With the announcement of the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis, scheduled for May 8-10, 2014, “the Month of May is coming back.”
So pronounced IZOD IndyCar Series driver Josef Newgarden after hearing details about the event on the opening weekend of activities leading into the 98th Indianapolis 500 on May 25.
The IndyCar race on a 2.434-mile, 14-turn course, incorporating portions of Turns 1 and 2 and the frontstraight of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, will feature a standing start and will run clockwise, the opposite of the Indianapolis 500, creating even more diverse competition during the month.
“I’m all for it. We haven’t even had the whole month at Indianapolis for years and now it’s making more than way,” said Newgarden, 22, who is coming off a career-high runner-up finish on the streets of Baltimore. “Fans will have more time with IndyCars at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Is that a bad thing? It should be more exciting for people."
The Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing driver’s sentiments were echoed by other competitors following a news conference at the Speedway. The race will be the first time the series has competed on the road course. Reconfiguration and enhancements to create more passing zones and spectator vantage points are underway.
“I think it’s going to present us as a series the opportunity to put on a great show,” said Rahal Letterman Lanigan’s Graham Rahal, who tested on multiple configurations of the road course in September. “I think it presents itself as a different opportunity than the ‘500’ and that’s the biggest thing.
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“I say to a lot of people that what the Indy 500 was 50 years ago, or even when my dad was racing, is different from what it is today. Indy is still the same, but the Month of May is coming back. It gets the buzz going about the sport. If anything, I think it adds to the ‘500.’ ’’
Added Roger Penske, the winningest team owner in Indy 500 history: “With road racing coming in, there's just no question that this combination and the utilization of this facility is imperative for us to build this sport where we need to be. The assets here are the best in the world, there's no question about it, and to think that we can be here the week before we start, the weekend before we start running and run a road race is terrific.
"As people talk about history, they talk about this being an oval, the '500,' and we've got the Brickyard, and I think today being able to bring a road race in and have a speed week is almost the greatest thing I've heard."
ABC will televise the Grand Prix of Indianapolis live, including locally.
“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, president of ESPN and co-chairman of Disney Media Works. "We’re honored to continue our long relationship with the Speedway and look forward to the Month of May in Indianapolis."
Additionally, all series in the Mazda Road to Indy will compete during the event weekend. Tickets will be available Oct. 14.
“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,” said Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Co., the parent of INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “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."
The Month of May will begin with IndyCar Series practice for the Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 8. Practice and qualifying are scheduled for May 9, with the race May 10. An Open Test will be conducted before the race weekend, and Miles noted that a title sponsor is being pursued.
The first day of practice for the 98th Indianapolis 500 is scheduled for May 11 on the 2.5-mile oval.
The seating configuration for the Grand Prix of Indianapolis is being 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.
“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.”
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. Children 12 and under with a paid adult will be admitted free.
Also free is admission to practice May 8. General admission tickets for May 9 is $20.
Tickets can be purchased at www.ims.com/tickets, by calling 800-822-INDY or 317-492-6700 between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday or by visiting the IMS Ticket Office at the IMS Administration Building at the corner of Georgetown Road and 16th Street between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday.