IndyCar has held 'exploratory discussions' about Sydney race

IndyCar series officials have held 'exploratory discussions' about staging a race in Sydney.

IndyCar has held 'exploratory discussions' about Sydney race
Listen to this article

The US series has made no secret of its ongoing desire to return down under, talks of a revived Gold Coast Indy event stretching back several years.

But while the Queensland government has shown genuine interest in bringing the series back to Surfers Paradise, a resolution on a date has been a stumbling block.

IndyCar has made it clear it wants to race in Australia in February, while the current Supercars-run Gold Coast event is held in late October. A change is complicated not only by the Supercars schedule, but by weather concerns and having a track build fall in the busy summer holiday period.

An alternative, however, may be emerging. IndyCar bosses have begun assessing the potential for a race at Sydney Motorsport Park in the future, preferably on a double bill with Supercars.

IndyCar president Jay Frye confirmed to Motorsport.com that a Sydney race is on the radar, but stressed that an Australian media report detailing 'serious discussions' with local officials is wide of the mark.

"IndyCar and Supercars together would make for a huge event and to do it in Sydney would be awesome," said Frye. "With that said, discussions regarding the idea have been exploratory in nature and it is way too early to know whether such an event can happen or not."

Better known as Eastern Creek, SMP is a flowing 3.9-kilometre permanent circuit located deep in Sydney's western suburbs.

It's hosted high-level open-wheeler racing in the past, A1GP visiting three times between late 2005 and early 2008. Nico Hulkenberg's 1m19.142s, set in the Team Germany entry in 2007, stands as the outright lap record to this day.

Read Also:

SMP is also the focal point of a $33 million government-backed upgrade, which includes permanent lighting and the establishment of a new industrial park, which will be home to a new-look Tekno Supercars squad from next year onwards.

That existing investment in the venue could feasibly help prompt the NSW government into backing any IndyCar bid.

Supercars, meanwhile, has already made it clear that it would prefer to work with IndyCar on an Aussie event rather than there be a standalone Indy race.

When pressed about the status of a joint Gold Coast venture just last week, series CEO Sean Seamer responded in broad terms about an ongoing interest in helping get IndyCar back to Australia.

He also confirmed that nothing will happen until 2021 at the earliest.

"The discussions are still ongoing. The challenge for IndyCar is that they want to start their season out here," said Seamer. "In the conversations that I've been having with [CEO of IndyCar owner Hulman & co] Mark [Miles] and [IndyCar's VP of promoter and media partner relations] Stephen [Starks] is that they'd like to start their season out here, which is February.

"So we are looking at what that might mean for 2021 – but it won't be for 2020.

"If they want to come out to Australia and race with us, we'll do everything we can to help them and manage the event. But ultimately that's for them to work through."

If IndyCar and Supercars were to tie-up on a February race in Sydney, it would almost certainly require the Adelaide 500 to relinquish its position as the Supercars season-opener.

The current Adelaide contract, which runs until after the 2021 event, stipulates that it must be the opening round.

"The Events South Australia team is in regular communication with Supercars," Adelaide 500 general manager Alistair McDonald said in a statement provided to Motorsport.com.

"The event’s sanction agreement runs through to the 2021 event and the SATC has a strong relationship with Supercars.

"If changes to the series format were to go ahead in 2021, Events South Australia would work with Supercars to get the best result for the state.

"Over the coming 12 months the team will begin reviewing the current agreement and working on the next sanction period agreement with Supercars.

"At present it is business as usual with the team looking to grow the event further over the coming years."

Additional reporting by David Malsher

shares
comments
Bridgestone Americas promotes Adams to director
Previous article

Bridgestone Americas promotes Adams to director

Next article

McLaren hints at F1 test for Indy recruits O'Ward, Askew

McLaren hints at F1 test for Indy recruits O'Ward, Askew
Load comments
Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021 Prime

Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021

In an enthralling 2021 IndyCar campaign, the series bounced back from its COVID-19 truncated year prior and series sophomore Alex Palou defeated both the established order and his fellow young guns to clinch a maiden title. It capped a remarkable season with plenty of standout performers

IndyCar
Nov 22, 2021
How Marcus Ericsson finally unlocked his potential in IndyCar Prime

How Marcus Ericsson finally unlocked his potential in IndyCar

Marcus Ericsson enjoyed a breakout year in the IndyCar Series in 2021, winning twice and finishing sixth in points with Chip Ganassi Racing. How did he finally unlock the potential that was masked by five years of toil in Formula 1 with Caterham and Sauber/Alfa Romeo?

IndyCar
Nov 16, 2021
Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing win Prime

Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing win

Saturday, Oct. 16th, marks the 10th anniversary Dan Wheldon’s death. David Malsher-Lopez pays tribute, then asks Wheldon’s race engineer from 2011, Todd Malloy, to recall that magical second victory at the Indianapolis 500.

IndyCar
Oct 16, 2021
Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up? Prime

Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up?

Jack Harvey’s move to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing sparked plenty of debate, but their combined strength could prove golden, says David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Oct 15, 2021
Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting Prime

Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting

Kyle Kirkwood, the record-setting junior formula driver, sealed the Indy Lights championship last weekend. But despite an absurdly strong résumé and scholarship money, his next move is far from clear. By David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Oct 6, 2021
2021 IndyCar title is just the start for Ganassi's newest star Prime

2021 IndyCar title is just the start for Ganassi's newest star

Alex Palou has captured Chip Ganassi Racing's 14th IndyCar drivers' championship, and in truly stellar manner. David Malsher-Lopez explains what made the Palou-Ganassi combo so potent so soon.

IndyCar
Sep 28, 2021
Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar Prime

Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar

One of motorsport’s worst-kept secrets now out in the open, and Romain Grosjean has been confirmed as an Andretti Autosport IndyCar driver in 2022. It marks a remarkable turnaround after the abrupt end to his Formula 1 career, and is a firm indication of his commitment to challenge for the IndyCar Series title  

IndyCar
Sep 24, 2021
IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch Prime

IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch

The 2021 IndyCar silly season is one of the silliest of all, but it’s satisfying to see so many talented drivers in play – including Callum Ilott. David Malsher-Lopez reports.

IndyCar
Sep 11, 2021