INDIANAPOLIS – INDYCAR’s top executive, Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles, took the opportunity Tuesday to better describe the schedule strategy for the Verizon IndyCar Series.
Miles took responsibility for what he perceived as a “misunderstanding” of the schedule strategy, as INDYCAR attempts to move the schedule forward.
“I want to say a word to save somebody the trouble of asking our strategy about the schedule,” Miles said.
“It is misunderstood. That’s on me. It’s my opportunity today to talk a little bit about what we are trying to do.
“We’re not trying to shorten the season. We are actually planning to lengthen the season. What we’re trying to do is slide the season earlier.
“We’ve shared with the drivers, with the team owners, with the promoters, the vision, the plan, which we’ll get closer to in 2016, where we hope we begin the weekend after the Super Bowl, early February, and go through Labor Day for the championship. That gets us into eight months, a little over seven months of racing.
“Our objective is about 20 races.
“So, yes, we started by ending earlier. You haven’t yet seen us start earlier. But I want you to understand that’s where we’re going. We want to race in a very full schedule, about 20 races, from the weekend after the Super Bowl in early February through Labor Day. That will feel very different than it did last year and this year. You will see the expansion.”
To get there, Miles said there will need to be warm weather climates explored. He also reiterated that international races wouldn’t trump North American opportunities, should they come together.
“We still continue to believe that we’re not going to become Formula One,” he said. “We’re not going to be chasing ourselves around the globe week after week after. That is not the strategy. But we can imagine a limited number of international races at the beginning of the calendar in February, then get to the States, North America, stay in North America.
“I would emphasis this is not about shortening the season, and we’re not shunning North American opportunities for international ones. This is about lengthening the season, racing a full seven-month schedule, and perhaps having international races on a limited basis at the beginning of that schedule.
“In that regard, because it will be asked, we continue to believe there’s a real opportunity there. There are important international capitals that value IndyCar racing, that provide a great value proposition for IndyCar, not only economically, but also in terms of beginning to expose us to race fans around the world in a way we’re not fully exposed to today that I think over time can pay benefits to our series, our teams, our sponsors.”