SPEEDWAY, Ind. – IZOD IndyCar Series drivers Graham Rahal and Ryan Briscoe participated in a test organized by Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar to gather information about the current road course layouts as IMS considers changes and upgrades.
Speedway officials plan to invest nearly $100 million in the facility as part of a long-term master plan that could include modifications to the road course to allow it to accommodate IndyCar testing or racing in the future.
MotoGP and Grand-Am Road Racing use sections of the infield course for their races at IMS, with MotoGP competing at the track since 2008 on a counter-clockwise (MotoGP) version of the circuit and Grand-Am since 2012 on a clockwise (Grand Prix) layout. Formula One raced on the IMS road course from 2000-07.
“We wanted to evaluate the racetrack as it is,” said Derrick Walker, president of competition and operations, IndyCar. “There are a number of ideas to improve overtaking and making the racing more interesting perhaps than it was during the Formula One days. I’m not sure the Speedway needs to make monster changes. There could be some alterations that would improve the racing short term, and then if the fans come, you keep doing more and keep doing more. I think you could develop a really unique racetrack out of the infield.”
Rahal and Briscoe quickly warmed to the concepts as they logged laps clockwise and counterclockwise, utilizing turn one of the oval and the existing turn one of the Grand Prix road course.
“It’s a little different going the opposite way around, but it’s actually not a bad track,” said Rahal, who competed on the Grand Prix layout in Formula BMW in 2004 and Firestone Indy Lights in 2006. “Everybody knocks it, but I’ve had some fun. You’re sliding around; there’s not a lot of grip. The track layout as it is, would it be great for passing? There are really only two spots. But that’s why we’re trying a lot of different configurations to analyze and potentially help.