’s course, the catamarans will race inside the break wall from Navy Pier toward the museum campus and back doing laps like NASCAR drivers.
“It’s very similar to that because not only do you have fans on land watching, but you just have a ring around our race course of spectators on boats,” said Dressler.
Sail GP will race on Lake Michigan on June 16 and 17. NASCAR drivers will race through downtown Chicago on July 1 and 2 on a 12-turn, 2.2 mile course around Grant Park.
“I think our drivers are incredibly excited,” said Julie Giese, President of NASCAR’s Chicago Street Race. “To be the winner of something that’s a first in NASCAR history is incredibly special.”
It will be NASCAR’s first ever street race which is part of a three-year contract signed with former Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot.
“Our commitment hasn’t changed. We are committed to this city and to being a good community partner. We have had conversations, multiple conversations with the new administration,” Giese said.
Sail GP hasn’t announced yet if it plans to race again in Chicago next year.