The IndyCar Series is closing in on a new title sponsor following the conclusion of its current partnership with Verizon.

Telecommunications company Verizon became the title sponsor of the IndyCar Series in 2014 having struck a multi-year deal, which expired ahead of the upcoming 2019 season.

Mark Miles, president and CEO of Hulman & Company that owns INDYCAR and Indianapolis Speedway, said he expects confirmation of a new backer “very soon”, preferably before February’s pre-season test at the Circuit of the Americas, which will host its first IndyCar race this year.

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“I want it on the cars and the fire suits if at all possible for the test,” Miles explained during a press conference announcing NBC as the series’ new broadcast partner, revealing it plans to air almost 350 hours of racing in 2019.

“We also want the new sponsor to be involved in a new app and that takes time.”

Verizon branding will continue to remain prominent on the Team Penske car of 2018 Indy500 champion Will Power.

“I’m so glad they [Verizon] are staying with INDYCAR, they will be involved with us and Team Penske,” Miles added. “I have nothing but great feelings about our relationship.

“I think it is a natural, constant dynamic in sports marketing. A five-year run [as title sponsor] is pretty good.

“The fact they are staying involved with us is terrific. A five-year run is a positive thing and has really helped us in planning for our next step.”

Optimism over hopes of Australia return for 2020

Miles also provided an update on the championship’s hopes to seal a return to Queensland, Australia, possibly as early as the 2020 season.

IndyCar last visited Australia in 2008 at the Surfers Paradise venue, which also formally played host to Champ Car rounds between 1991 and 2008.

“We are working hard, and it was made public by the premier of Queensland in Australia on the possibility of having a return to Surfers Paradise in Queensland on the Gold Coast,” Miles said.

“If that's possible, it could be done for probably February of 2020. That's work that is very intensified right now and is something that hopefully might be achieved and finalised in the next couple of months.

“There’s a possibility to promote a great event.”

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