It is said the appeal of motorsports is the involvement of many senses. Sight. Sound. Smell. Touch. The Grand Prix Festival of Watkins Glen presented by Chemung Canal Trust Company adds the thrill of memory, the joy of celebration and the spirit of community. The Festival offers a full day of activity. The links on this page should provide you with a bit of the history of road racing in Watkins Glen, as well as provide a overview of the significant Race Tribute Events which are the core of the Grand Prix Festival.
View Gallery of Glimpses from the Past
Race Circuit Map & Tour:
American road racing was revived at Watkins Glen, NY on October 2, 1948, the first road race run since before World War II. The 6.6 mile circuit ran through the village streets, starting and ending in front of the Schuyler County Court House. Follow the first link above for a guided tour of the original circuit, prominent landmarks on the circuit, and driving directions for taking a tour of the course.
View Map of the Original 6.6 Mile Course
All race events begin with technical inspection, and the Grand Prix Festival is no exception. Smalley's Garage, where the original scrutinizing was performed between 1948 and 1961, is the site for this festival reenactment event. Tech Inspection at Smalley's Garage, located on Franklin Street (between 11th and 12th), begins at 9:30 a.m.
View Gallery of Tech Inspection Reenactment.
Walk of Fame:
Dedication ceremonies for new markers in the Drivers Walk of Fame begin at noon on the Courthouse lawn, adjacent to the original Start/Finish line of the race course. On-site dedications for each marker in the Walk of Fame are conducted throughout the day along the sidewalks of Franklin Street.
View Gallery of Walk of Fame
The Legends Speak:
Wander north on Franklin Street and then east on Fourth Street to the village's beautiful and historic Lafayette Park before 2 p.m. to participate in The Legends Speak. This event provides spectators with a unique opportunity to listen to and engage with drivers and race officials from the early years of racing at Watkins Glen.
View Gallery of the Legends Speak
Watkins Glen Grand Prix Tribute:
Around 6 p.m. things begin to heat up as vintage race cars begin to grid along Franklin Street. The SVRA Watkins Glen Heritage Tour, a special race tribute honoring cars from the early days of streeet racing in Watkins Glen, will get the green flag at 6:10pm. The cars will re-grid for the main event, the Watkins Glen Grand Prix Tribute, which starts at 6:30 p.m. You will feel the rumbling through the asphalt as 100 racing machines, representing five decades of racers, roar through the street during laps of the original circuit!
View Gallery of Tribute Tour
Festival Gallery: Still want some more? Visit the Festival Gallery to get additional overviews of events and to experience some of the ambiance of the Grand Prix Festival of Watkins Glen.