JULY 10, 2000
The German GP at the Lausitzring
The CART event is being supported by the regional government of Brandenburg, which has invested around $150m in the facility and now needs to attract big events to justify the money spent.
The Lausitzring is making no secret of the fact that it is bidding for the German Grand Prix in 2002 and while the Hockenheim authorities initially tried to brush the challenge off, it is now becoming clear that they may not be able to compete as they do not have the necessary backing to upgrade the track and to meet the financial demands of F1 promoter BernieÊEcclestone.
The Lausitzring also has a number of important advantages over Hockenheim for a lot of the F1 sponsors. The track was designed to attract tourism to the scenic Lausitzer hills, which lie 60 miles to the south of Berlin, and so create jobs in one of Germany's poorest areas. The intention of the circuit was to attract crowds from the city, which has a population of 3.5m, but it is a very long way from Germany's other big cities in the west and the catchment area includes Prague in the CzechÊRepublic (1.2m people) and the Polish cities of Wroclaw (641,000) and Poznan (582,000) which are much closer. These cities are very attractive to many of the big F1 sponsors which are targeting the old Eastern bloc.
The Lausitzring, which has a crowd capacity of 120,000, will officially open in August.