Friday, 10 September 2010 04:00
Diverse, challenging championship features eight oval, nine road/street events - The return of two traditional venues and the addition of an exciting new down town event are highlights of the 17 race 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series schedule announced September 10.
Series officials unveiled the 2011 event line-up at the historic Milwaukee Mile, which will return to the schedule next June.
New Hampshire Motor Speedway also is back, and the inaugural street race in Baltimore joins the schedule.
In its continuing effort to offer competitors the most diverse and challenging championship in motorsports, the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series schedule features eight oval races and nine road/street events.
Highlights of the 2011 schedule:
"It was important that the IZOD IndyCar Series continue to strike a balance between ovals and non ovals to maintain our claim to the most diverse racing schedule in the world," said Randy Bernard, chief executive officer, IZOD IndyCar Series.
- The season opener will be contested March 27 on the temporary street course in St. Petersburg, Florida, as the series opens in the U.S. for the first time since 2009.
- The street course in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on May 1 will play host to the first international event of the season and serve as the lead-in race for the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500.
- The Indianapolis 500 will be contested May 29, preceded by two weeks of practice and qualifications. Pole Day is May 21. The event will mark the 100th anniversary of "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" and will include many special Centennial Era activities for fans and media.
- Texas Motor Speedway will feature dual races under the lights June 11, allowing for a weekend off following the Indianapolis 500.
- After a one-year absence, the historic Milwaukee Mile will rejoin the schedule June 19, featuring a new event promoter.
- Iowa Speedway will showcase its first IZOD IndyCar Series night race June 25.
- The IZOD IndyCar Series races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon after a 13 year hiatus on Aug. 14. New Hampshire played host to annual Indy style events from 1992-1998.
- The inaugural race in Baltimore, which incorporates the Inner Harbor, will be on a series-designed street circuit September 4.
- The 12th IZOD IndyCar Series race at Kentucky Speedway shifts from Labor Day weekend to October 2.
- The season finale race, which will take place on an oval, will be announced at a later date.
"We want to have the best drivers in the world, and it's important that our schedule truly challenges the best through short ovals, speedways, temporary circuits and road courses."
Auto racing at The Milwaukee Mile debuted Sept. 11, 1903, when William Jones of Chicago won a five lap speed contest. It has played host to auto racing every year since. The Milwaukee Mile first staged Indy car races in 1933.
"As tomorrow marks the 107th anniversary of the first race ever held at The Milwaukee Mile, it is only appropriate that we hold our 2011 schedule unveiling at this facility today," Bernard said.
"We all appreciate the heritage and legacy of this sport while looking at all the new opportunities we have to grow."
"IndyCar is entering a new and exciting era. Fortunately, this brings opportunities with new venues and promoters that are fully aligned with our strategy moving forward. We are committed to working with our partners and listening to our fans about what they want as we do what is in the best interest of the sport."
"The Milwaukee Mile is an important track in the heritage and legacy of open wheel racing in the U.S. The fans have been passionate about seeing it return to the schedule so we're pleased we could deliver it."
AB Promotions, a joint venture between Avocado Motorsports Marketing and BMG Event Productions, will manage and promote the event for 2011. Avocado, a Carmel, Indiana based company, also has a tie with The Mile, managing director Chris McGrath's father, Richard, was a longtime general manager of the racetrack.
AB Promotions will use tiered pricing for the 40,000 seat venue, and it will work closely with state government and business leaders and the Wisconsin State Fair Park Board on promotional activities and sponsorship opportunities.
"We are also optimistic about continuing the efforts in subsequent years, so we are highly driven to make this a successful and enjoyable event for all parties involved," said McGrath, who noted the company has negotiated with the Wisconsin State Fair Park Board and the IZOD IndyCar Series to secure a long term agreement.
"We recognize the challenges The Milwaukee Mile has experienced in recent years. We're certain that we can deliver an exciting event weekend using a simple, financially well grounded approach. We want to be back for 2012, building an even higher value event on the solid foundation of success established in 2011," he said.
BMG Event Productions, which this year has overseen the successful IZOD "Race to the Party" promotion, will handle all aspects of event management, including facilities and equipment oversight and operation, as well as logistics for all associated entertainment and activities.
The 2011 Firestone Indy Lights schedule will be announced in the immediate future.
IndyCar Series 2011 championship schedule:
||Streets of St. Petersburg
||1.8-mile street course
||Barber Motorsports Park
||2.3-mile road course
||Streets of Long Beach
||1.968-mile street course
||Streets of Sao Paulo
||2.536-mile street course
||Indianapolis Motor Speedway
||Texas Motor Speedway
||The Milwaukee Mile
||Streets of Toronto
||1.755-mile street course
||Edmonton City Centre Airport
||1.973-mile airport course
||Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
||2.258-mile road course
||New Hampshire Motor Speedway
||2.303-mile road course
||Streets of Baltimore
||2-mile street course
||Twin Ring Motegi
*Denotes night race
Schedule subject to change