As the summer of 2016 rolls into the final days of July and the beginning of August – a month in which several key non-NASCAR forms of motorsport, F1, IndyCar and Red Bull GRC go on extended breaks before the end of the month – it’s worth noting that many series already have a lot of ducks in a row for their 2017 schedules.
Let’s start first with the full 2016-2017 or 2017 schedules that have already been released, the FIA Formula E Championship and NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series calendars:
We’re then hearing of a couple other schedules which could be coming out in the next few weeks.
We hear the Pirelli World Challenge schedule might come out this weekend at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, which would make sense because Mid-Ohio is traditionally the event where series stakeholders get a lay of the land on how the year’s gone and what’s to come for the following year.
Similarly next week at Road America, there’s a good chance we’ll hear the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge calendars. Road America in August has been the place where the calendar’s come out each of the last two years.
And INDYCAR is shooting to have its 2017 and perhaps 2018 (yes, seriously) calendars out in August. Whether that’s before Road America, where it announced its INDYCAR return last year, or after when the racing season pauses for a couple weeks, remains to be seen.
There’s already a number of dates that have been released for IMSA and IndyCar. Here’s what we know, below:
- St. Petersburg, March 9-12, 2017
- Long Beach, April 7-9, 2017
- Grand Prix of Indianapolis, May 11-13, 2017
- Indianapolis 500, May 28, 2017
- Detroit, June 2-4, 2017
- Road America, June 25, 2017
- Iowa, July 8-9, 2017
- Toronto, July 13-16, 2017
Phoenix and Barber would figure to be set for April returns but it was forecast earlier this year by AZCentral.com that Phoenix, which ran April 2 this year, could move to the end of the month owing to the fact the NCAA Men’s Final Four is in Phoenix the weekend of April 1-2 with the semifinal games on Saturday, April 1. If it moves to the end of the month, that could shift Barber forward to the start of the month.
Texas Motor Speedway’s race would figure to be back to its June date. Mid-Ohio and Sonoma have been on World Challenge schedules so if we get a World Challenge schedule this weekend, perhaps we’ll see those dates.
The leftovers from 2016 then would be Pocono and Watkins Glen, which are on year-to-year contracts. Watkins Glen was added this year as an eleventh hour replacement for Boston, and it was thanks to some tireless and quick work by INDYCAR’s Jay Frye and Watkins Glen president Michael Printup – and their staffs – that they’ve got it done.
Gateway Motorsports Park has expressed interest in hosting an IndyCar race and there was also talk about Surfers’ Paradise late last month.
- Rolex 24 at Daytona, January 28-29, 2017
- Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, March 15-18, 2017
Add Long Beach and Detroit’s dates from INDYCAR to that.
- Silverstone, April 14-16, 2017
- Spa, May 6, 2017 (provisional)
- Le Mans Test Day, June 4, 2017
- Le Mans, June 17-18, 2017
- Nürburgring, July 14-16, 2017
As my MotorSportsTalk colleague Luke Smith noted yesterday, the Nürburgring round would clash with the Montreal FIA Formula E round on July 15-16, which makes it a likelihood at least one of the events would move.
The second of four FIA World Motor Sport Council meeting of 2016 was held last month and usually at the third meeting, if not sooner, a number of draft calendars are released.
These are several pieces to the puzzle then, ahead of that next meeting.