New Indianapolis road track “better” than F1 version

IndyCar

2014 Indianapolis road courseThe new Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course which IndyCar will race on next year is expected to be an improvement over the layout F1 used.

F1 raced at Indianapolis between 2000 and 2007 on a road course which incorporated part of the oval track. An IndyCar race will be held on the road course as part of the build-up to next year’s Indianapolis 500 on the superspeedway oval.

“One of the key ingredients to make this work was the improvement of the road course,” said Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman and Company who own the track. “It had a lot of history with Formula One racing, but our sense was that it, too, could be a better platform for our racing. And so a lot of work has been done.”

As with the version used for F1, IndyCar will race clockwise around the layout, opposite to the direction used on the oval. The IndyCar road track omits the very slow double hairpin used on the F1 course and also incorporates part of the circuit which is used for Moto GP races.

“What we have here are three fantastic passing zones on our racetrack and an outstanding chicane that we believe will be absolutely wonderful for our fans to watch,” said Indianapolis Motor Speedway president Douglas Boles.

Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault, Indianapolis, 2007“We’re not only going to make the track experience better, we’re going to make it a lot easier for our fans to enjoy it. So the mounds that you see in the seven-eight-nine complex are there now, but they’re going to be bigger, taller and wider so we can accommodate more fans.

“The five-six chicane complex is going to get the same makeover with the mounds there. The mounds at turn one will remain the same, but between two and three we’re adding a brand-new mound there for fans to be able to see the racetrack one, two and three, and looking off the opposite side you’ll be able to see four, five and six of the road course.”

Miles said the road course race had been added to introduce long-standing fans of the Indianapolis 500 to IndyCar’s non-oval racing. “To us the story is we can do more to expose Indianapolis people, Hoosiers, and fans of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to IndyCar, and that’s a really important objective for us,” he said.

“More people will begin to understand that sure, we race the IndyCar Series on ovals but we also race on road courses and street races, and there’s so much content and so many stories because of the diversity and the talent of our racers.”

Among the drivers to compete on the next year will be former F1 driver Juan Pablo Montoya, who won the 2000 Indianapolis 500.

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46 comments on New Indianapolis road track “better” than F1 version

  1. Dizzy said on 2nd October 2013, 11:46

    That is not ‘better’ than the layout f1 ran.

    They don’t run the nice flowing section early in the lap & don’t run the oval turn 1 banked section (The bit replacing the banking looks horrid).
    The removal of the slow hairpins at the end of the lap is better though.

    Besides indycar should NOT be running a road race at IMS in May.
    The Indy 500 is the series prestige event, Running a 2nd race at the same venue just weeks before the 500 will hurt attendance for both races.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 2nd October 2013, 12:06

      They don’t run the nice flowing section early in the lap

      They’ve kept most of it, they’ve just got rid of the slower part, which I consider an improvement.

      don’t run the oval turn one banked section

      F1 needed to incorporate part of the banking otherwise their road course race would have looked rather feeble.

      IndyCar already races the full-fat oval as part of one of the greatest races in the world. They don’t have the same need to pay lip service to it by going through one of the oval corners at greatly reduced speed to what they normally would.

      • mhop (@mhop) said on 2nd October 2013, 15:55

        @keithcollantine Ever think you should set up indycarfanatic.co.uk? I wonder what percentage of your readers you think are interested in American motor sport?

        • BJ (@beejis60) said on 2nd October 2013, 17:39

          I’ve lived in the US all my life and been around and/or involved in motorsport since I was about 8 years old (I’m now 30) and I’ve not watched nor paid attention to Indycar since CART sort of split with IRL in like 96 or 97 or something… I too would be curious to see what percentage is actually interested in it as I know no one who actively watches or pays attention to it.

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 2nd October 2013, 19:19

          @mhop Whether I expect something to be popular is not the only determining factor for whether it goes on the site (far from it).

      • HoHum (@hohum) said on 2nd October 2013, 22:44

        @keithcollantine, interestingly “tyregate” would not have happened had this been the F1 course, but as Indycar races ovals that is irrelevant for them. Testing the waters for a possible return to F1 ?

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 3rd October 2013, 5:52

          @hohum I doubt it. And let’s not forget F1 raced on the same corner in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2007 with no problems. The corner wasn’t the cause of the problem, it was the tyres.

