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Zak Brown: Formula 1 needs a second race in the U.S.

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BIRMINGHAM, UK – McLaren executive director Zak Brown believes that Formula 1 needs a second grand prix in the United States if it is to crack the American market.

Brown has been involved in F1 for many years as a commercial expert, and was appointed to his role at McLaren at the end of last year following long-standing chairman Ron Dennis’ departure.

Following Liberty Media’s acquisition of F1 last fall, there has been a focus on expanding the sport’s profile in the United States and widening its reach.

To aid this process, Brown believes it is crucial that F1 gets a second event in the United States to increase the sport’s exposure to American sports fan.

“I think it can be very big in North America. I think the only reason it’s not is that there’s not enough of it,” Brown told NBC Sports.

“We need a second race. The television is very good, the addition of Haas is a good thing. An American driver would be nice but I don’t think there’s one around the corner.

“A second race and the teams need to do a better job of helping promote the sport and it can get there. It’s moved around too much, it’s not had races.

“We need some stability and date equity which Austin brings, but we need a second race.”

Brown also believes that F1 can take inspiration from the Super Bowl in terms of promotion of races in the cities where grands prix are held.

“I think we need to let the towns know that we’re coming to the race earlier. I’ve landed at some grands prix on a Thursday, land at the airport and you wouldn’t know that the race is happening,” Brown said.

“You land in town for the Super Bowl. By the time the gate has pulled up to the gate, you know the Super Bowl is in town.

“I think the marketing needs to start a city level. Maybe get the drivers there a little bit earlier, get the media turned on earlier, and then have some events.

“I think fan engagement doesn’t just have to be at the race track. It can be during the week in the town centres etc.

“So I think we need to do a better job of event marketing.”

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.