many IndyCar vehicles line up for the beginning of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

Feb 28, 2025 – Mar 2, 2025
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Note: The information below is for the 2024 races. Dates are set for February 28 - March 2 in 2025. More details will be announced for 2025 at a later time.


2024 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Brings IndyCar excitement to the Downtown Waterfront, March 7-10

Downtown St. Pete will become a mecca for race fans for the 20th consecutive time March 8-10, 2024, as its streets are transformed into an IndyCar auto-racing track for the 2024 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, part of North America’s top open-wheel racing series. The race is a huge draw: Attendance at the 2023 event was an estimated 200,000-plus people over the three-day weekend, breaking the previous year’s record.

Excitement builds in the city as luxury yachts fill downtown marinas and race drivers, teams and well-heeled fans arrive for Florida’s only IndyCar race. The annual St. Pete competition is the first race in the 17-race 2024 NTT IndyCar Series. The St. Pete race is in good company: The series includes street races in Long Beach, California; Detroit, Michigan; and Toronto. The Indianapolis 500, which lent its name to the series, is the best known of the series’ races on oval tracks.

Details on the Grand Prix Course

St. Pete’s event offers spectators up-close views of the action on a 1.8-mile, 14-turn, temporary, waterfront circuit on downtown streets circling Pioneer Park, the Duke Energy Center for the Arts (Mahaffey Theater), the Dali Museum and the runway of Albert Whitted Airport. The St. Pete course is unusual among races because it is ringed by hotels, condos, restaurants, bars and shops. 

This racecourse is a fan-favorite: Spectators can watch cars roaring past just feet away while drivers jockey for the lead at speeds of more than 100 mph, braking hard for the tight turns and flying through the straight sections. Drivers aren’t the only ones experiencing an adrenaline rush: Open-wheel racecars lack fenders, making car-to-car or car-to-wall touches dangerous, demanding razor-sharp driver skills and yielding spectator thrills.

Despite its tight turns and narrow width (26 feet at its narrowest), the course’s long straights (the front straight is 2,350 feet) and big braking zones allow drivers an average of almost 185 passes per race, 18 more than the street course in Long Beach and 33 more than in Toronto, making for an especially thrilling race.

St. Pete Grand Prix Race Schedule & Related Events

The celebration has a jam-packed schedule, starting at 5 p.m. Friday, February 28, with an IndyCar Party in the Park in North Straub Park that is free and open to the public. The party will be attended by drivers and will include music, giveaways, food and drink. It also offers a chance for fans to see race cars from each series up close. The party is scheduled to end at 7:30 p.m., and organizers urge people to come downtown early. In addition, at 5:30 p.m., there’s a 5K walk and run on the track.

The track will be busy all day Saturday and Sunday, March 1 and 2, with practice and qualifying for Sunday’s IndyCar race as well as two open-wheel development series and the IMSA VP Racing SportsCar Challenge of production-based and prototype cars. A total of eight races are scheduled.

Saturday’s racing is followed by a concert with admission included in that day’s ticket price. The concert is headlined by Bret Michaels, the front man of the rock band Poison, who has sold 50 million albums worldwide.

On Sunday, the warm-ups will start at 8 a.m., with the main race start at 12:30 p.m.

Ticket Information

Race tickets range from $165 for three days of grandstand seats with the best views, to $25 for general admission for just Friday. Passes are available at additional cost for the paddock (race car garage) and pits (service areas during races). 

Pro tip: If you aren’t interested in sitting in the grandstands, buy a general admission ticket. It will cost less and will allow you to roam around the course’s infield area, getting close to various turns and almost all areas of the racecourse except for the airport straight.

Food & Drink at the Event

Pedestrian bridges carry spectators into the mostly shady interior of the track, where food and beverages are available from a variety of vendors. In between practice sessions or races, a track crossing is opened, allowing people to cross the track at ground level.

Of course, dining in St. Pete is an experience you won't want to miss, as the city is full of great restaurants and bars where you can grab a bit before or after the racing excitement.

How St. Pete Gets Ready for the Race

The St. Pete Grand Prix is something of an engineering marvel. Transforming public streets into a track on which cars will race safely at an average of about 100 mph requires 8,000 feet of steel-reinforced concrete blocks, totaling 20 million pounds of concrete, being placed along the track; 25,000 feet of chain-link spectator fencing; and 18,000 feet of panel fencing securing the steel-reinforced concrete barriers. Other safety measures include walls of more than 12,000 tires wrapped with 1,500 feet of 40-inch-wide, half-inch reinforced rubber.

Despite the enormity of the task, the 300-person track-build team will complete installation and teardown in 27 days, an event record. Track construction will take 18 days; teardown and removal will be completed within one week.

Where to Stream the Race

The weekend’s main event, the 100-lap IndyCar race on March 2, will be carried live by NBC. The racing action on all three days is available on various streaming platforms and websites, including Peacock.

by Terry Galvin

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