          • HoHum (@hohum) said on 3rd October 2013, 6:18

            Can’t argue with that except to say it was the corner that caused those tyres to fail, should have thought it through. @keithcollantine, you must be in Korea or on your way!

          • neti1 said on 3rd October 2013, 14:07

            Actually, the problem was due to the fact that the track had been reground, which made the surface very abrasive.

            Bridgestone had plenty of data on the new surface, since they had raced it (as Firestone) in the Indy 500; Michelin had none – hence the problem.

          • Mike (@mikeydcmtd) said on 24th March 2014, 16:43

            I’d say that the main problem was due to tyre changes not being allowed in 2005.

  2. Atticus (@atticus-2) said on 2nd October 2013, 11:57

    For me, positive changes all along.

    A tighter T1 should help making it a better, or even better overtaking spot, the previous configuration had a braking zone a tad too short, I think.

    The quick T5-T6 chicanes should help the cars close in on each other for yet another good dash towards the T7 passing area.

    The new T8-T9 combination is the best of the three so far, it’s tight, but quicker at the same time, looks as if waiting to shoot the cars out into the last right-hander towards the first oval part.

    The long right-hander leading onto the oval should also help drivers getting closer to the car in front of them, making a tighter T12 a prime passing spot as well.

    So it’s all seems to be quite realistic expectations from the owners regarding the quality of racing. F1 showed it’s not the tight hairpin before a long straight which creates the best overtaking spot, but – as with Silverstone’s Aintree corner and Wellington Straight – a flat-out sweep before a straight. Another example is Eau Rouge before the Kemmel Straight. Cars can close in on each other pretty fast there.

  3. katmen (@katmen) said on 2nd October 2013, 12:47

    much better than f1 track, it a shame that F1 is not racing there anymore….

  4. Schlawiner (@bebilou) said on 2nd October 2013, 13:15

    Turns 5-6, then 7-8-9 are an improvement. This part of the F1 layout was ridiculously slow.
    But why don’t they use the oval’s turn 1 ? This corner was great. In fact, they could have used turn 2 and 1 of the oval.
    Now, turns 12-13 will be boring.

  5. Euro Brun (@eurobrun) said on 2nd October 2013, 13:21

    And not a Tilke in site!

  6. AdamB said on 2nd October 2013, 13:27

    indycar should not be racing on the indy roval, although if they do insist on doing so they should not be running there in may so close to the indy 500.

    there talking of running this event on may 10th, 2 days before the start of indy 500 practice & 2 weeks before the 500 itself.
    who do they expect will turn up to the road race? do they really think people will pay to attend an indy roval event thats already proving unpopular amongst most indycar fans & then expect the same fans to also pay to attend the 500 2 weeks later?

    poll after poll over the years has showed that indycar fans do not want indycar to run a 2nd race at indy be it the road circuit or the oval & comments around the online world that i have seen today shows most think running there in may so close to the 500 is absurd.

    Rather than running a 2nd race at indy i’d much rather see them go back to past cart/indycar venues such as road america, cleveland, michigan, watkins glen & portland.
    all races popular amongst fans & drivers, all venues most indycar fans want to see indycar return to.

  7. mattshaw85 (@mattshaw85) said on 2nd October 2013, 13:37

    Wonder why they still run clockwise here when motogp & indy 500 runs anti-clockwise?

    • Euro Brun (@eurobrun) said on 2nd October 2013, 16:38

      I think the Indy Car direction is more down to which way presents more overtaking opportunities. They had a test where they tried both ways and must have preferred this.
      Think with Moto GP its safer anti clockwise with regards to run off. Will be interesting to see if the changes affect the configuration Moto GP runs next year.

  8. montreal95 (@montreal95) said on 2nd October 2013, 14:00

    Agree with Indycar completely. This is miles better. The fast chicane at turns 5-6 is a vast improvement over the slow corner that lead to the “back” straight on the F1 track. The straight itself will be longer so possibly more overtaking. The extremely slow “mickey mouse” section at the end of the “back” straight is gone too replaced by much faster corners. The only thing they could’ve done better IMO is the 12-13 complex which looks very slow and boring(but not as slow and boring as the 40 mph “S” on the F1 track that I referred to above). Very good track, for Indycar I think.

