The IndyCar Series management has confirmed an 18 race season for 2014, spread over 15 weekends at 14 different venues in total and with a more packed feel overall as it climaxes nearly two months earlier in the year than it does in 2013.

The calendar retains its traditional curtain raiser at St Petersburg, Florida at the end of March, but the next two street and road races at Long Beach and Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama are swapped around.

As expected there is no flyaway outing to Sao Paulo for 2014, although it has not been ruled out of making a late return to the schedule if contracts can be agreed with local organisers. The event has effectively been replaced by the first-ever IndyCar race on the newly reconfigured road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which is being used as a brand new curtain raiser to the 'Month of May' activities that culminate in the 98th Indianapolis 500 on March 25.

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The following weekend sees the first of three double-headers in 2014 with the series returning to Bell Isle Park in Detroit, and the following weekend moving on to a Saturday night race at Texas Motor Speedway. IndyCar stays in Texas but moves to Houston for the second double-header at the end of June with a return to Reliant Park - hopefully with this year's first-time teething problems worked out when it comes to turn 1 bumps.

The series then packs in the remaining eight races of the year into the next nine weeks, with a longer race at Pocono, a return to Iowa and the final double-header of the year at Toronto rounding out July, and races at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Milwaukee and Sonoma leading up to the season finale on August 30 once again at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.

"The 2014 schedule reflects a more condensed North American calendar to increase the consistency with our race weekends," said Mark Miles, CEO of IndyCary's parent company Hulman & Co. "We'll be building momentum throughout the season toward crowning our champion on Labor Day weekend."

"With the most diverse calendar in all of motorsports, we want the build-up to the championship to reflect our versatility by featuring a short oval, a road course and superspeedway in the final three consecutive weekends of our schedule to highlight the talent of our drivers," added Miles.

Other than Sao Paulo, the only race missing from the announced itinerary next season is the street race in downtown Baltimore, with the series and local promoters unable to agree on a suitable date for the race in the newly-condensed schedule that didn't conflict with already-announced events in the city.

2014 IndyCar Series Schedule

March 30: St. Petersburg, St. Petersburg, Fla. - 1.8-mile street course

April 13: Long Beach, Long Beach, Calif. - 1.968-mile street course
April 26: Barber Motorsports Park, Birmingham, Ala. - 2.38-mile road course

May 10: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indianapolis - 2.4346-mile road course
May 25: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indianapolis - 2.5-mile oval
May 31: Belle Isle Park, Detroit - 2.35-mile street course

June 1: Belle Isle Park, Detroit - 2.35-mile street course
June 7: Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth, Texas - 1.5-mile oval
June 28: Reliant Park, Houston - 1.634-mile street course
June 29: Reliant Park, Houston - 1.634-mile street course

July 6: Pocono Raceway, Long Pond, Pa. - 2.5-mile oval
July 12: Iowa Speedway, Newton, Iowa - 0.875-mile oval
July 19: Toronto, Toronto - 1.75-mile street course
July 20: Toronto, Toronto - 1.75-mile street course

August 3: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Lexington, Ohio - 2.258-mile road course
August 17: Milwaukee Mile, Milwaukee - 1-mile oval
August 24: Sonoma Raceway, Sonoma, Calif. - 2.385-mile road course
August 30: Auto Club Speedway, Fontana, Calif. - 2-mile oval