"The unification of Champ Car and IRL caught us by surprise, and we were informed that due to the last-minute nature of this unification the Houston date could not be accommodated for 2008," said Michael T. Lanigan, owner and chairman of the Grand Prix. "We are saddened and disappointed to have to make this decision, but we remain optimistic that we will have the opportunity to bring the American Le Mans Series and the Indy Racing League to Houston in 2009."
The Grand Prix of Houston was not involved in any way in the unilateral discussions between Champ Car and the Indy Racing League, and despite a contract with Champ Car for 2008 the Houston race was excluded from the schedule.
Grand Prix officials explored the possibility of staging this year's event without Champ Car, but it was determined that holding the Grand Prix with only one headlining series would not be possible. Lanigan remains committed to the event and is optimistic about its return in 2009.
"We are grateful for the tremendous support we have received over the past two years from fans, corporate sponsors, our partners Reliant Park and SMG, and the entire Houston community, so we are extremely disappointed to have to make this decision," Lanigan said. "For the long term, we hope that despite this setback we have the opportunity to bring the Indy Racing League and American Le Mans Series to Houston and stage our biggest event ever in 2009."
Fans who have previously purchased tickets for the 2008 event will receive a full refund on the ticket price beginning later this week. Details will soon be available at www.grandprixofhouston.com.