Verizon IndyCar Series Statement:
INDYCAR’s 2016 Schedule Features 100th Indy 500, Key Venues, Longer Span
INDYCAR announced the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule, a 16-race season – anchored by the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race – that spans five weeks longer than last season and features new events in Phoenix, Road America and Boston. INDYCAR has experienced a 38 percent growth in both television ratings and viewership over the past two years with longstanding TV partners ABC and NBCSN and the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season is poised to capitalize and build upon that momentum.
The most diverse schedule in motorsports features five races on oval tracks, five on permanent road courses and six on temporary street circuits.
“Overall, the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule is another key step forward in INDYCAR’s strategic vision,” said Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Company, the parent of INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “We’re confident that the momentum that INDYCAR has of Hulman & Company, the parent of INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “We’re confident that the momentum that INDYCAR has experienced in fan engagement over the past two seasons will continue as a result of the tireless efforts of our event promoters and our improved scheduling on ABC and NBCSN.”
The schedule opens March 13 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., where the Verizon IndyCar Series season has debuted in each of the past five seasons. The battle for the Astor Cup – the trophy presented annually to the series champion – concludes Sept. 18 at Sonoma Raceway, where the season came to a thrilling conclusion this year as Scott Dixon won the race to capture the championship on a tiebreaker.
The season includes the series’ return to staple venues Phoenix International Raceway and Road America, plus the debut of an exciting new event on the streets of Boston.
“Road America and Phoenix are great venues and two of the best choices that we could have to add to the schedule,” said Dixon, the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series champion who has raced on both tracks in his 15-year career. “I’m looking forward to both race events.
Road America is an old-school American track that I always look forward to. Phoenix was a fun track for me in the past. I tested there (earlier this year) and the changes that they’ve made has maybe opened up quite a few different grooves. The racing will be very exciting; we’ll put on a great show.”
ABC will broadcast five races in 2016, including the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg that kicks off the season two weeks earlier than last year. ABC will blanket Month of May coverage at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, broadcasting the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 14, Indianapolis 500 qualifications May 21-22 and the eagerly anticipated 100th Indianapolis 500 on May 29.
“The 2016 season is defined by the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500,” Miles continued. “The historic significance of our season is marked by this legendary event and the return of several storied venues such as Road America and Phoenix. Half the venues on our schedule have hosted 25 or more INDYCAR races and further our rich heritage as the premier form of open wheel racing in the United States.”
ABC’s Verizon IndyCar Series coverage also includes the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix doubleheader, with full races on June 4 and 5.
“We’ve been associated with the Verizon IndyCar Series since its beginning and we’re proud to be part of a sport with not only historic traditions but also a very exciting future,” said Julie Sobieski, ESPN vice president, league sports programming. “We have been pointing to the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 for a long time and especially look forward to that event and our 52nd consecutive year at the ‘Greatest Spectacle in Racing.'”
NBCSN returns as INDYCAR’s television partner for the eighth straight season in 2016 and will telecast 11 races, starting with the return to Phoenix International Raceway on the night of April 2. The one-mile oval hosted 61 Indy car races from 1964-2005.
“Coming off the most-watched IndyCar season ever on NBCSN, we are excited to once again contribute to the growth of this great sport and to showcase its speed and exciting brand of racing,” said Jon Miller, President, Programming, NBC Sports & NBCSN. “We take pride that INDYCAR entrusts our talented production team to televise the series’ final eight races, including being able to award the IndyCar championship on NBCSN each year.”
NBCSN will also telecast the 42nd annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 17 and the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama from Barber Motorsports Park on April 24. Following ABC’s coverage in May and early June, NBCSN returns to telecast the final eight races of the 2016 season.
Among those are the Grand Prix of Road America on June 26, a homecoming to the fabled four-mile permanent road course. The picturesque track in the rolling hills of east central Wisconsin played host to 25 Indy car races from 1982-2007.
Also on NBCSN in the back half of the 2016 schedule is the inaugural Grand Prix of Boston powered by LogMeIn, set for Sept. 4 on a 2.25-mile temporary street circuit in the South Boston Waterfront. NBCSN will then air the season-ending GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma on Sept. 18. The 2015 Sonoma race set an NBCSN record for INDYCAR with an average of 841,000 viewers, including a peak of more than a million.
Returning events on the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule airing on NBCSN include: the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway on June 11; Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway on July 10; Honda Indy Toronto on July 17; Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio on July 31; and the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway on Aug. 21.
In addition to coverage from ABC and NBCSN, all Verizon IndyCar Series races can be heard on the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network, available through network affiliates, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, the Verizon INDYCAR app and IndyCar.com.
The complete schedule, with television networks and times (all ET):
March 13 Streets of St. Petersburg ABC 12:30 p.m.
April 2 Phoenix International Raceway NBCSN 8 p.m.
April 17 Streets of Long Beach NBCSN 4 p.m.
April 24 Barber Motorsports Park NBCSN 3 p.m.
May 14 Grand Prix of Indianapolis ABC 3:30 p.m.
May 29 Indianapolis 500 ABC 11 a.m.
