The IZOD IndyCar Series will visit the picturesque Barber Motorsports Park outside Birmingham, Alabama for another three years. Curt Cavin of The Indianapolis Star first broke the news last night of a new contract that will see IndyCar race at the 2.3-mile road course through the 2016 season, and a formal announcement is expected this morning.
In 2010, IndyCar began staging events at the Alabama circuit, which has drawn great crowds during its time as a stop for the series. The Barber race has made an impact on the Magic City and the state at large, with last year’s running earning “Best Annual Event” and “Best Sporting Event” honors from the readers of Birmingham Magazine, and the 2011 race earning the “Alabama Event of the Year” award from the state’s tourism department.
The new pact between IndyCar and Barber would also appear to put thoughts of the race possibly going away to rest. Earlier this week, the prospect was raised after Birmingham officials were unable to approve the amount of funding that the city would provide for this year’s event (the fourth in its history); instead, the city will be providing an “in-kind” contribution.
Audi bid farewell to its iconic head of motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, at its end-of-season ‘Race Night’ event in Germany on Friday upon his retirement.
Ullrich took over the reins as Audi’s head of motorsport in 1993 and stayed in the role for 23 years, overseeing its arrival in the prototype class of sports car racing and domination of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Ullrich stepped down from the position at the end of 2016, handing the reins over to ex-Audi DTM chief Dieter Gass, and attended his final racing event with the German marque at its first works Formula E outing in Hong Kong earlier this month.
Ullrich was honored at the Race Night event on Friday and thanked for his efforts in developing Audi into a force within global motorsport.
“In 566 factory-backed commitments during this period he celebrated 209 victories, 13 of them in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, eleven in the 12-hour race at Sebring and nine in the ‘Petit Le Mans’ at Road Atlanta,” a piece on Ullrich’s tenure for Audi’s website reads.
“31 driver titles in super touring car racing, in the DTM and in the sports prototype category are credited to him. 57 campaigners were Audi factory drivers during Wolfgang Ullrich’s era and he was responsible for 18 new developments of racing cars – an impressive tally.”