The ChampBoats racing series will whiz by Hartford on the Connecticut River this fall, bringing 150,000 people and an estimated $9 million to the city for a nationally televised racing event, officials said Wednesday.
The ChampBoat Grand Prix will be Sept. 23 and 24 and will be the first-ever ChampBoat race in the Northeast.
"This is another example of Hartford rising as a sports destination," said H. Scott Phelps, head of the Greater Hartford Convention and Visitors Bureau. Phelps pointed to college and professional sports in the city - soccer, basketball, hockey, golf, bass fishing and more - and boasted that the city's sport's market "continues to grow."
ChampBoats are about 17 feet long, weigh roughly 1,150 pounds, and - racing by at more than 140 mph - are the fastest-turning vehicles in motor sports, officials said.
The race is one of 11 scheduled on the ChampBoat racing circuit this year.
"This gives Hartford a great opportunity to highlight one of our greatest natural resources, the Connecticut River," Mayor Eddie A. Perez said. "The river brings families together and invites them to experience all the history and culture that Hartford has to offer."
The event will also feature a festival on the riverbank. Admission will be free.
Phelps said the ChampBoat announcement was welcome news for his organization, which is spending an increasing amount of time each day handling calls from meeting planners concerned about the current labor unrest at the Connecticut Convention Center.
Perez said the event's booking on the Connecticut River was an acknowledgement of decades of hard work.
"We've poured a 20-year effort into making sure we regained access to the river," Perez said. "Now the asset is there."
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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