IndyCar: Partnership with Apex-Brasil was not renewed

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One of IndyCar’s more prominent partners in recent years is going in a new direction.

Apex-Brasil, the Brazilian Trade and Investments Promotion Agency, had been partners with IndyCar since 2008 and used the sport to help promote the country’s foreign trade and investment opportunities.

But IndyCar has confirmed that Apex did not renew its contract with IndyCar at the end of 2014, choosing to steer its funding to other areas instead. Their most recent extension was announced on the day of the 2012 Indy 500.

However, Hulman Motorsports’ chief revenue officer, Jay Frye, said in comments to the Indianapolis Star’s Curt Cavin that talks are still ongoing with Apex about a possible return “if not for 2015, then for 2016.”

In the meantime, Frye says that four signed partnership deals will be announced in the next few weeks.

“There is a lot in the pipeline, some really good things coming,” Frye said. “There’s a lot of very good activity.”

At the start of its deal with IndyCar, Apex became the series’ official ethanol supplier. But soon after, the company expanded into promoting other Brazilian products. For example, Brazilian coffee was pushed in this 30-second spot, which was a common sight on IndyCar TV broadcasts during the 2010 season:

Apex also served as a personal sponsor for one of the sport’s top Brazilian stars, 2013 Indy 500 champ Tony Kanaan of Chip Ganassi Racing.

The news of Apex’s departure comes just weeks after the cancellation of IndyCar’s original 2015 season opener on March 8 in the Brazilian capital of Brasilia.

The series will instead start its season on March 29 in St. Petersburg, Florida.