Edmonton's popular grand prix car race in July will go ahead, race officials announced Monday.

Edmonton has been part of the Champ Car circuit for the past three years, attracting as many as 200,000 spectators to the three-day event at the temporary track at the city centre airport just north of the downtown.

But the event was put in doubt this year because of a merger between two racing organizations in North America.

The Indy Racing League — the newly merged organization that includes the Indy Racing circuit and the former Champ Car circuit — released its schedule in Florida in late February, but Edmonton was not included.

At the time officials expressed confidence that the city's record of attracting large crowds to racing events would help persuade league officials to include the city on its schedule.

The 2008 race has been renamed the Rexall Edmonton Indy and will have a different look from the old Champ Car event, general manager Jim Haskins said Monday.

"We had 17 cars on the grid last year. We will have at least 27 cars on the grid this year, so that alone makes for way more exciting racing, more opportunities for passing, more opportunities for exciting racing even with attrition," Haskins said.

The event will be held July 24-26, and kick off the city's Capital EX summer festival.