Mark Miles (IndyCar photo)
The “Grand Prix of Indianapolis” will be the name of new IndyCar Series event to be run May 8-10, 2014 on the reconfigured Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, building toward the 98th Indianapolis 500 later in the month.
A media conference on Tuesday at the Speedway, which featured Hulman & Company Chief Executive Officer Mark Miles, IMS President Doug Boles, Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, IndyCar Series team owner Roger Penske, 2013 Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan and IndyCar Series race winner Graham Rahal, revealed more details of the event.
“The Grand Prix of Indianapolis is all about elevating the Month of May, the Indianapolis 500 and the IndyCar Series with more thrilling content for our loyal supporters and new fans,” Miles said. “This will be a very different event than the ‘500’ and will be one of three major weekends of excitement at IMS in May, all leading into the 98th Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 25.”
ABC will televise the Grand Prix of Indianapolis live, building toward its 50th consecutive telecast of the Indianapolis 500. The race will feature a standing start and will run clockwise, the opposite of the Indianapolis 500, creating even more diverse competition during the month.
“With ABC televising the Indianapolis 500 for the 50th consecutive year in 2014, it’s only fitting that the historic first IndyCar race on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course will also air on ABC,” said John Skipper, ESPN president and co-chairman of Disney Media Networks. “We’re honored to continue our long relationship with the Speedway and look forward to the Month of May in Indianapolis.”
The month will begin with IndyCar Series practice for the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis Thursday, May 8 on the new-look, 14-turn, 2.434-mile IMS road course. Practice and qualifying are scheduled for Friday, May 9, with the race Saturday, May 10.
All series in the Mazda Road to Indy will compete during the event, placing a singular spotlight on all levels of North American open-wheel racing. The first day of practice for the 98th Indianapolis 500 is scheduled for Sunday, May 11 on the 2.5-mile IMS oval.
The seating configuration for the Grand Prix of Indianapolis will be designed to provide the best sightlines of the course and affordable ticket prices for fans. New spectator mounds and new grandstands will be available in the infield section of the course to create exciting vantage points.
“Our approach is to create an affordable, fun, family-friendly opening event to kick off the excitement for the entire month of May,” Miles said. “The most expensive ticket for the Grand Prix of Indianapolis is less than half the price of the costliest seat for the Indianapolis 500. Fans will get the best views possible of the exciting, side-by-side action created during this historic event on our new circuit.”
Tickets for the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis will go on sale Monday, Oct. 14. Race Day reserved seat prices will range from $40-75. Existing ticket customers to any 2014 IMS event will receive a $10 discount on reserved seats ($30-65). Race Day general admission tickets are $25 for all customers.
All seating areas will be general admission Thursday, May 8 and Friday, May 9. Admission is free Thursday and $20 on Friday.
A $5-million reconfiguration project is underway on the existing IMS road course that will transform the layout with more speed and more hard braking zones to create more passing and competitive racing. Among the highlights of the new, 14-turn, 2.434-mile road course:
A hard braking area and 90-degree right into Turn 1 exiting the historic front straightaway of the oval.
A fast, new infield chicane that will comprise Turns 5 and 6 and lead to the back straightaway.
A revision of the Turns 7-8-9 complex that will create more speed and passing.
A hard braking area creating excellent passing opportunities leading into the new 90-degree right Turn 12, which enters the infield adjacent to Turn 1 of the oval and rejoins the main straightaway at Turn 14.
The reconfiguration plan also includes new spectator mounds in Turn 1 of the road course and new grandstands adjacent to Turns 5 and 6 in the infield. Expanded grandstands in Turn 7 at the end of the back straightaway also will be available.