INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2003 -- Capitalizing on the heritage of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race, the premier level of competition in the Indy Racing League will be known as the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series starting in the 2003 ...
INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2003 -- Capitalizing on the heritage of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race, the premier level of competition in the Indy Racing League will be known as the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series starting in the 2003 season.
The Indy Racing League, based in Indianapolis, now serves as the sanctioning body for two professional racing series -- the IndyCar Series and the Infiniti Pro Series, the IRL's development series that debuted in 2002.
The change to IndyCar Series is driven by the IRL's growth and will allow:
The series to better use its assets and its association with the greatest single-day sporting event in the world.
A differentiation of the IRL's marquee series from other racing series by its association with the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race.
The league to better differentiate its two series so that it can maximize the brand value of each individually.
The IRL name has historically referred to the name of both the sanctioning body and the series and now will serve solely as the name of the sanctioning body, which is based on the successful model of other leagues with multiple series.
"The Indy Racing League enters its most exciting and promising season in 2003, and the continued growth and momentum of the sanctioning body has offered us a great opportunity to provide a unique identity to America's premier open-wheel series," said Tony George, Indy Racing League president and CEO. "The new IRL IndyCar Series helps create a clear identity for the most exciting open-wheel racing series in the world, separate from the sanctioning body name.
"Never before in the history of American racing have we had an open-wheel, oval-based series with established drivers, the celebrated owners and the significant committed players from the auto industry that the IndyCar Series will have in 2003."
The term "Indy" is recognized throughout the world because of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race and its association with the fast, low-slung, rear-engine, open-wheel cars that race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The IndyCar Series is a descendant of a 92-year sporting tradition, dating back to the inaugural Indianapolis 500, which was contested in 1911. The IndyCar Series has the cars and drivers who compete for the biggest prize in the sport and conjures visions of speed, skill, close finishes and a rich heritage, all of which are hallmarks of the Indy Racing League.
"From now on, when you tell someone you're an IndyCar Series driver, there's no mistaking it for any other kind of racing," said Robbie Buhl, the veteran IRL competitor and driver/co-owner of the Team Purex Dreyer & Reinbold Chevy. "The IndyCar Series identification will bring added value to all of us participating in the series."
Said three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Johnny Rutherford, who serves as IRL Pace Car driver and head of special projects, "The change to IndyCar Series depicts very clearly what the series is -- an auto-racing championship based upon the rich traditions and heritage of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race."
The 2003 IndyCar Series gets underway March 2 with the Toyota Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Fla. The event will be broadcast live by ABC Sports and the IMS Radio Network.