FORMULA ONE COMING TO INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY IN 2000 Speedway to invest in new course, facility upgrades for U.S. Grand Prix
INDIANAPOLIS, Dec. 2, 1998 - The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation and the Formula One Administration Limited (FOA) have reached an agreement in principle to return Formula One racing to the United States in 2000 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, both parties announced today.
The U.S. Grand Prix will take place annually on a permanent, 2.53-mile (4.076-kilometer) circuit to be built at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, part of the multiyear agreement between the two parties. The date for the inaugural U.S. Grand Prix at Indianapolis - the first Formula One race in America since 1991 -- will be announced in the future.
Formula One is the premier road-racing series in the world. It's the most technologically sophisticated and expensive series in motorsports, with drivers competing in sleek, open-wheel racing machines on the most challenging road circuits in the world. The 1999 Formula One schedule consists of 17 events in 16 countries around the world, including Europe, South America, Australia, Canada, Japan, and new events in China and Malaysia.
The addition of the event to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway further enhances the facility's stature as the premier motorsports venue in the world. Indianapolis Motor Speedway will be the only facility in the world to host events in three of the world's major auto racing series -- Formula One, Pep Boys Indy Racing League and NASCAR Winston Cup.
"It is my pleasure to announce the addition of a third great event to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway," said Tony George, president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "This is a project that we have pursued since 1991, and is now about to become a reality. Our vision as a company is international leadership in motorsports entertainment, and the U.S. Grand Prix underscores the reality of that vision."
"Being able to bring Formula One not only back to the United States but back to Indianapolis, where Formula One took place in its growing years, I am sorry that Colin Chapman cannot be with us to witness the return," said Bernie Ecclestone, chief executive officer of FOA. "I know the Speedway will look after us and see that we have a home for Formula One for years to come, and we will bring the glamour and excitement to the Speedway that it is traditional for."
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway will make a multimillion-dollar investment in new facilities, including the course in the infield, new pitside garages with suites atop them and a new media center. The circuit will utilize a portion of the famed Indy oval, including the main straight and Turn One. Additional sections of the new road course will be constructed in the infield adjacent to Turn Four and Turn Two.
Thirty-six pitside garages with suites will be constructed in what is now the seating area south of the Control Tower. This portion of the Tower Terrace will be demolished immediately and temporary bleachers, duplicating all seats lost by construction, will be installed for the 1999 Indianapolis 500-Mile Race and Brickyard 400. With the completion of the circuit construction in 2000, the existing Tower Terrace customers will be accommodated in the same area with additional seating north of the Control Tower and replacement seating in front of the pitside garages. Historic Gasoline Alley and current garage areas will not be affected by the construction.
Tickets for the inaugural U.S. Grand Prix will go on sale in 1999. Persons interested in receiving an order form may send a postcard with name and address to U.S. Grand Prix at Indianapolis, P.O. Box 24916, Speedway IN 46224 or call (800) 822-4639. Forms can also be obtained by e-mail by a request to firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets are expected to be priced comparably to the 2000 Indianapolis 500 and Brickyard 400, George said.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway opened in 1909, and the first Indianapolis 500-Mile Race was conducted in 1911. The 1999 Indianapolis 500 will take place Sunday, May 30 and will be the 83rd running. The Brickyard 400, a NASCAR Winston Cup event, was added to the IMS schedule in 1994. The 1999 event, the sixth running, will take place Saturday, Aug. 7. The two races are the first and second largest attended single-day sporting events in the world.
The Hulman-George family purchased the speedway in 1945. Anton "Tony" Hulman headed the enterprise from 1945 to 1977. Mari Hulman George, his daughter, is chairman of the board. Tony George is the third generation to serve as president and chief executive officer.