ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – A day that many thought would never come is indeed, coming.
In 2016, it’s official. IndyCar is coming back to Road America. The IndyCar weekend will occur from June 24-26, along with the full Mazda Road to Indy and the Pirelli World Challenge GT and GTS classes.
Track president George Bruggenthies formally announced the return on Saturday morning, at this weekend’s TUDOR United SportsCar Championship race at the iconic, picturesque 4.048-mile road course.
“We listened to the fans and the local community, and after careful negotiations struck a deal to bring back one of the greatest forms of open-wheel racing ever to grace our beautiful 4-mile road course,” Bruggenthies said in a release. “We have wanted to bring INDYCAR back for quite some time and we knew what it would take to make it work for everyone involved.”
Added Mark Miles, Hulman & Co. CEO, “We know how revered Road America is by our drivers, teams and fans and we’re confident it will be a great event on the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series calendar.
“We’re thankful to (Road America president and general manager) George Bruggenthies and his staff for their collaboration in bringing INDYCAR back to one of the most iconic road courses in North America. This event, along with a new street race in Boston, are integral additions for 2016 as our efforts to finalize the entire schedule continue to progress.”
Following discussions, rumors, speculation and consistent wishing of fans, drivers, teams and media, the North American open-wheel series will make its return to the track for the first time since 2007, which was then under Champ Car sanction.
In addition to the Verizon IndyCar Series, all three levels of the Mazda Road to Indy will compete on race weekend. Road America officials have been overwhelmed with fan requests for Indy car racing to return to the venerable track, and worked hard with INDYCAR to make it happen.
Derrick Walker, INDYCAR’s outgoing president of competition and operations, was integral in helping put this deal together and was cited in the release.
“It’s truly great news that open-wheel racing will be back at Road America,” Walker said. “It’s a classic road course: long, with almost every type of challenging corner. The track is designed to make full use of the natural terrain, which makes for great spectator locations to see the Verizon IndyCar Series at its best.”
This year, Pirelli World Challenge raced on the last weekend of June, opposite IndyCar at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana and opposite the TUDOR Championship at Watkins Glen International.