Late last week I posted an article about indycar racing becoming the Formula 1 of the Americas. Obviously this couldn’t happen over night or even anytime in the near future, but it is something for the series to shoot for. The Americas are relying on one another, for good or bad, more now than ever. INDYCAR can capitalize on the globalization and opening of markets in the Western Hemisphere. Imagine 20 years from now, free trade among the Americas is accelerating at an all-time rate and INDYCAR is there to give sponsors a canvas to market to the enlarged audience. This calendar is my dream “Formula INDYCAR” schedule. I know there are timing issues with other series, but this is considering INDYCAR the, by far, most dominant motorsports series in the Western Hemisphere, trailing only in global ratings to Formula 1. Because of this future role, INDYCAR has positioned themselves to push F1 out and fill the holes they left. This calendar runs from early march to late October.
- Long Beach, California street event (Ed: Thanks Pop Off Valve for catching the typo!! obviously I am not working hard enough to deserve the Ed tag)– Start the season in style. Roll out the red carpet, and kick the year off right, in the glitz and glamour that is the Grand Prix of Long Beach. Coming before the 12 hours of Sebring would mark the earliest this event has ever run in the year, but taking place in Southern California, I don’t think early March will pose any problems with the weather.
- Sebring – A support event for the 12 hours and bringing the whole ladder with them. The top teams in sports cars are in attendance, the worlds eyes are watching, and the series has an open test here nearly every year. We know indycar drivers like to race sports cars, so what better venue? Playing second fiddle to the ALMS for this event is no problem at all. (I know ALMS races in the GPoLB after Sebring, but this is what dreaming is for.)
- Buenos Aires, Argentina Autódromo Juan y Oscar Gálvez, Oval configuration – I know Buenos Aries is a long way away (Ed: Yea, like 12 hours on a plane and 5500 miles, far away) but the track is a nice road circuit steeped in South American open wheel history. I have no information on the condition of the facilities, but formula 3 still races there and MotoGP appeared for the last time in 1999, so it can’t be too bad. Finally, there is a three sided oval configuration to the track that we would use for this round of the championship.
- Porto Alegre, Brazil street event – At one time this race was a “done deal for 2011” but, obviously, we have no second race in Brazil this year, so who knows what happened. This spot in the schedule can be any street race, anywhere in the country. With the large contingency of drivers from Brazil, a second race for them would be nice to see.
- Sao Palo, Brazil street event – This street circuit was a huge success last year. After the racing surface difficulties were taken care of, the event went off without a hitch. I enjoyed the race, and thought it was one of the better twisties on the schedule. Let’s hope this, one of the few quality street circuits, continues in the future.
- Mexico City, Mexico Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, Oval Configuration – This choice is, by far, the largest stretch of what might become reality. Champ Car raced on the road configuration in 2007, but the oval is a very dangerous place. Massive amounts of work would have to be done to bring the oval portion up to safety standards. (Ed: your dreaming remember…) It is a cool layout, with a high banked west turn, a flat east turn and being 7000+ feet above sea level, like nothing we have here in the states.
- INDIANAPOLIS – Need I say more?
- Milwaukee Mile – Return this race to its rightful spot on the calendar, the week directly after the 500. Open wheel racing has taken place here for more than 100 years. This track is older than IMS, in fact the oldest operating racing facility in the world. Talk about heritage and history. I am glad we are making a return to the mile this year.
- Pocono Raceway – Major upgrades are needed to make the facility usable for indycars. Adding SAFER barriers to the inside of the track, paving the grass and grinding the racing surface would be a huge financial endeavor. Pocono, also, plays a large role in the history of open wheel racing. 500 mile races and being a jewel in the indycar triple crown, litter the history of Pocono. If there is any single track I would like to see a return to, this is it.
That does it for part one. The total schedule will be 22 races long, 11 ovals and 11 twisties. Right now the count is at 6 ovals and 3 road and street tracks. As an aside, I think we should remember that the CART that sold out Indy every year, made F1 sweat due to its popularity and had the eyes of an entire nation had a road heavy schedule for most of its history. Part two is here.