IndyCar are set to announce the closest thing to the confirmed 2012 season schedule, which will feature fifteen races, just four of which will be on ovals.
It isn’t the smallest schedule in IndyCar history (only nine events took place in 2000), and due credit must go to Randy Bernard for valiant efforts to try and beef up the schedule.
Next season will see four ovals, down from the eight visited in 2011. As usual, the month of May will be all about Indianapolis and the iconic Indy 500. Following soon after will be Iowa and Texas, however the twin-race format used in 2011 which received mixed reviews will return to the standard 228-lap event. Closing the season will be a night race return to Auto Club Speedway in Fontana for the series’ first visit there in seven years.
Milwaukee is not yet dead in the water but without a title sponsor, IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard is unwilling to take on the promotion duties himself. As we already knew, Motegi, Kentucky, Loudon and the Las Vegas oval will not return for 2012.
2012 will be an uncertain season all around, as the series regains its footing from the tragic end to last season. With a new and unproven car, nobody is quite sure what to expect when the series opens in St Petersburg on March 25.
IndyCar officials have made contact with Phoenix and Richmond about a return, however 2013 is the likely date for these tracks, if a deal is made. Another project for 2013 is a double-billing with the American Le Mans Series at the Road America road course, however this is still a work in progress.
New and returning races for 2012 include Belle Isle in Detroit (pictured, left), which has already been confirmed, as well as a venture into new Asian shores with a street race in the harbour-side town of Qingdao in China.
The traditional journey into Canada will take ownership of the entire month of July prior to a busy month of August, with Baltimore, China and Sonoma all seeing action in the final northern-hemisphere summer month. Baltimore has survived the chop for now but IndyCar continues to keep tabs on the financial situation between the promoter and the local council.
Next year’s IndyCar schedule is as follows:
|25 MAR||Honda Grand Prix of St Petersburg||Streets of St Petersburg, FL|
|01 APR||Honda Grand Prix of Alabama||Barber Motorsports Park, AL|
|15 APR||38th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach||Streets of Long Beach, CA|
|29 APR||São Paulo Indy 300||Streets of Sao Paulo, Brazil|
|27 MAY||96th Indianapolis 500-Mile Race||Indianapolis Motor Speedway, IN|
|03 JUN||Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix||Belle Isle, Detroit, MI|
|09 JUN||Firestone 550K||Texas Motor Speedway, TX|
|23 JUN||TBA||Iowa Speedway, IA|
|08 JUL||Honda Indy Toronto||Streets of Toronto, Canada|
|22 JUL||Edmonton Indy||Edmonton City Airport, Canada|
|05 AUG||TBA||Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, OH|
|19 AUG||TBA||Streets of Qingdao, China|
|26 AUG||IndyCar Grand Prix of Sonoma||Infineon Raceway, CA|
|02 SEP||TBA||Streets of Baltimore, MD|
|15 SEP||TBA||Auto Club Speedway, Fontana, CA|
[Article by Matt Lennon; images via Inside The Race and Zimbio]
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