Inside the Laguna IndyCar deal

Image by Lesley Ann Miller/LAT

Inside the Laguna IndyCar deal


Inside the Laguna IndyCar deal


If the Monterey County Board of Supervisors accepts the proposal from the Verizon IndyCar Series to hold races at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, the open-wheel series would have a new Northern California home from 2019-2021.

Details within the three-year proposal, made available to the public by the county, also spell out a sanction fee of $1.2 million for 2019, but only if the circuit’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship event is held the week prior or week after IndyCar. A fee of $1.5 million is outlined if IMSA and IndyCar are not on back-to-back weekends, and the same price tag would be required in 2020 and 2021.

It’s believed a range of $1.2-$1.5 million is the same amount that was floated to Sonoma Raceway to continue hosting IndyCar after its contract ends following the September 16 season finale.

Up to three Mazda Road to Indy series are included in the proposal at no cost to Laguna, and a minimum of nine hours of total track time for IndyCar activities is required.

Acura NSX GTD tackles Corkscrew curbing at last September’s IMSA race. (Image my Michael Levitt/LAT)

The most intensive work called for in the agreement involves numerous upgrades to the 2.2-mile road course in the name of safety or specialization for the low-slung open-wheel cars.

Tapering the elevated ‘sausage curbs’ found at the apex or exit at some of the 11 turns will need to be completed at least 60 days prior to the 2019 event and, like the rest of the items on the list, all would be at Laguna’s expense.

Bolt-in cement slabs behind the existing curbs on entry to and at the Corkscrew itself will be required, gravel beds must be smoothed with no more than a three-inch variation in height, brake zone markers — per IndyCar’s requirements — would be added, and conveyor belts would need to be installed around all tire barriers.

Two more rows of tire bales have been identified for inclusion at Turns 2, 5, 6, 8, and 10. Hundreds of feet of new debris fencing have been outlined for Turns 2, 4-5, 6, and 8.

Looking ahead to 2020 and the possible track resurfacing being considered by the county if enough funds are available, IndyCar has asked for the outside of Turn 2 to be paved, and for debris fences to be installed on the front straight between the track and pit lane.

Voting on IndyCar’s proposal is scheduled to start when the Monterey County Board of Supervisors meet at 10:30 a.m. PT on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Sonoma Raceway president Steve Page has indicated that if the series inks a deal to race at Laguna, the Wine Country road course would not seek a continuation of its IndyCar relationship beyond 2018.