Public AffairsTechnology & Science / October 1, 2013

IMS Announces New Race, New Expectations

Sam Klemet
IMS Announces New Race, New Expectations

A new race is coming to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as the track aims to spark new excitement.

IMS will host the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 10, 2014, weeks before the 98th running of the 500.

"We don't anticipate this being 200,000 people, we'd be excited if we have 40,000 or 50,000 people," said IMS President Doug Boles. "What we are trying to do here is really bring a lot more people to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on opening weekend, so that we can kick off the month of May with a race that brings national media attention that right now opening weekend does not."

The race will be run on a reconfigured, 14-turn, 2.434-mile, road course.

"It's going to make this probably one of the most exciting races that we can go to," said driver Graham Rahal.  "The track is fairly wide.  I think for the fans, there is quite a lot to see."

"It's going to be a great show.  It's going to be to great for those of us who live in the city, of course."

Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles says the goal is to enhance the overall experience during May and he believes it will help IMS increase paid attendance 50 percent by 2018.

"We have set a stake in the ground for us as an organization," he said.  "The plans for igniting or elevating May are a big part of that, will give us a big boost."

Attendance at IMS races has gone down in recent years and IndyCar team owner Roger Penske says bringing in new options is how to attract fans back to the Speedway.

"The assets here are the best in the world.  There is no question about it," he said.  "As we see our sport changing and certainly with the demographics - it was all ovals back in the day - but, with road racing coming in, there is no question that this combination and the utilization of this facility is imperative for us to build this sport to where we need to be."

Tickets go on sale October 14.

See Construction Photos from IMS