A $5 million reconfiguration project underway on the existing Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course will transform the layout with more speed and more hard braking zones to create more passing and competitive racing for the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 8-10, 2014.
Click it: Road course race to kick of Month of May activities || Interactive track map
Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials unveiled details about the first IndyCar Series road race at the historic venue during a media conference Oct. 1 at the Speedway. The race, which will be broadcast live by ABC, will incorporate a standing start and be run clockwise (opposite the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race).
"The focus is to get all the asphalt down by Dec. 1 and then we spend all winter building the mounds, putting in the curbs, striping and timelines," said IMS director of engineering and construction Kevin Forbes, who oversaw construction of the road course in 1999. "There will be a different surface that will have substantial grip, more spectator viewing areas and enhancements, so I thing this has all the earmarks of a great event."
Among the highlights of the 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 (the current Turn 4 exit). Reigning Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan described the sharp right-hander as “the best passing corner in all of IndyCar racing.”
• A fast, new infield chicane that will comprise Turns 5 and 6 and lead to the 2,500-foot 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 3,200-foot 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.
Tickets will be available starting Oct. 14. For information, visit www.GPofIndianapolis.com.
The road course will be available for testing, too, and an Open Test will be conducted before the Grand Prix of Indianapolis.
"This 2.434‑mile road course, 14 turns, is a little bit different from where we were with Formula One," Indianapolis Motor Speedway president J. Douglas Boles said. "What we have are three fantastic passing zones on our racetrack and an outstanding chicane that we believe will be absolutely wonderful for our fans to watch.
"We're not only going to make the track experience better, we're going to make it a lot easier for our fans to enjoy it."
Added IZOD IndyCar Series driver Graham Rahal, who tested multiple configurations of the road course in September: "The changes that I think Doug and everybody here has made, it's going to make this probably one of the most exciting races that we can go to. The track is fairly wide. I think for the fans there's quite a lot to see. Hulman Boulevard is going to be pretty long, and changing up that turn there to be a tighter 90‑degree corner there's going to be a lot of passing for those who want to sit in that section of the track.
"I think with long straightaways you're going to get a huge variance, and do you want to run a high downforce package, do you want to run a low, and I think that's really going to add to the excitement of racing."