ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – Road America track president George Bruggenthies and INDYCAR president of competition and operations Derrick Walker, who also runs and operates the Team Falken Tire team in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, held a press conference Saturday morning at Road America to confirm INDYCAR’s return to the track in 2016.
The full transcript from the press conference is below.
Derrick Walker: I’m pleased to be here along with George at Road America. We wondered how we could make it happen. And now we have. We’re here today from an INDYCAR perspective to let you know it’s happening. We’re back.
George Bruggenthies: Derrick and his team have been great to work with. Obviously there were numerous details to work out to have the Verizon IndyCar Series be able to race here. A lot of details to go through. We have reached a date, June 23-26, 2016. It’s a multi-year agreement. We understand that the future of IndyCar needs to be here at Road America. Thank you to Derrick.
Moderator: We’ll open up for some questions.
Q: Having a race here in Road America in the Wisconsin state, what that does mean for status of Milwaukee?
DW: Good question. Milwaukee is very similar to Elkhart Lake to us. It’s a classic track, a track INDYCAR does really well. We don’t see Milwaukee going off our schedule. We want it to be part of our schedule.
We’re not breaking any secrets, but George has been looking at it with us to see how we can co-produce, co-promote both events. Because there’s a lot of fans in this region for IndyCar. We want to see it continue. The schedule is still being worked on Milwaukee is still very much on the list.
GB: Absolutely, back in the Champ Car days, Road America and Milwaukee Mile worked together and co-promoted events. We’re very open to that.
Q: Having this race here in June, what will happen with the race in Fontana? Will that change dates?
GB: I don’t do the schedule, that’s for Derrick.
DW: The event… Fontana has its problems in the sense of the time of year of when you have that event, temperature there. What we’re trying to do is keep Fontana on the schedule. But finding an available date and putting it in the best chance to succeed is what we’re working on right now. I’d say it’s still a work in progress. I don’t have a definitive answer. I’d say negotiations are still in progress. I think IndyCar can work for it to still keep it on the schedule… which incidentally happened to be one of the most exciting races for someone as old as I am has ever seen, Fontana this year.
Q: Is there going to be a test for IndyCar prior to the June date?
GB: I understand several teams have been calling us. We’ll probably have some testing after the IndyCar season this year, late September I expect, and then probably in the spring.
Q: With it being a four-day weekend, does this include Pirelli World Challenge?
GB: Yes. Pirelli World Challenge GT and GTS series will be combined as a support series for the Verizon IndyCar Series.
Q: Why is this happening now, what triggered it come together?
GB: We completed the agreements about 15 minutes ago. Literally 15 minutes ago. It’s been very complicated and only just been completed.
Q: For a lot of business reasons it’s taken this long…
GB: Initially it was scheduled. We don’t have a lot of room on the schedule. June became possibly available. Working on the details has a lot of requirements on both sides. Understanding the capabilities of what they can do.
We’re offering a special ticket promotion to our fans, today and online at the retail store. It’s $100 for four-day admission, garage access, free program, free parking. Limited time offer.
DW: One other comment I’d be remiss not to mention. We have with the IndyCar Series the Mazda Road to Indy, so all our feeder series on the schedule. So a full contingent of open-wheel racing on the schedule.
Q: Are there any other type of open-wheel events here?
GB: A lot of series that come here have open-wheel cars. F1 and F5000 at the vintage weekend in July. Some of the Sports Car Club of America ones are open-wheel. Those with IndyCar.