Indianapolis Motor Speedway Deserves a Sports Car Classic


Indianapolis Motor Speedway Deserves a Sports Car Classic

Today marks the second annual Indianapolis 8 Hour. If the SRO-organized GT endurance race did not show up on your radar, you are not alone. The American leg of what is known as the Intercontinental GT Challenge is one of three endurance races (five, in non-pandemic years) organized between GT3 cars by the organization that created GT3 racing, largely in an effort to standardize the format for events like the 12 Hours of Bathurst and 24 Hours of Spa. That has limited fan appeal, largely among the most dedicated sports car fans in Europe, but the idea of sports car racing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway is an interesting one.

Track owner Roger Penske agrees. He wants IMSA to race at the track in the near future, a sentiment echoed by track president J. Douglas Boles. Sure, IMSA raced at the track alongside NASCAR back in 2014, but the two want something more special: A marquee event, maybe even a fifth American endurance race, around the road course that was renovated for IndyCar competition.

An endurance race at Indianapolis would put the track in elite company. IMS would join the 24 Hours of Daytona (held since 1962), 12 Hours of Sebring (since 1950), Six Hours of the Glen (since 1948), and the Petit Le Mans (a ten hour race at Road Atlanta held since 1998). A new endurance event at Indianapolis would be the first serious attempt to add a race to that canon since Petit Le Mans, a tall order even for a track as prestigious as the 112 year-old Speedway.

But the track’s temporary road course, renovated significantly in 2014 for the IndyCar Series to act as its own support race at the Indianapolis 500, has become a surprisingly interesting track. What was once one of Formula 1’s dullest layouts has become the site of a few great IndyCar races, thanks in no small part to a few great passing zones. Add in the wide variety of sounds that make a sports car field so distinct echoing through the legendary grandstands along the front stretch and the track has another heavily-marketable spectacle on its hands.

For the full story, check out this article from Road & Track.

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