“It's about taking the slowest weekend of the year in Baltimore, and hosting an event of more than 100,000 people over the weekend,” said City Councilman William H. Cole IV, an early supporter of the race, which will run through his district. “It's about attracting money into the economy. We'll be able to track direct tax revenue. This is an event that will be showcased on at least four TV stations. We're looking at eight to 10 hours. You can't put a dollar figure on that.”

City officials project more than $2 million in direct taxes — hotel, parking, admission and amusement—that will go directly into the city's general fund because of the Grand Prix. “That doesn't account for economic impact on small business, hotels, restaurants,” Cole added.

City support

As for the claim that Baltimoreans are not supporting the race, Cole said that data prove otherwise.

“We've sold several thousand tickets to the 21230 area code [South Baltimore],” he said. “There is no one-size-fits-all event that everyone wants to go to... I can understand the sentiment that not everyone wants to be a part of it, but we have to do things that will improve the image of our city and help it grow.”

Zuramski, whose company is hosting a series of benefit parties for the Wounded Warrior Project, hopes that residents realize how “good the race will be for Baltimore.” He warned: “D.C. had the American Le Mans Series race and because of public opposition, they only had it one year. This is potentially $100 million for Baltimore.”

Kramm — the Baltimorean with a New Orleans evacuation plan — admitted a number of her friends in Federal Hill are looking forward to the races.

“The race is going to be in our backyard,” Kramm said. “In that sense we'll be very excited. But everything leading up to it and the aftermath — I am not excited about that.”

Berg hopes the Grand Prix will result in overall success for the city, but she also can't wait for the event to be done.

“I hope,” she said, “that I can finally have my 15-minute commute back.”

john-john.williams@baltsun.com