June 4 Raceway at Belle Isle Park ABC 3:30 p.m.
June 5 Raceway at Belle Isle Park ABC 3:30 p.m.
June 11 Texas Motor Speedway NBCSN 8 p.m.
June 26 Road America NBCSN 12:30 p.m.
July 10 Iowa Speedway NBCSN 5 p.m.
July 17 Streets of Toronto NBCSN 3 p.m.
July 31 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course NBCSN 2 p.m.
Aug. 21 Pocono Raceway NBCSN 3 p.m.
Sept. 4 Streets of Boston NBCSN 2 p.m.
Sept. 18 Sonoma Raceway NBCSN 7 p.m.
*Schedule subject to change. Listing indicates broadcast partner.
Mazda Road to Indy Announces 2016 Schedules:
Seven venues on the 2016 MRTI schedule will feature all three ladder levels – Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.
All MRTI races will be contested on the same weekend as Verizon IndyCar Series events with the exception of the season finale, which will take place at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif., for the second consecutive year. Phoenix International Raceway, Road America and the streets of Boston have been added to the Indy Lights schedule, while Pro Mazda and USF2000 have added Road America to their schedules.
To view the complete schedule for each series, go to http://www.indycar.com/News/2015/10/10-28-Mazda-Road-to-Indy-announces-2016-schedule
All three series start the season March 12-13 in St. Petersburg, Fla., as part of the Verizon IndyCar Series’ Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
Competitors in all three levels again will compete for scholarship packages to advance to the next level. Spencer Pigot, the 2015 Indy Lights champion, recently announced a 2016 agreement to race in the Verizon IndyCar Series with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.
“I am extremely pleased with the caliber of events we have on our 2016 schedule,” said Dan Andersen, owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions, which operates all three series under INDYCAR sanction. “We have a total of 50 races on deck for the three series across key markets in the United States as well as Canada. Finishing the season – and crowning all three champions – at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca finale this year proved to be a great ending and we are excited to return and close out the season again next year.”
The top level of the MRTI ladder, Indy Lights will see an expanded schedule of 18 races next season blending three ovals, three street circuits and five road course events. It will include doubleheader rounds at all street and road courses with the exception of Boston. A new qualifying feature – the Cooper Tires Lightning Round – will be incorporated at select Indy Lights circuits. It will feature the top three drivers from qualifying in a one-lap shootout on a new, softer-compound Cooper RS3 racing slick for the Cooper Tires Pole Award.
Pro Mazda, the middle rung of the MRTI ladder, features two short ovals, plus doubleheader weekends at two street circuits and five road courses on its 16-race calendar. The USF2000 16-race schedule consists of one short oval, doubleheaders at two street and four road circuits, plus the traditional tripleheader weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
NBCSN will host one-hour broadcasts of all race events with live broadcasts on the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network, Sirius XM Satellite Radio, IndyCar.com, indycarradio.com and the INDYCAR 16 app. ESPN International holds the international broadcast rights with races airing in Canada, Colombia, Mexico and Australia, among other countries.
RoadToIndy.TV and the Mazda Road to Indy app will continue to feature behind-the-scenes content, race recap episodes, special features, live streaming at select events and live shows of Mazda Road to Indy on- and off-track activities.
Tatuus to Manufacture Next Chassis for Pro Mazda, USF2000: Andersen Promotions announced that Italian manufacturer Tatuus has been chosen to design and produce the next generation of chassis for the first two levels of the Mazda Road to Indy – the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda and the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires. The new Tatuus USF-17 and Tatuus PM-18 chassis will make their competition debuts in 2017 and 2018, respectively.
Tatuus has been designing and manufacturing race-winning cars since 1980, including those for FIA F4 and Formula Renault 2.0. The Request for Proposals (RFP) and selection process was led by motorsports veteran Scot Elkins, race director for the USF2000 and Pro Mazda series.
“The attention to detail in their proposal and easy acceptance of existing Andersen Promotions partners really give us high expectations for these cars and we are ecstatic to have them as partners for many years to come,” said Elkins.
The Tatuus USF-17 will be a significant technology leap over the current Van Diemen USF2000 chassis. The USF-17 is a full carbon monocoque chassis built to the latest FIA F3 test specifications utilizing the current Mazda MZR 2.0-liter naturally aspirated engine, with additional safety features including full Zylon side intrusion panels and reinforced bulkheads to strengthen the chassis for racing on oval circuits. The USF-17 will also feature a six-speed paddle shift gearbox, four-way adjustable dampers, LCD steering wheel and ECU and INDYCAR-specific quick jack and roll hoop attachments.
The PM-18 will use the USF-17 as the base car to help control operational costs for teams wishing to move up. The PM-18 adds more power over the USF-17 from a Mazda SKYACTIV engine, more sophisticated aerodynamics with a revised underbody and diffuser, a three-element rear wing and a front wing with adjustable composite wing flaps.
The new USF2000 chassis will be unveiled at the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race in May 2016. Prototype testing is expected to begin in June with car deliveries taking place in the fall. A similar schedule will follow for Pro Mazda.
Photos Courtesy of Indycar