With a race to prepare for in one month at Texas Motor Speedway, most NTT IndyCar Series teams have returned to work as part of new state and local initiatives after weeks of inactivity due to efforts to suppress the coronavirus.
A sizable initiative in Indiana, where the majority of IndyCar teams are housed, gained momentum when a plan was approved that allowed race teams to return to work on Monday. As a result, A.J. Foyt Racing, Andretti Autosport, Arrow McLaren SP, Chip Ganassi Racing, Ed Carpenter Racing, and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing began ramping up their efforts to ready their cars and teams for the Texas oval event on June 6.
Similar permissions are either currently in place, or expected to go into effect, for the remaining full-time IndyCar teams located in Florida with Carlin Racing, Illinois with Dale Coyne Racing, Ohio with Meyer Shank Racing, North Carolina with Team Penske, and Texas, where the other half of Foyt’s team is located.
“The governor made it clear that it’s good for the teams in surrounding counties to get back to preparing for the resumption of motor racing,” IndyCar CEO Mark Miles told RACER. “The City of Indianapolis determined that it was good to do the same, and our teams have been working collaboratively to arrive at the best practices.”
With IndyCar helping to liaise with state and local officials on the teams’ behalf, the six entrants submitted their respective plans on how employees would return to work while maintaining safety protocols related to the COVID-19 virus.
Those plans involve working in shifts, which range in size and duration, while maintaining social distancing guidelines, wearing personal protection equipment, determining maximum room occupancies, eliminating common areas like break rooms where employees would normally congregate, and stringent cleaning procedures between shifts.
In many cases, teams have limited shift sizes to groups of 10, with a single entry and exit point established where employees will be screened for the coronavirus through verbal questionnaires and temperature scans to detect fevers — the same routine used to gain access to hospitals. Stringent cleaning and decontamination efforts are also a universal aspect of the teams’ plans.
A formal outline of IndyCar’s plans to open its season in June is imminent.