Officials of the IndyCar Series and of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway have unveiled details of the new Grand Prix of Indianapolis road course event that will take place on May 10, 2014.
IndyCar had already confirmed last week that IMS would hold its very first road course event for the IndyCar Series next year, and on Tuesday held a major press event to reveal the details of the new race.
The famous 'Month of May' will now begin with IndyCar Series practice for the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis Thursday, May 8 on the new-look, 14-turn, 2.434-mile IMS road course. Practice and qualifying are scheduled for Friday, May 9 and the race itself will take place on Saturday, May 10.
That would normally be the 'Opening Day' for first practice on the primary circuit at IMS, the 2.5-mile superspeedway, but in 2014 the first day of oval activity will now be on Sunday, May 11 the day after the road race and which will build to Pole Day and Bump Day the following weekend.
"The Grand Prix of Indianapolis is all about elevating the Month of May, the Indianapolis 500 and the IndyCar Series with more thrilling content for our loyal supporters and new fans," explained Mark Miles, the CEO of IndyCar's parent organisation Hulman & Co. "This will be a very different event than the '500' and will be one of three major weekends of excitement at IMS in May, all leading into the 98th Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 25."
"Our approach is to create an affordable, fun, family-friendly opening event to kick off the excitement for the entire Month of May," Miles added. It was also confirmed that live TV coverage would be provided by ABC which also airs the Indy 500 in the US.
The press event also gave more details of the $5-million reconfiguration project already underway on the existing IMS road course intended to transform the current layout into one with even more speed and hard braking zones designed to promote more passing and competitive racing.
Among the highlights of the new road course are a hard braking area and 90-degree right into turn 1 exiting the historic front straightaway of the oval, and a fast, new infield chicane that will comprise turns 5 and 6 and lead to the back straightaway.
A change to the turn 7-8-9 complex should provide more overtaking opportunities, as should a new hard-braking area into the new 90-degree right turn 12, which enters the infield adjacent to turn 1 of the oval and rejoins the main straightaway at turn 14. New spectator mounds are also being added at turn 1 and new grandstands adjacent to turns 5 and 6, with an expansion to the turn 7 grandstand at the end of the back straightaway on the road course.