Watching a famous auto race from the stands is one thing. Watching it from your own aft deck is quite another. This is the experience you can have at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in March. More to the point, you can enjoy it from two yacht-friendly locales. One is Port St. Pete, a megayacht-only marina. The other is the Firestone Grand Prix Yacht Club, specially created along the racecourse.
The race, from March 10 to 12, attract attracts plenty of waterborne fans. Port St. Pete already has one megayacht booked, with several other inquiries for space along its 1,200-foot-long quay, according to Walter Miller, the marina and port manager. The quay accommodate megayachts from 100 to 500 feet. (In fact, the 197-foot Podium, owned by Roger Penske of racing fame, is a frequent Grand Prix guest.) With a depth of 23 feet, both power and sailing yachts can pull alongside here. The total number of yachts varies, however, according to how long each is. On average, though, side-to, six to 10 megayachts fit.
An ISPS-compliant marina, Port St. Pete has on-site customs and immigration clearance, 24-hour security, and concierge services, among other offerings. Dockside fueling and other conveniences are available, too. While it’s not on the Firestone Grand Prix racecourse, it’s walking distance away. Furthermore, the marina staff is arranging extra benefits for captains who book slips during the event. (Details were not yet available at press time.)
As for the Firestone Grand Prix Yacht Club, it’s a set of private floating docks at turns 10 and 11 of the racecourse. It accommodates boats from 30 to 150 feet. By booking a slip, you get to see more than the Verizon IndyCar Series drivers in action. You can also see the Stadium Super Trucks, Pirelli World Challenge, and other races. To ensure you don’t miss a photo finish, slip holders get closed-circuit video feeds of all the track action. Furthermore, slip holders can use a complimentary water taxi, plus get paddock passes and pit passes. VIP parking is available, too.
Pricing and the number of passes varies according to the Firestone Grand Prix Yacht Club package purchased. Megayachts from 80 to 99 feet, with a maximum 20-foot beam, get one package. Megayachts from 100 to 150 feet, with a maximum 25-foot beam, get another. For the former, which includes 16 paddock passes and six pit passes, pricing is $9,750. The larger yachts receive 20 paddock passes and eight pit passes. Pricing is $9,500. Regardless of package, the Firestone Grand Prix Yacht Club provides electrical and freshwater connections. Furthermore, additional hospitality access and tickets are available upon request.