In a media conference at Barber Motorsports Park, Hulman & Company CEO Mark Miles said the NTT IndyCar Series continues to focus on an early-season date for possible expansion internationally — which he said makes it more “difficult” to schedule a return to Japan, where Indy cars under CART, IRL and IndyCar sanction raced at Twin Ring Motegi (pictured in 2010) from 1998-2011. However, he says the series remains open to the possibility.
“I think philosophically all of our Japanese partners would like to see us there, whether that’s NTT or Bridgestone, Honda, obviously, and more,” Miles said. “It’s tough for us because generally speaking, we think the racing that’s international — outside of North America, for the most part –we think it should be before the beginning of the championship. And that means January, February, probably February. Difficult in Japan to find a time when the climate works. But we’ll keep thinking about that, and maybe there’s some way to do some kind of an event that isn’t necessarily a championship event that’s every year a part of the series.”
Miles added that IndyCar was keen on ensuring any such international addition could be established as a regular addition to build around.
“We think we’re fundamentally a North American series, but I think that’s an attractive time when it might be possible to race outside North America. So it’s going to be one or two (events), and we have been actively looking for some time. We’re trying to understand how to create a great value proposition and how to be in a place that won’t be a one-off. If we do that, we wanted it to be part of the tradition, or to sustain a tradition or to start one. There are some places we can imagine being. Everything has to line up. Their economy has to be good. They have to put all the economics and sponsorship and the like together. But I think it’ll happen eventually.”