Beaux Barfield leaves IndyCar for IMSA; Hodgson also named for IMSA

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Verizon IndyCar Series race director Beaux Barfield will leave his post after a three-year stint, in order to take on a full-time role as IMSA race director, per sources to MotorSportsTalk. Further news from IMSA has followed later Friday afternoon.

Barfield took over the role in 2012, coming in after prior race director Brian Barnhart’s stint ended at the conclusion of the 2011 season. He had previously served as race director of the IMSA-sanctioned American Le Mans Series from 2008 through 2011, and had prior stewarding experience in Champ Car, Atlantic, Trans-Am and USF2000.

Upon Derrick Walker’s appointment as INDYCAR’s president of competition and operations in June 2013, Barfield was no longer the primary voice for IndyCar race control and officiating. Instead, Walker has served as the voice for any questions related to these topics.

A statement from INDYCAR supplied to its teams reads as follows:

INDYCAR would like to thank Beaux Barfield for his contributions to the Verizon IndyCar Series during the past three seasons and we wish him all the best as he assumes his new position with IMSA. INDYCAR’s on-track product showcases extremely competitive and compelling racing and we look forward to identifying a race director that will take the Verizon IndyCar Series to an even higher level starting in 2015.

While Barfield moved to IndyCar, Paul Walter took over the role of ALMS race director in 2012, did both ALMS and the GRAND-AM Rolex Series in 2013 and has been race director of IMSA’s unified TUDOR United SportsCar Championship in 2014.

Barfield replaces Walter in the role for the last two TUDOR Championship races of 2014 and into 2015.

Where IndyCar goes from here remains to be seen. Barnhart is still on staff; he filled in for Barfield at the 2013 Toronto doubleheader race weekend.

On the IMSA side, here is the release issued Friday afternoon. Barfield isn’t the lone appointment here:

As the 2014 inaugural TUDOR United SportsCar Championship prepares for its two final races and plans for the 2015 season take shape, the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) today announced a number of enhancements to its competition department. IMSA adds motorsports veterans Simon Hodgson and Beaux Barfield to key leadership positions while establishing key new roles for existing IMSA competition officials Scot Elkins, Paul Walter and Mark Raffauf.

source:
Simon Hodgson. Photo: Wayne Taylor Racing

Hodgson, a native of the United Kingdom, brings more than 25 years of experience in motorsports to his new position as IMSA’s Managing Director, Racing Operations. Hodgson’s experience includes positions in Formula 1, IndyCar and IMSA / GRAND-AM, where he most recently served as general manager of Wayne Taylor Racing’s championship-winning Prototype team.

Hodgson will oversee all racing operations functions, such as race directors, series platforms, competition administration, member services, track services and logistics. He will report to IMSA President and COO, Scott Atherton.

Elkins, who has served in an executive role with IMSA since 2008, becomes Managing Director, Technical Regulations. He will oversee the technical aspects of all IMSA-sanctioned series, with a primary focus on the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge and Cooper Tires Prototype Lites powered by Mazda. Those aspects include Adjustment of Performance (AoP), technical regulations, homologation, technical staff and technical inspection.

He also will continue to represent IMSA for all international technical meetings with groups such as the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) and the Automobile Club l’Ouest (ACO), and will continue to lead IMSA’s development in collaboration with the ACO and FIA of all aspects of the new TUDOR Championship Prototype (P) class car set to debut in 2017. Elkins will continue to report to Atherton.

“The addition of Simon to our senior leadership team and the redefinition of Scot’s responsibilities put IMSA in a very strong position domestically and abroad,” Atherton said. “Simon comes in with a wealth of relevant industry experience and has earned the respect of virtually everyone with whom he has come in contact throughout his very successful and diverse career.

“Likewise, Scot maintains a strong voice in defining technical regulations that shape the future of our sport here in the U.S., Europe and around the world. He has developed solid relationships with his international counterparts, which are vital to the long-term success of the technical rules that will govern and unify professional endurance sports car racing.”

Hodgson joins the company at its Daytona Beach headquarters on Monday, Sept. 8 and both he and Elkins assume their new responsibilities immediately.

Barfield tapped as new IMSA Race Director

Beginning with upcoming 2014 events at Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas on Sept. 19-20 and the season finale Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, veteran official Beaux Barfield will become Race Director for the TUDOR Championship and Continental Tire Challenge. Barfield served in the Race Director role of the IMSA-sanctioned American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón from 2008 through 2011. He most recently was Race Director for the IndyCar Series from 2012 to 2014.

Barfield will be responsible for race direction and race control staff for all TUDOR Championship and Continental Tire Challenge events.

With the addition of Barfield, Paul Walter moves into the role of Director, Racing Operations. His responsibilities will continue to include the development of all event schedules and supplementary regulations, as well as the IMSA Rule Books and related updates. Walter also will serve as the Clerk of the Course and have an active role in competition-related matters.

