IndyCar officials are keen to expand the short North American season with international events and have hinted they’re looking towards Europe. Series boss, Mark Miles, believes IndyCar can offer circuits a viable alternative to a Formula One Grand Prix, and with F1 races proving too expensive for many traditional venues, now could be the time to pounce.
If the IndyCar season did start with a string of international races (grouped to minimise freight costs) it could theoretically look something like this:
Round 1: Adelaide – As discussed previously on Motorsport Snippets, Adelaide could be a great place to start the IndyCar season and local organisers might be interested.
Round 2: Qatar – A night race in Qatar adds a bit of sparkle to the flyaway events and would suit an afternoon TV audience in the USA. Qatar was originally rumoured to feature on this year’s calendar, so the country is already on the radar, and it fits geographically between Australia & Europe which makes freight less of a concern.
Round 3: Imola – A world class circuit in the heart of Europe’s racing culture that can no longer afford F1. It suits IndyCar’s brief perfectly.
Round 4: Nurburgring – Suitable for the same reasons as Imola, and could easily be run just a week later.
Round 5: Rockingham – The current owners at Rockingham have little interest in using their oval but the banked circuit is still the best venue for a superspeedway race in Europe. ChampCar’s two visits 15 years ago were beset by problems (the first race was a disaster and turned people away from attending the second) but with a stronger championship ready for expansion, and with lessons learned from the past, an IndyCar race on the Rockingham oval could be a viable event. It’s a shame the potential of such a grand venue is otherwise wasted.
It’s unlikely to happen, but it doesn’t hurt to think big.