Grand Prix of Indianapolis features new race course at IMS

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Saturday marks the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race aims to bring new life to the old brickyard.

Doug Boles, president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, said the grand prix is causing some confusion.

It’s the same cars and same drivers, but instead of going around the 2.5-mile oval, they’ll be going around a brand new 2.4-mile road course that cuts through the infield of the speedway.

“So the first thing that people don’t quite understand is that it’s the Indianapolis 500 drivers in Indianapolis 500 cars, they’re just going to run on the road course,” Boles said. “They’ll do a standing start on the front stretch where the cars actually come and stop and then the light will turn green and everybody takes off.”

Guests will also be able to stand on viewing mounds throughout the course to watch the race from different angles. It’s part of the speedway’s campaign to get new eyes and new fans out to the speedway.

Boles said the grand prix won’t require the commitment that it takes to watch the Indy 500. The 82-lap race will be done in about an hour and 45 minutes.

“You can really come here, park. Less people. You won’t have to walk far. In about the same commitment as you make to go to a Pacer game,” he said.

The race will feature new food at the concession stands, bands, and activities for children at the plaza area.

There will also be two other races to watch: the USF 2000 Pro Mazda and the Indy Lights.

“We said since last October that a success to us is somewhere over 40,000 people for race day and I think we’re going to make that number. And if it’s a nice day, I think we’ll far exceed that number,” Boles said.

In the past, opening weekend would bring about 10,000 fans to the speedway, according to Boles.

Tickets for the grand prix can be purchased here or at the gate. General admission is $25. You can also buy a reserved seat, with the most expensive going for around $70. Children ages 12 and under are free.

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