FONTANA, Calif. -- A Verizon IndyCar Series race on a newly-configured 13-turn, 2.67-mile road course at NOLA Motorsports Park will debut in April as part of the 2015 season.
INDYCAR, NOLA Motorsports Park, local and state officials made the announcement during a news conference at the facility in Avondale, La., about 14 miles southwest of downtown New Orleans.
The Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana, held April 10-12, will feature a three-day festival combining Louisiana’s culture – including live musical acts, entertainment and local cuisine – with the excitement of a Verizon IndyCar Series event. The race weekend will compliment the French Quarter Festival, a popular music festival held in and around the historic neighborhood in New Orleans.
“We’re delighted about the opportunity to showcase the Verizon IndyCar Series at NOLA Motorsports Park and to INDYCAR fans in the greater New Orleans area,” said Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Co., the parent of INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “The commitment from track owner Laney Chouest and his associates, combined with the support we received from the state of Louisiana, was the catalyst in making this come to fruition. New Orleans has a history of hosting successful major sporting events and we’re thrilled to be able to add the Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana to the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule.”
Earlier this year, the state of Louisiana committed $4.5 million to make enhancements to the racetrack in support of the event. This investment, combined with private funding from NOLA Motorsports Park, helped facilitate required track and facility improvements necessary to host a Verizon IndyCar Series event. Louisiana Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne and State Sen. John Alario Jr., president of the Louisiana State Senate, were among state and parish officials to attend the news conference.
“The State of Louisiana understands the economic and cultural potential of this annual event,” Chouest said. “Track operations are currently underway to transform NOLA Motorsports Park into a Verizon IndyCar Series circuit, complete with state-of-the-art equipment, grandstands and viewing platforms racing fans need for a truly enjoyable experience.”
Improvements to NOLA Motorsports Park include a reconfigured course layout, which was designed in collaboration with INDYCAR officials and Verizon IndyCar Series drivers, including James Hinchcliffe and Graham Rahal. All three rungs of the Mazda Road to Indy participated in February in the Cooper Tires Winterfest test days at the racetrack.
“I’m really excited about going to NOLA next year,” Hinchcliffe said. “Having seen the track and the changes they are going to make, I think it’ll be great to drive. Great for fans, too, because you can see most of the track from the stands, which is rare on road courses. But maybe even more than that just going to that city is going to be a blast. They sure know how to throw a party and I know that they are going to roll out the red carpet for INDYCAR and really make it an event.”
The event is being organized and promoted by Andretti Sports Marketing. Tim Ramsberger, who until recently had been president of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, has joined Andretti Sports Marketing and is the event general manager.
The complete 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule will be released in the weeks following the 2014 championship-deciding MAVTV 500 on Aug. 30 at Auto Club Speedway. On Aug. 26, Texas Motor Speedway announced a June 4-6 Verizon IndyCar Series 2015 race weekend. READ THE STORY
“We have an extremely enthusiastic and determined promoter in Andretti Autosport and a community that really wants to have open-wheel racing so it’s a great fit for INDYCAR," Verizon IndyCar Series president of competition and operations Derrick Walker said. "Going into a new region for INDYCAR, which is an open book for racing, every opportunity we have to increase INDYCAR’s footprint is a good idea. The racing will excite the spectators and grow INDYCAR’s fan base.”