Long-time IMSA and GRAND-AM competition leader Mark Raffauf has been named IMSA Director, Series Platforms. He will have day-to-day oversight of all IMSA series platforms, including the TUDOR Championship, Continental Tire Challenge, Cooper Tires Prototype Lites powered by Mazda, Ferrari Challenge, Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama, Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin and Lamborghini Super Trofeo.

Barfield, Walter and Raffauf will report to Hodgson.

“These enhancements to our leadership structure will enable us to maximize the strengths of each of these individuals and our entire IMSA competition team,” said IMSA CEO Ed Bennett. “I am pleased to add Simon to our team, welcome Beaux back into the IMSA family and congratulate Scot, Paul and Mark on their new positions. All of them are proven professionals who will play important roles in the continued growth and development of IMSA now and into our bright future.”

Indianapolis Motor Speedway can have 10,000 fans for IndyCar races

Indianapolis Motor Speedway fans
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Indianapolis Motor Speedway will have crowds for its NTT IndyCar Series race weekend next month, the first time fans are allowed at the track this year.

The track announced Friday that up to 10,000 fans will be allowed in the grandstands daily from Oct. 1-4. The IndyCar Harvest GP race doubleheader will be held on the track’s road course Oct. 2-3.

IMS has played host to several events this year without fans, including the 104th Indianapolis 500 on Aug. 23 and a NASCAR-IndyCar weekend July 4-5 that included the Brickyard 400. Plans originally were made to have fans at the Indy 500 before reversing course a few weeks ahead of the race. In a letter last month, Roger Penske vowed that fans would return for the 2021 Indy 500.

“We can’t wait to see fans come through our gates for the first time in 2020,” IMS president Doug Boles said in a release. “They’ll be greeted by a vastly improved facility, featuring significant upgrades to the spectator experience. We’re also extremely grateful to have a presenting sponsor with the expertise and resources of GMR as we look to implement our detailed and comprehensive health and safety plan.”

Fans will undergo temperature screenings upon entry and also be required to wear face coverings at all times on property. The track said each attendee will receive a mask and bottle of hand sanitizer.

The Friday, Oct. 2 race will be shown at 3:30 p.m. ET on USA, and NBC will broadcast the Saturday, Oct. 3 race at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Here’s the release from Indianapolis Motor Speedway:

INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020 – For the first time in 2020, Indianapolis Motor Speedway will welcome fans to the Racing Capital of the World for the INDYCAR Harvest GP presented by GMR weekend. Up to 10,000 spectators can be in the grandstands each day of racing action Oct. 1-4, per approval from the Marion County Public Health Department.

Tickets are available now via IMS.com and will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis.

The massive facility, which holds more than 300,000 people, will provide two spectator zones with up to 5,000 fans in each. The zones will be located in Turns 1 and 4 of the oval, offering strong sightlines of the road course. Strict health and safety rules will be in place, including the following:

  • Face coverings must be worn throughout the property at all times;
  • All fans will receive temperature screenings before gate entry;
  • Grandstand seats will be marked for distancing;
  • Attendees must use pre-assigned gates and remain in their designated zones.

Global Medical Response, the world leader in compassionate, quality emergency medical and patient relocation services, will be the presenting sponsor of the penultimate weekend of INDYCAR racing this season.

“We can’t wait to see fans come through our gates for the first time in 2020,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “They’ll be greeted by a vastly improved facility, featuring significant upgrades to the spectator experience. We’re also extremely grateful to have a presenting sponsor with the expertise and resources of GMR as we look to implement our detailed and comprehensive health and safety plan.”

The plan, which includes each attendee receiving a mask and a bottle of hand sanitizer upon entering the track, was developed in consultation with state and local health officials.

This event weekend is highlighted by an NTT INDYCAR SERIES doubleheader, with races Friday, Oct. 2 and Saturday, Oct. 3. It will be the penultimate event of the series’ season as the field pursues the champion’s prestigious Astor Challenge Cup to be awarded Sunday, Oct. 25 at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

The INDYCAR Harvest GP will pay tribute to a storied IMS event, the Harvest Classic in September 1916. The Harvest Classic was the only racing event held outside of May at IMS from 1911 through 1993. The event featured three races, all won by legendary driver Johnny Aitken.

Fans also will see a host of facility improvements during the event weekend, including more than 30 new LED video boards, refreshed concession stands and restrooms, and 5G wireless connectivity throughout the facility.

The first race will air at 3:30 p.m. (ET) Friday, Oct. 2 on the USA Network. NBC will broadcast the second race at 2:30 p.m. (ET) Saturday, Oct. 3, with WTHR-13 airing the action live in Central Indiana.

Also racing that weekend will be the first pairing of two major sports car series — the Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli and its North American counterpart, GT World Challenge America Powered by AWS. Former Indianapolis 500 pole winner Ryan Briscoe is among the drivers in the Indianapolis 8 Hour event held Sunday, Oct. 4.

The event also will showcase drivers in SRO America’s Pirelli GT4 America, GT Sports Club America and the TC America series.

The full on-track schedule is available at IMS.com.