Organisers of the 2011 Edmonton Indy have unveiled the completely re-thought circuit layout that the event will use for the race in July after it was narrowly saved from cancellation thanks to a last minute deal between the promoters and the city.

The race will still take place at the City Centre Airport in Canada's Alberta province, but will now make use of the east runway that has been closed and out of use since shortly after the 2010 IndyCar event.

As a result, the circuit will now be anti-clockwise, sending the drivers into a 90 degree left hander from the start line and with a 180 degree hairpin at the fifth turn and another at turn 13 at the end of the long straight to put the drivers back on to the start/finish straight, a total length of 2.256 miles.

The end result should be more challenging for drivers than the old 1.96-mile, 14-turn course, which had too many turns that were little more than 'kinks', which ultimately interfered with rather than enabled overtaking opportunities.

"The other course was good and fast initially but it was too hard to pass on," design consultant Tony Cotman said. "One of the big things we needed to focus on with this course was how to make the show better, and I think we've achieved that."

Calling the new circuit "exciting for everyone", Cotman said that "I think we can create a much better actual racetrack for racing on and obviously that's what people come to see." As a result of the changes, six grandstands will be positioned much nearer to the track to make spectators feel far more part of the action.

"The new [circuit] looks really cool with some great passing opportunities, which the last configuration lacked a bit," said Canadian driver James Hinchcliffe, who won the Firestone Indy Lights race at Edmonton last July. "Edmonton was always known for being the most physical race, and I enjoyed that, but these new straights will take away a little bit of the challenge and give us more of a break over the lap. All the drivers' necks collectively thank the design team!"

But as IndyCar said hello to a new look Edmonton, it was announced that the series would also be bidding a final farewell to Twin Ring Motegi, where the series has raced since 2003 and which saw CART Champ Car races for five years prior to that. At the time, Motegi was the first overseas event to be added to the traditionally States-bound IndyCar championship season.

IndyCar's final appearance at Japan's first-ever oval circuit, originally built north of Tokyo in 1997, will be on September 18.

"We've enjoyed a great run at Twin Ring Motegi and thank our friends at Mobilityland and Honda Japan for hosting a great event over the past eight years," said Terry Angstadt, president of the commercial division for IndyCar's sanctioning body. "While our businesses move in different directions, we will keep the door open for future events at the track."

"After having played host to the event for so many years with all the support and help from the people concerned, we have decided, albeit regrettably, that it is extremely difficult for the company to keep hosting a round of IndyCar Series in the face of the on-going business environment," said Hiroshi Oshima, the president of track owners Mobilityland Corp., a subsidiary of Honda Motor Co.

American Honda and Honda Performance Development were quick to follow-up with a statement saying that "while we have a unique understanding of the business climate in Japan, which made this decision necessary, [this] announcement has had no impact" on Honda's ongoing involvement with the IZOD IndyCar Series as a whole, which include a commitment to supplying engines for the next generation of IndyCar being introduced in 2012.

Dan Wheldon and Helio Castroneves are both two-time winners at Twin Ring Motegi. Other winners of the Indy Japan 300 include Tony Kanaan and Scott Dixon, while Scott Sharp won the first ever IndyCar race there in 2003 and Danica Patrick's first and only IndyCar victory to date came at Motegi in April 2008, a historic moment for the series as it saw her become the first woman to win any IndyCar race.

Previous winners of CART Champ Car races at Motegi included Adrian Fernandez, Michael Andretti, Kenny Brack and Bruno Junqueira.

The Motegi announcement came two days after it was confirmed that Honda has announced that Hideki Mutoh was to leave the IndyCar Series stint and switch to Japan's Super GT category for 2011, where he will be paired with Japanese Formula 3 N class champion Takashi Kobayashi in an Aguri Suzuki-run Honda in Super GT. The decision would leave KV Racing Technology's Takuma Sato as Japan's sole full-time drive in IndyCar in 2011.

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