    Also to schedule it at the beginning of the Month of May, before qualifying for the 500 is wise as well, so as to have the “small” race and “big” race bookend the festivities. Suggestions that it’ll somehow decrease the crowd at the 500 is laughable

    • AdamB said on 2nd October 2013, 14:43

      Suggestions that it’ll somehow decrease the crowd at the 500 is laughable

      But it will.

      The US economy isn’t great right now, Most people won’t be able to attend both events & will therefore pick one or the other. The people who pick the road race rather than the 500 will be directly affecting attendance for the 500 & since the tickets for the road race will be less than half the price of the tickets for the 500 it makes the road race a more attractive option.

      For years now Indycar (And nascar for that matter) have avoided holding races at circuits in close proximity to one another too close together on the schedule because when its been done they have found attendance at both races always decreases.
      I also believe F1 circuit contracts ban circuits from holding races too close to f1 events for the same reason.

      If they want to hold a road race in May, Go to a proper road circuit that indycar fans actually want a race to be held at like Road America.

      • montreal95 (@montreal95) said on 2nd October 2013, 23:15

        AdamB You seriously believe that someone who’s only able to afford only one of the two, will chose this over the 500? Find it hard to believe that myself, even if it’s half the price. This is not F1 and the ticket itself isn’t that significant part of the budget for attending a race weekend anyway. At worst, the attendance of this race will be poor but what do they care? They’re in Indianapolis for the month of may anyway. Surely, even a poorely attended race is more valuable than some even more poorely attended practise session.

        I’m all for a return to Road America, one of my favorite tracks but in May? No it should be in August as it was for many years

    • MatK77 (@bluestar77) said on 2nd October 2013, 18:42

      Suggestions that it’ll somehow decrease the crowd at the 500 is laughable

      It’s true, for all of the reasons that AdamB has said – if the tickets are a better deal than the 500, the ‘seat-fillers’ – the casual fans who will go for the ‘experience of Indy’ – will take the cheaper option. Indy doesn’t have that many fans to spread over two races – attendance figures for the Brickyard 400 are down almost three quarters of what they were six years ago.

      Andretti Green promotions got involved with the Milwaukee race on the condition that the series would not run at Road America in the same calendar year, which is about an hour’s drive to the north. They knew as well as anyone that two races in the same locale, in a depressed economy, would result in a depleted catchment for both races.

      It’s a cheap gimmick, much like the rest of BCG’s suggestions for the series. It’s also an awful, awful track, no matter where you want to churn up the tarmac.

  9. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 2nd October 2013, 15:40

    That looks dull.

    Better than the F1 circuit isn’t saying much, tho. The only good part was the pretty fast first sector. The rest of it was rubbish.

    SPECIALLY that double harpin ! for a place like Indianapolis, they really messed that one up.

  10. Fsoud (@udm7) said on 2nd October 2013, 15:43

    It’s a definite improvement, but I’ll miss the final corners.

  11. Official link:

  12. ElBasque (@elbasque) said on 2nd October 2013, 16:37

    Needs more tarmac run off.

    Also, “outstanding chicane…wonderful to watch”, oh dear.

  13. jhetherton (@jhetherton) said on 2nd October 2013, 16:44

    The T12 chicane is 8 years too late unfortunately Indy. But we have Austin now, so no hard feelings.

  14. Gagnon (@johnniewalker) said on 2nd October 2013, 17:42

    F1 raced at IndyCar*

    I think you meant Indianapollis

  15. Fisha695 (@fisha695) said on 2nd October 2013, 18:46

    As far as the possibility of hurting attendance I don’t really see it. From what I gather most Indy 500 tickets will come with a free ticket to the road race & all road race tickets will come with a discount to be used on Indy 500 tickets.

    That being said I think the race should be held on Labor Day weekend, basically start the Summer with the Indy 500 and end it with the Indy GP.

    I’m guessing that these changes would be rather permanent too & not just added asphalt which will be that the Grand-Am errr… Tudor USCC race will use this layout as well and that whatever Sportbike series races there (can’t remember if it’s MotoGP, SBK or the US AMA Series or hell all 3) will just run this layout in reverse live they’ve been doing with the current layout.

