JANUARY 13, 1997
IMSA buys classic North American circuits
THERE have been some interesting developments in recent days with IMSA's parent company the International Motorsports Speedway Group (IMSG) announcing that it has bought two of North America's most famous racing circuits: Sebring in Florida and Mosport Park in Canada.
IMSA has also appointed Jack Long to be its new chief executive. Long has been working until recently with Tony George on the Indy Racing League, but prior to that was a troubleshooter for F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone. Long was involved with F1 in Long Beach - close to where his Redondo Beach-based public relations company was based - and went on to manage the Las Vegas, Dallas and Detroit GPs. He was promoter of the Canadian GP in 1988 and of the United States GP in Phoenix.
There have been rumors in recent months that Long was about to get involved with Ecclestone once again - plans to hold F1 races in Disneyworld and Las Vegas both having run into difficulties.
It may be a coincidence but the first Canadian GP was held at Mosport in 1957 and the first United States GP took place at Sebring in 1959. Ecclestone has been saying in recent years that he wants to get F1 back into America on decent circuits and not on streets as has been the case. Mosport is a spectacular and scenic facility which is only 60 miles from the city of Toronto, while Sebring is an old airfield where there is enormous scope for laying out an exciting track design.
Could it be that IMSA and Ecclestone are working on a long-term plan to get Formula 1 back into the United States and Canada, on famous motor racing circuits?