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London Grand Prix by 2007
- Mayor plans race in capital following success of Regent Street showcase

LONDON's West End hummed to the tune of 1000 horsepower F1 engines Tuesday as Grand Prix racing came to the capital.

500,000 Londoners and tourists squeezed in to impromptu viewing points along Regent Street to witness the eight car spectacle. At times the sheer size of the crowd brought safety fears and the police asked the organisers to finish early to ease crowd pressure. But for those who arrived in good time the chance to see F1 cars speed through red lights with tyres spewing smoke was an event not to be missed.

London Mayor Ken Livingstone claimed that the success of the showcase proved London could stage a fully fledged Grand Prix very soon. He says he has been in talks with F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone with a view to staging a race by 2007. "Something like this takes a minimum of 18 months' planning, so you're most probably talking two years away" said Livingstone.

His enthusiasm is shared by the Grand Prix drivers old and new who took part in the event. Former world champion Nigel Mansell, driving a Jordan for the day, said "they have the infrastructure here, they have the organisation. It could be absolutely sensational.

Williams lead driver Juan Pablo Montoya said the race would be 'awesome'. "It would be a good chance for people to appreciate what Formula One is all about," said Montoya. "I've raced in a lot of street circuits in America and they test the teams and drivers more. To bring Formula One to people would be a really good thing."

Were a race to take place in the capital the likely route would take in parts of Hyde Park, Park Lane, The Mall and Piccadilly. Livingstone predicts that a Grand Prix could attract up to 2 million people. After the crowd pressures experienced at Tuesday's Regent Street showcase though, organisers will need to liaise with police to ensure a full scale event passes more safely.

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