  16. Although IMS would like a big attendance, the main draw of this race is that it will be shown on ABC (Network TV). It’s effectively a two hour commercial for the Indy 500 just two weeks later. At the moment, the first Indycar coverage on ABC is the Indy 500 (the other races are shown on cable which fewer people have – NBC Sports Network) so there is no lead in. Hopefully more people will know the Indy 500 is on, become aware that the Indy 500 is just one race as part of the Indycar Series, and showcase the versatility of the drivers and the series.

    Regrettably, the Indy 500 and Indycar Series aren’t the draw that they once were in the 80s and 90s. I don’t think Indycar have anything to lose by hosting this race. I hope it turns out to be a success, but it if doesn’t then all they have to do is drop the race.

    • PeterGH said on 2nd October 2013, 19:01

      the main draw of this race is that it will be shown on ABC

      Just a shame that the ABC coverage is usually really poor when compared to the NBC broadcast’s.

      ABC tends to have little pre-race coverage, Virtually no post-race (Always in a rush to end the coverage), Seemingly a million commercials & a truly abysmal commentary trio.
      Oh & constant Nascar references, Honestly ABC/ESPN do more Nascar promotion than Indycar during Indycar broadcast’s.

      The NBC coverage is miles better, Qualifying coverage, Hour long Pre-race, Decent post-race, Indy lights coverage & a much better on-screen team & commentary trio.

      It was also because of ABC that the Pocono race this year wasn’t the 500 mile race that Indycar & track owners wanted it to be. ABC refused to schedule a time-slot for the race long enough to get 500 miles in.

      As to holding the race 2 weeks before the 500, Bad idea which it seems most of the series fans & going by reports from Miller a number of the teams are not in favor of.
      I predict this will be a 1 year thing & the road race will either be scrapped or moved to later in the year (Alongside the USCC event) from 2015.

      • I couldn’t agree with you more on the quality of ABC coverage compared to NBC. Simply put NBC coverage is fantastic but has terrible ratings because nobody watches NBCSN, and ABC coverage is generally poor but has the reach of being network television. However the teams and race promoters would be far happier to see all the races on ABC because of the expose this brings and it makes it easier to sell sponsorship. The main reason that GoDaddy will no longer be the primary sponsor of the #27 car next year is that they aren’t able to reach large numbers of people through races in NBC. If I recall correctly, one of the races on NBCSN (I can’t remember which one) only attracted 200,000 viewers. As much as I would like the see the quality of NBC broadcasts on ABC/ESPN, the economic reality is that Indycar needs to maintain a network television presence and get promoted throughout the media. This race is a two hour opportunity to do that, just two weeks before the Indy 500. I’ve linked to an article from 2012 about ratings for the race in Alabama – just 218,000 viewers nationwide!
        http://www.al.com/sports/index.ssf/2012/04/barber_tv_ratings_indycar_down.html

        It will be interesting to see how much coverage Indycar will get across NBC platforms from next year now that they have acquired the rights to half of the NASCAR season. Like it or not, NBC will prioritise NASCAR over Indycar if there is a scheduling conflict because more viewers will be interested in NASCAR.

        I agree with you somewhat in saying that there are a number of people yet to be convinced by the race. However take Robin Miller – he has almost always been against this race but is willing to get behind it to see how it goes. I have no problems with the race being scrapped if it proves to be unsuccessful, but I hope people do get behind it to try and make it a success.

  17. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 2nd October 2013, 19:21

    I like what they’ve done with the back half, but I think something is missing from the front. I would have kept everything up to the old Turn 6, then put in the three-part chicane to link up with the back straight. Then I would have kept MotoGP’s solution to the double hairpin, leaving it as a quick right-left.

  18. R.J. O'Connell (@rjoconnell) said on 2nd October 2013, 19:47

    It’s a nice layout, but nothing worth dropping the race at COTA for.

  19. pSynrg (@psynrg) said on 2nd October 2013, 19:54

    Roval’s are just pointless. Indy GP was awful and I’m sure this will be the same.

  20. Neel Jani (@neelv27) said on 2nd October 2013, 20:08

    Isn’t this the MotoGP layout itself?

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