IndyCar Series to return to Road America in 2016
By Nicholas Dettmann
Full Throttle Magazine
After years of clamoring, IndyCar fans and drivers are getting what they want.
Road America and the Verizon IndyCar Series recently announced the series will return to the famed 4-mile, 14-turn road course in 2016.
It’ll be the first time a major open-wheel racing event will take place at Road America since the defunct Champ Car World Series raced in 2007. The race was won by Sebastian Bourdais.
The 2016 event will be June 24-26 and tickets are already on sale.
“We know how revered Road America is by our drivers, teams and fans and we’re confident it will be a great event on the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series calendar,” said Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Co., the parent of INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, in a statement released Saturday by Road America. “We’re thankful to (Road America president and general manager) George Bruggenthies and his staff for their collaboration in bringing IndyCar back to one of the most iconic road courses in North America. This event, along with a new street race in Boston, are integral additions for 2016 as our efforts to finalize the entire schedule continue to progress.”
Road America is the seventh race date confirmed on the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule. Other announced race dates are: Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, March 11-13; Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, April 15-17; Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis, May 12-14; 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, May 29; Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, June 3-5; and Grand Prix of Boston, Sept. 2-4.
The rest of the schedule is slated to be released at the end of the month. It is unclear if the Milwaukee Mile will remain on the schedule in 2016, despite drivers insisting the series and potential promoters to do whatever possible to make that happen.
In addition to the Verizon IndyCar Series headlining the weekend, the following series’ are expected to compete: Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires, Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda and the Pirelli World Challenge.
“I am really excited to see Road America back on the 2016 IndyCar schedule,” Bourdais said. “This place allows our cars to stretch their legs fully and show what the Verizon IndyCar Series is all about. It is our duty toward road racing to continue this tradition and I could not be happier that a new deal got penciled. For me, it is the best racetrack in North America and I have some great memories there, including the win in 2007, and I am looking forward to coming back.”
The first IndyCar race at Road America was in 1982 and it was won by Hector Rebqaue.
Legendary drivers Mario Andretti, Michael Andretti and Emerson Fittipaldi each won three times at Road America. Jacques Villeneuve and Paul Tracy were two-time winners.
“We listened to the fans and the local community, and after careful negotiations struck a deal to bring back one of the greatest forms of open-wheel racing ever to grace our beautiful 4-mile road course,” Bruggenthies said. “We have wanted to bring INDYCAR back for quite some time and we knew what it would take to make it work for everyone involved.”
Ten current IndyCar drivers have raced at Road America – Bourdais, Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Tony Kanaan, Juan Pablo Montoya, Simon Pagenaud, Will Power, Graham Rahal and Justin Wilson.
“I am really looking forward to going back to Road America,” Power said. “It’s a phenomenal racetrack, especially for the cars in the Verizon IndyCar Series with all of the downforce we have now. I think it will create really good racing because the draft effect is pretty big.
“Road America is just one of those traditional tracks that has been around for years and it has so much history with our cars. I can’t say enough how happy I am that it will be back on the schedule in 2016.”
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