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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

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

    Isn’t this the MotoGP layout itself?

  6. David (@mansellsmoustache) said on 2nd October 2013, 22:07

    This looks like the track used by Motogp, which is the most boring track they race at imo.

  7. Wonderduck (@wonderduck) said on 3rd October 2013, 4:14

    …is expected to be an improvement over the layout F1 used.

    To be fair, that’s hardly much of an accomplishment.

  8. Quinn (@quinnolabar) said on 24th March 2014, 23:11

    Personally, as an American, I can’t wait for this race. It’s a shame that F1 won’t get the chance to race at the Brickyard in the near future, as I think this is a big improvement over the old layout. However, I think it will make a fantastic IndyCar race that I’ll be counting the days for. Hopefully organizers will just schedule this race later in the season in years to come.

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