Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles is expecting a vote from the company’s board on a potential 2014 road race for the IZOD IndyCar Series at Indianapolis Motor Speedway before the end of the month, according to Michael Marot of The Associated Press.
Rahal Letterman Lanigan’s Graham Rahal and Panther Racing’s Ryan Briscoe tested earlier this month on various configurations of IMS’ 2.6-mile road course in order to provide series and Speedway officials with feedback on how to raise its on-track product.
Miles has said that should an IndyCar road race take place, the circuit – originally created for Formula One and now currently hosting the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and MotoGP – would undergo an upgrade.
The 2014 IZOD IndyCar Series calendar has yet to be fully revealed, although the Pirelli World Challenge recently announced that five of its 2014 events will be run in conjunction with the IndyCar contingent: St. Petersburg, Long Beach, Belle Isle/Detroit, Toronto and Mid-Ohio.
The potential addition of an IMS road race to the IndyCar schedule has met with mixed reaction but in his comments to the AP, Miles insisted that his focus remains wholly on the fans – both old and new.
“We care about all of our customers and about bringing in new customers,” Miles said. “This idea is part of a bigger plan to bring more people out here in May.”
Additionally, Miles indicated to the AP that there were “prospects” for title sponsors of the road race. Landing one of those would certainly please both IndyCar and IMS, which is seeking to increase revenue from its road-racing events.
On Monday, the Formula 1 schedule finally allowed teams to be in Europe before heading to Abu Dhabi for this weekend’s season finale.
And as such, that provided a window for now four-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton to return to the Mercedes AMG Petronas factories in Brackley and Brixworth to be celebrated for taking the driver’s title, as Hamilton an Valtteri Bottas delivered Mercedes its fourth straight constructor’s title.
Hamilton was at Brixworth, the home of Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP) and its highly successful Mercedes-Benz Power Units first before heading to Brackley, where he was welcomed with a “guard of honor” as the entire team came out to greet him.
The champion was overwhelmed at the response and the welcome.
“This a very emotional day. I was not expecting this, thanks everyone for the warm welcome,” he said. “Today is something that I will never forget, turning up at the front gate of the factory and seeing everyone out on the street to welcome me – I’m blown away.
“This has been an incredible year, it’s been an incredible journey together. There’s a huge amount of respect and appreciation I have for everyone. I’ve been in the sport for a long time now, but to see the work ethic in Brixworth and Brackley really inspires me. Every time I come around, I see everyone operating at 100%, which encourages me to bring my best performance.
“Thank you all for helping me achieve my dreams, it would not have been possible without you. This is the best championship year, because we’ve been fighting another team and because we’ve had the difficulties and challenges we’ve had – that just makes it so much greater.”
A social roundup of images and videos are below, all via Hamilton and the Mercedes team on social media.