The Champ Car World Series and Indy Racing League have ended a rift that has lasted over a decade and issued a statement that the two championships are to merge.
The full details of the merge are not yet known, including what the series will be called, how many teams will participate, and what races will be on the calendar.
The IRL Dallara chassis and Honda engines will be used. The calendar is expected to feature the majority of the IRL venues: The Champ Car rounds planned for Long Beach, Edmonton and Surfer’s Paradise are expected to be added to the existing IRL calendar, with some arrangement put in place to resolve the clash between the Long Beach race and the Motegi rounds currently scheduled for the same day.
The rift dates back to 1995 when a group of teams left the former CART Indy Car championship to form a new series called the Indy Racing League. The group lead by Indianapolis owner Tony George took the prestigious Indianapolis 500 with them.
Over time the IRL has become proportionally stronger compared to Champ Car, but both have plunged in popularity and wealth compared to NASCAR. Many of the series’ top drivers have left the sport, most going to the stock car series that now dominated American motor sports coverage.
Hopefully this reconciliation is the first step towards the redevelopment of open-wheel racing in America. But it will be a long time before we can expect that to be achieved.