The inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis will be held on 8-10 May 2014
My feeling towards this race swing from 30-70 against when it was first seriously muted amongst the media to 70-30 for as we are today, post press conference.
My original reasons against were from a traditional stand point, May should be about the 500, end of. But after hearing from those in charge of the series and also IMS discuss the virtues of having a road course race at the track it really hit home a number of key issues. Here are just a few thoughts on them and also about the race itself coming up...
1 - Indycar is no longer in the position it once was a decade or more back. Eyes on cars, cars on track has to be a good thing. (ABC/ESPN eyes too).
2 - The 'month' of May has been becoming shorter, this way we have more on track activity. I was watching the opening day stream earlier this year and stood near a car with no one else in sight was a friend of mine on her own, more people through the gates can not be a bad thing.
3 - Reality of modern life is that sport is a business and it has to pay. To have a racing facility just sat there for the majority of the year is wrong from a commercial stand point.
4 - Pricing, on the whole as a stand alone event, mixed to positive. I have seem some grumblings and do agree that with the close proximity of the 500, it wont hurt the 500, it will hurt the RC race. £12-£45 for a high quality race, compared to many sporting events this side of the Atlantic, I call that a great deal!
5 - I have attended races at Spa and Detroit in recent years, with very limited viewing of the cars on track. This will not be the case at IMS, improvements to the mounds and addition infield seating will allow greater viewing of the cars, something I can actually agree with a higher price for!
6 - The schedule as it stands is still looking a little bare, although personally I would love to see more ovals, we have to be realistic with what actually works and where the series can get a race.
7 - Having the full 'Road to Indy' on the same weekend will be great for them, the drivers, teams and sponsors to have a race associated with IMS, great exposure to new fans and especially Indy Lights as the series goes forward.
8 - The track itself will have a number of improvements, this is not the F1 track from ten years ago, and lets be honest, the DW12 races well pretty much anywhere.