Show car and revised course (IndyCar photo)

Miles: Road course race is plan to “jump start, ignite” month of May

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Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles said the month of May at Indianapolis in its current stature could be so much more. So plans to increase exposure for the city, and the bottom line for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway have made an IMS road course race for IndyCar all the more likely.

“We started looking candidly and asked, ‘Can take this to another level? What if we could do more with May?’ This will build to the culminating event. What if we could jump start and ignite May,” Miles said at the IMS press conference on Tuesday.

Miles said the two weekends prior to the Indianapolis 500 – which in 2014 will be held May 25 – needed a concerted effort to feel like bigger deals.

“We concluded we needed to concentrate on the weekends,” he said. “Opening weekend, I just had this nagging feel we could do more. We had a great antique car show, practice, and the atmosphere was starting but we asked why not turbocharge it. Let’s bring the best of our worlds together. I feel we need to expose Indianapolis race fans to IndyCar racing.”

That last line is, to this writer’s mind at least, a tad disconcerting considering the high volume of IndyCar fans that live in Indianapolis or the surrounding areas. But perhaps Miles’ point was more that a fair number of fans who attend the Indianapolis 500 do so because it is an iconic cultural event, not necessarily for the race itself.

And additionally, the Indianapolis 500 is blacked out locally in Indy, which removes a local option for fans who may not choose to attend the race in person.

Miles is optimistic this race could expose Indianapolis, and the IndyCar Series, to a greater national level of attention. As Mayor Greg Ballard put it, there is “nothing like the month of May in Indianapolis.”

Andretti United team names drivers for inaugural Extreme E season

Extreme E drivers Andretti
Extreme E
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The Extreme E team formed by Andretti Autosport and United Autosports named Catie Munnings and Timmy Hansen as its drivers Monday for the series’ inaugural 2021 season.

Munnings is a successful veteran of rally series. Hansen is a past winner and champion in the World Rallycross Championship.

They both will race in the environmentally conscious electric SUV series that will hold events in five areas around the world that are threatened by climate change. Chip Ganassi Racing and six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton also are fielding cars in Extreme E, which will feature male and female co-drivers on every team.

Catie Munnings

“I’m so excited to join Andretti United Extreme E,” Munnings said in a release. ““I was really intrigued when I first heard about Extreme E, I just knew I had to be involved. The male / female racing partnership is a fantastic and exciting new concept. The season has incredible locations and the racing will be very exciting. It will be a new challenge for the teams and drivers, and I’m so thrilled to be working with such a strong team.

“The championship is a really innovative concept, it’s combining motorsport and science and will produce an important legacy in each race location. Bringing the platform that motorsport has in line with the awareness that the planet needs right now is awesome and a really important message.”

Timmy Hansen

Said Hansen: “Going into the Extreme E will be a new chapter in my career, one that I am extremely excited about. It is something brand new, not only for me, but the whole of motorsport. The format is something

we’ve never seen before. I’m also delighted to be able to carry the message of something bigger – talking about the environment and doing something good for the world – that’s something that really drives me. It’s going to be a big adventure in life to see these locations and I’m going to do my best in carrying this responsibility and hopefully making people aware of the challenges we have in the world, together with our passion for racing.”