IndyCar could lose Toronto race to new anti-coronavirus regs

David Malsher-Lopez

With the current America/Canada border controls in place, plus the fact that the Honda Indy Toronto requires 45 days of preparation and building of the street course around Exhibition Place, the event’s original slot on the NTT IndyCar Series’ 2020 schedule – July 12 – always looked in doubt.

Today, the City of Toronto announced that it is cancelling permits for major events and festivals in July and August.

Mayor John Tory said during a news conference: “We hope this will provide clarity to the organizers who start planning these events well ahead of time and they need to know now before they start signing substantial contracts, which would imperil their financial viability if we then later had to withdraw these permits because the health numbers weren’t good enough.”

Events with more than 250 people will be cancelled until July 31, and events with more than 25,000 people will be cancelled until Aug. 31.

Tory said the city will repurpose grant funding that was previously approved by City Council to help festival and event organizers.

The program will also help organizers maintain critical operations to survive this year and prepare for their next event, and support planning and purchases that help improve public health and safety practices.

Tory said he hopes that the events cancelled in August could be held later in the fall.

“If conditions are right by that time and if that is the wish of the organizers, our economic development staff will be there to help these festivals get through this difficult period for them because obviously, these cancellations impose a hardship on them as well as for other people who would have attended to help with the impact of these cancellations,” he said.

A representative of Green Savoree Promotions insisted the company has not yet given up hope of rescheduling the Toronto race.

He said: "In anticipation of the municipal guidelines announced today for holding events, preparations and discussions have been ongoing with the City of Toronto, Exhibition Place, Honda Canada and IndyCar to explore alternate date options for 2020."

Today's news comes in the same week that Green Savoree Promotions confirmed its St. Petersburg race, originally scheduled for its traditional spot as season-opener, had been shifted to late October as the IndyCar finale.

Currently the company’s other two rounds, at Mid-Ohio and Portland, are set for Aug. 9 and Sept. 13.

So far the series has lost Barber Motorsports Park, Long Beach, Circuit of The Americas and the double-header at Detroit, although double-headers at Iowa and WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca have helped compensate.