Today starts both IMS GP of Indy weekend and track’s new business strategy

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The month of May as a bigger revenue generator for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway begins, ironically, with a free admission day on the grounds for the opening day of the Grand Prix of Indianapolis weekend.

But it’s the days to come that will determine the success of the new IMS strategy to increase overall revenue by offering more important on-track content.

Friday and Saturday’s GP of Indy weekend see General Admission tickets for as low as $25, and two-day GA passes for $41. No grandstand seats are more than $77.

The race is something of a test case to expose the Verizon IndyCar Series, as a series and one that races predominately on road and street courses, to its most iconic market: the city of Indianapolis.

It will be interesting to see how much of the local population, beyond the tens of thousands of local hardcore IndyCar fans, come out to support this inaugural race. Certainly there’s the novelty aspect of a first-time race, and based on driver comments the track has the potential to produce a thrilling 82-lapper from a standing start.

From there, it’s straight into a week of practice, followed by the latest new qualifying format next weekend, then a host of concerts and other events to supplement Carb Day and the run-up to Indianapolis 500 race day.

IMS has made its new business strategy of trying to provide more compelling content over the month one of its new selling points. The kickoff is this weekend with the last “normal race weekend” for IndyCar until the month of May concludes.

Formula One: Recapping the past week’s news

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While the FIA Formula 1 World Championship is still two months away from beginning its 2018 season, this past week did bring about news items that filled out the 2018 grid and shed some light on individual team and car launches as the season-opening Australian Grand Prix draws closer.

Below is a recap of F1 news from this past week:

Williams Signs Sirotkin for 2018 Drive, Names Kubica as Reserve Driver

The saga of the second seat at Williams Martini Racing was finally resolved early on in the week, with former Renault Sport F1 Team test driver Sergey Sirotkin officially confirmed as a teammate to the incumbent Lance Stroll in 2018.

The announcement concluded months of speculation that saw multiple drivers test for the team in an auditioning capacity. Most notably, Robert Kubica looked to be a main contender for the seat before Sirotkin emerged as the favorite.

However, Kubica, who has not raced in Formula 1 since a devastating rally accident in 2011 left him with brutal injuries to his right arm, was named as a reserve and development driver for the team.

This announcement also completes the 2018 Formula 1 driver lineup, with all 11 teams having their seats now filled. Among those who were left without F1 drives are Paul Di Resta, who drove for Williams at the Hungarian Grand Prix in relief of Felipe Massa and even tested with them during the Winter months, and Antonio Giovinazzi, who filled in for Pascal Wehrlein at the Australian and Chinese Grands Prix.

Former Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat is also without a race seat for 2018, but did sign on with Scuderia Ferrari as a development driver.

Mercedes, McLaren Reveal Dates for Their 2018 Car Launches

While most teams have not yet released dates for when their 2018 cars will be publicly launched, three notables have.

Mercedes AMG Petronas will introduce its 2018 challenger on February 22nd, the same day Ferrari is doing so, while McLaren will unveil its car one day later on the 23rd.

Testing will commence on February 26th at Circuit de Catalunya.

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