SPEEDWAY — Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials put a new, fresh spin to the traditional month of May on Tuesday, announcing the inaugural IndyCar series Grand Prix of Indianapolis, slated for May 10, 2014.
In attendance were Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, legendary IndyCar Series team owner Roger Penske, 2013 Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kaanan and IndyCar Series race winner Graham Rahal, along with Hulman & Company Chief Executive Officer Mark D. Miles and IMS President Doug Boles.
The event will ramp up the first weekend of practice for the Indy 500 and marries an old tradition with what looks to be the start of a new one for IMS.
“This is a really big day for us,” Miles said. “To all of us, and people all over the world, the Indianapolis 500 is a bucket list event. It is iconic, it is known and one of those things fans all over try to figure out how to attend.
“When we started looking candidly, we thought we could take this to a whole (different) level. Maybe not so much the 500 … but what if we could do more with May and build to the culminating event?”
Miles said they had a “nagging feeling we could do more.”
“More” includes an overhaul to the Formula 1 racetrack to improve the racing and excitement for fans. Among other things, passing areas will be tripled for increased action.
To that end, the Grand Prix of Indianapolis will be a festival-type atmosphere like the other road races in the Izod IndyCar series. Fans will be able to walk around IMS, gather on large, new spectator mounds and new grandstands to take advantage of the best sightlines possible.
Also making the race attractive to fans will be the price-point for attendance. Miles said the cost of the ticket will be less than half of what the most expensive ones for the Indy 500, and that a family of four with two children under the age of 12 could attend for $50.