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Edmonton pulls out of 2013 Indy season

21 September 2012

The popular Edmonton Indy race will not be on the IZOD IndyCar Series calendar in 2013, after a decision by local promoters Octane Motorsports Events to end their role in staging the event.

Octane said that it had made a business decision based on lower than hoped for attendance at this year's staging of the event at Edmonton City Centre airport, which meant that the race was no longer deemed economically viable.

The City of Edmonton, while expressing sadness about Octane's decision to withdraw, also made it clear it had no intention of stepping into the breach. The announcement added that the city would not be seeking a replacement promoter or take any other steps to hold the event, and so the event will not go ahead in 2013.

"The 2012 Edmonton Indy was a great event both on and off the track. It, like previous races, brought economic benefits and international exposure to Edmonton," said the city's Mayor, Stephen Mandel, in a statement. "We appreciate the contribution of all our partners in making the event a positive experience for both residents and visitors."

"This news is disappointing for the city and race fans," added Mandel. It means the end of the road for the Edmonton Indy after eight years on the calendar, with the first race taking place in 2005 in the Champ Car series.

It's also another big blow and a headache for the IZOD IndyCar Series organisers, who are trying to pull together a provisional calendar for next year and must do better than the curtailed 15-event season they ended up with in 2012 after the the dropping of the ill-fated Las Vegas Motor Speedway as a venue and the late cancellation of an August race in China.

However, IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard said that the loss of Edmonton from the 2013 calendar had already been prepared for in the series' upcoming plans.

"When we finalised our schedule for the upcoming 2013 season, it unfortunately did not include Edmonton," said Bernard. "We thank the city of Edmonton and all the fans for their support of the event over the last eight years."

"This has not affected our plans for a minimum of 19 races next season," he insisted. "We remain optimistic that we will return to having two races in Canada as early as 2014."

IndyCar organisers are particularly keen to add more oval races to the calendar, especially after the success of the thrilling season finale at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California last weekend.

The unique Pocono Raceway is favourite to be added to the 2013 line-up, but the demise of Edmonton from the calender means that the series still needs more new venues on the books to make up a viable championship next year.

"We anticipate announcing our full 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series schedule the first week of October," revealed Bernard.

New manager for Detroit Belle Isle event

IndyCar's Director of Security Charles Burns has been named as the new general manager of the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix.

"We are delighted to welcome Charles Burns to the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix team," said event chairman Bud Denker this week. "Charles has a wealth of experience in motorsports and major events and his expertise and management skills make him an ideal fit for general manager of the Grand Prix."

"I am very excited about the opportunity to lead the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix team," responded Burns. "The event has quickly established itself as one of the premiere races on the IZOD IndyCar Series and Grand-Am Rolex Series schedules. I look forward to working with Bud and the team."

A former Marine, Burns will oversee day-to-day operations of the event, scheduled for May 31-June 2 in 2013. In his years of security management he's overseen 12 Indy 500 races, seven F1 Grand Prix races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and numerous NASCAR and MotoGP events at the venue.


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