Tony Cotman: 2015 IndyCar season opener at Brasilia still on schedule

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The Verizon IndyCar Series’ return to Brazil is still on schedule.

That’s the word from NZR Consulting head and project manager Tony Cotman, who has told the Indianapolis Star that he’s heading next week to the Autodromo Internacional Nelson Piquet in the capitol city of Brasilia to check out the ongoing course work himself.

The Brasilia Indy 300 is set to begin the 2015 IndyCar season on March 8, but right now, the track that will host it is in the middle of a major reconfiguration project.

Cotman, whose NZR group handled the street circuit for IndyCar’s previous Brazilian event in Sao Paulo, says he estimates about 75 percent of the facility is being reworked and that crews are currently in the repaving phase.

“Everything is rolling along,” Cotman said. “There’s still a lot of work to do in a short time, but there should be no reason not to get it done.”

Cotman also mentioned that all safety components such as run-off areas, barriers, and fences will be new.

The series announced that it would visit Brasilia this past September, marking a return to racing-mad Brazil. IndyCar raced in Sao Paulo from 2010-2013, and prior to that, CART staged an oval event in Rio de Janeiro from 1996-2000 on a track that was also named for Piquet, the three-time Formula One World Champion.

Brasilia is one of two new 2015 venues for IndyCar along with the road course at NOLA Motorsports Park outside New Orleans (April 10-12).