More than 60,000 race fans watch Bourdais win Champ Car event



Marc Bence/For Metro Edmonton


Rexall Grand Prix Of Edmonton champion Sebastien Bourdais, right, is showered with champagne by second-place finisher Justin Wilson on the podium after yesterday’s race. Bourdais also won the inaugural Edmonton event in 2005.


“The City of Champions is truly a race city.”

What was then Vancouver’s loss three years ago is still Edmonton’s gain, fans at the Rexall Grand Prix Of Edmonton said yesterday.

And during sweltering heat and humid conditions, 167,152 people flooded the gates over the three-day event, including the 60,508 fans who watched Sebastien Bourdais take the checkered flag at the Champ Car race yesterday.

While attendance for the weekend is down by 4,000 from last year, fans are still calling the Grand Prix a success.

“I have been here for all three Grand Prix races and it gets better every year,” said 21-year-old Irek Dyjak.

“The City of Champions is truly a race city.”

Eric Dupuis, 25, also said he loves Edmonton as a racing host.

“Edmonton will always be a race city and it should be here every year,” said Dupuis, who has been a racing fan since he was a child.

Vancouver dropped out of the Champ Car World Series circuit in 2004, which saw Edmonton get the event with the promise to hold three more races annually.

Now, after three successful years, organizers behind the event say the Grand Prix Of Edmonton will be a permanent fixture each summer in Edmonton.

The Grand Prix has quickly become a staple in the Champ Car Series, Champ Car president Steve Johnson told Metro before the event.

“At first, we were concerned since it was going to be a small market event and we really didn’t know how successful it would be.

“I guess we gambled and it really paid off.”