The IndyCar Series drivers will no doubt be rejoicing in the wake of the latest announcement from Baltimore, with event organisers confirming that three major changes will be made to the street circuit’s layout.
The changes are aimed at improving overtaking around the circuit, which will host the penultimate round of the championship season on 2 September.
The universally unpopular chicane on the start/finish straight will be removed and the first corner will be widened to create a genuine passing location, while Turns 5 and 6 – including the pit entry – will be reprofiled.
“Without the chicane, I think it will improve the show with a longer run into Turn 1, which will be widened to create a better passing zone and will be a good viewing place [for spectators],” said Tony Cotman, whose NZR Consulting firm is in charge of building the circuit in the lead-up to the event.
“We looked at Turns 5-6, which was a difficult combination last year, and we’ll change the shape of the corner, which may entice some passing. There are some other subtle changes like the shapes of walls.”
Baltimore hosted its inaugural IndyCar Series event last year – won by Team Penske driver Will Power – to almost universal praise from drivers, teams and spectators.
But its future was clouded during the off-season when the city’s local government terminated the contract with the event original promoter. Thankfully, a new promoter was secured before the 2012 season kicked off.