The St. Petersburg course is a unique street course in that it connects existing public roads with one of two landing strips of the Albert Whitted Airport. It also dips into the parking lot at Progress Energy Park (formerly Al Lang Stadium). The 14-turn circuit is 1.8 miles in length, has an asphalt/concrete surface and runs along portions of 5th Ave. SE, 1st St. SW, Beach St., Central Ave SE and picturesque BayShore Drive, with the start/finish on the 7/25 Runway of the Albert Whitted Aiport.
Auto racing on the streets of St. Petersburg dates back to the 1980's when the SCCA's Trans-Am Series raced in the city. It carried on until 1990, when local residents and businesses complained about noise, and the event was put on hiatus. In 2003 the circuit hosted a round of Champ Car, this only took place for one year, and in 2005 IndyCar and the World Challenge raced at the track and the city has embraced an annual race ever since.
The Pirelli World Challenge first raced in St. Petersburg back in 1990 and the series has competed at the track eight times since that first race. Since 2010, the series has opened its season at this temporary street course. Last year, over 40 Pirelli World Challenge GT and GTS cars took to the track for Rounds 1 and 2 of the 2013 season. Alex Figge, in the No. 9 K-PAX Racing Volvo S60 and Jack Baldwin, in the No. 73 GTSport Racing with Goldcrest Porsche Cayman S took Round 1 in GT and GTS respectively, while James Sofronas, in the No. 14 GMG Audi R8 LMS and again, Jack Baldwin, in the No. 73 GTSport Racing with Goldcrest Porsche Cayman S, were victorious in GT/GTS Round 2.
Looking ahead to the first race of the 2014 season, over 50 GT and GTS drivers and race cars are scheduled to take to the track for Rounds 1 and 2. Johnny O'Connell, in the No. 3 Cadillac Racing CTS-V and Lawson Aschenbach, in the No. 10 BlackDog Racing Chevrolet Camaro look to defend their GT and GTS Drivers' Championships with good starts at St. Pete. But there are a whole host of drivers including Baldwin, Sofronas, Peter Cunningham, Mark Wilkins, Tim Bergmeister, and Andy Lee that will challenge for the drivers' championships in 2014.
For more information on the race or for tickets visit http://www.gpstpete.com/