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The Score - Anthony Schoettle

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Sports Business

IndyCar hopes to book 2 foreign races for 2016

May 27, 2015
KEYWORDS Sports Business

Less than a week removed from this year’s Indianapolis 500, Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles is already looking ahead to the 2016 IndyCar Series season.

Miles is pushing the accelerator on plans to start the IndyCar season earlier and hold races in foreign lands. The IndyCar Series has not raced outside the U.S. or Canada the last two years.

This season’s opener—which was set for March 8 in Brazil—was scuttled in January. Undeterred, Miles is focusing on bringing the series to Colombia, South Africa and/or the United Arab Emirates in either February or early March of 2016.

Miles also has interest in returning to Brazil, but IndyCar officials aren’t optimistic that will happen in 2016.

Miles and his staff are currently in negotiations to have one or two races in warm weather foreign climates to kick off the season next year. Miles said the season will continue to conclude by Labor Day to minimize competing with the NFL.

The 2016 season will conclude with a Labor Day weekend street race in Boston, the series announced May 21.

Miles thinks he has the support of team owners to race overseas, and IndyCar officials hope to be able to give teams part of the sanctioning fee to defray costs.

Several team owners including Roger Penske have made it clear they don’t favor more than two overseas races per season. There’s a feeling they’re too expensive, and the overseas markets are not developed or dense enough to warrant the additional costs.

Motorsports marketers think South Africa and United Arab Emirates are the two strongest markets commercially for an IndyCar race. If a deal is to get done to hold an IndyCar race or two overseas to kick off the season, Miles said it would have to be signed within the next month.

There are no current plans to pursue races in Europe.

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