Honda Racing / IZOD IndyCar Series / RacingLine
Andretti Green Promotions and Honda both know a good thing when they see it, so they agreed to once again become partners in an IndyCar race with lots of history.
The Honda Indy Toronto will be promoted by AGP and held July 10-12, 2009. It is one of the two old/new venues that will be visited by the unified IndyCar Series next year.
With the addition of the Long Beach Grand Prix, the '09 schedule will include 18 races, comprising a diverse mix of road courses, street circuits and ovals.
After North American open-wheel racing was unified early in 2008, a couple of mainstays on the old Champ Car circuit didn't appear on the amended schedule, due to date conflicts or prior contracts. But Toronto had always been a popular venue, and the AGP team set about putting it back in play.
"This has always been a place to race and it's great for everyone that is a fan of IndyCar racing in Toronto," said Michael Andretti, president and CEO of Andretti Green and a seven-time winner of the Toronto event under CART sanctioning. "Honda has been a great partner of ours for years and this will take that partnership deeper into the future.
"Andretti Green and Honda plan to do great things with this event and everyone associated with it is very excited for July, 2009 to get here." AGR signed a multi-year agreement with Honda Canada for the title sponsorship rights to the company's IndyCar Series event.
"We are very pleased to be sponsoring this exciting event, which has been one of the top attractions in Ontario since it first roared to life in 1986," said Jerry Chenkin, executive vice president of Honda Canada Inc. "We salute Andretti Green for its commitment to bring the IndyCar Series to the streets of Toronto."
The Honda Indy Toronto is the most recent addition to Andretti Green's event-promotions business unit. The company began operating the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in 2005 on the downtown streets of St. Petersburg, Fla. That event recently received the distinction of being named as the 2009 IndyCar Series season-opener.
Honda employs more than 22,000 Canadians, buys $1.1 billion of goods and materials annually from Canadian-based suppliers, and manufactures about 390,000 vehicles per year. Honda Canada began operations in 1969, selling motorcycles and power equipment. Four years later, the Civic was the first car to be sold by Honda in Canada. Today, more than 170,000 Honda cars and trucks are sold in Canada annually.
"The Honda brand is very powerful and is one of the true driving forces behind the growth and success of the IndyCar Series," said Kevin Savoree, co-owner and president of Andretti Green Promotions. "Andretti Green and Honda have a long legacy of successful partnership and the Honda Indy Toronto will benefit immeasurably from the strength of our relationship.
"Not only has Honda Canada lent its name and mark to this event, but they also plan to engage our fans in a big way. The next several months promise to be a very exciting time for IndyCar Series fans in Toronto and Ontario."
After the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg kick starts '09 on April 5, the IndyCar Series heads to Long Beach for the first time. The Long Beach Grand Prix was a CART/Champ Car stronghold from 1984-2008, and Champ Car ran its final race of 2008 on the scenic street course.
The first oval of the year, at Kansas on April 26, will be the precursor to the 93rd Indianapolis 500.
The IndyCar event at Twin Ring Motegi will move from spring to fall (Sept. 19) before the season finale in Homestead, Fla. on Oct. 10.