Racing tribute celebrates Corvette

Sep 07, 2023 at 12:14 pm by Observer-Review

svra corvette in watkins glen
BY Samantha Lape-Kesel
WATKINS GLEN--The Watkins Glen Grand Prix Festival, sponsored by Chemung Canal Trust Company, has been a tradition in the region since 1993. It is a celebration of the area’s motor racing history and brings together racing enthusiasts, families and history buffs for a weekend of high-speed action, vintage cars, and community spirit. This year celebrates the Corvette as the featured marque.
Events will take place in the Watkins Glen village on Friday, Sept. 8 and the rest of the weekend activities will be at the race track for the Hilliard U.S. Vintage Grand Prix.
The festival begins on Friday, Sept. 8, with the downtown area of Watkins Glen beginning to close its streets at noon. Free parking is available at Clute Park with a shuttle running from 1 to 9 p.m. during the event. The festival offers various scheduled activities and presentations, including the Walk of Fame award ceremony, a historical lecture called The Legends Speak, a pre-race Tech Inspection at Smalley’s Garage, and more.
The highlight of the evening will be laps of the original racing circuit through the streets, with the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) cars coming at 4:45 p.m. The pre-race ceremonies will begin at 5:35 p.m. at the original start/finish line between the courthouse and the state park. Parade and tribute laps will follow on the hills around Watkins Glen using the closed streets.
Racing historian and Watkins Glen native Bill Green has been named the Grand Marshal for the event.
For the complete schedule of the Grand Prix Festival, which includes live music and family-friendly activities, visit
In 1948, the village of Watkins Glen hosted the first SCCA road race in the nation. In 1956, the races were moved to one of the first purpose-built road racing circuits in America. Over the years, Watkins Glen International has been transformed into a smooth, 11-turn, 3.4-mile high-speed road course, with intriguing corners, multiple elevation changes, and a long, fast front straight.
The Grand Prix Festival has been celebrating the village’s connection to motor racing since 1993. The ceremonial celebration is held annually as a reminder of the village’s connection to motorsports racing. It is also held in conjunction with the SVRA racing weekend at the track. To buy tickets visit
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