Today, the Verizon IndyCar Series confirmed the rumored return of Road America to the 2016 schedule. The 14-turn, 4.048-mile circuit held 25 IndyCar races from 1982 to 2007. The event at the historic road course in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin will be held June 24-26 next season.
There are some legendary names that have tasted victory at the track, which opened in 1955. Mario Andretti, Michael Andretti, and Emerson Fittipaldi all won three times at Road America. Paul Tracy, Jacques Villeneuve, and Bruno Junqueira have all won there twice. Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Co, was excited for the announcement. “We know how revered Road America is by our drivers, teams and fans and we’re confident it will be a great event on the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series calendar.”
Derrick Walker, outgoing President of Competition and Operations, played a major role in bringing Road America back to IndyCar. He visited the track several times during negotiations, and feels the current IndyCars will put on quite a show at Elkhart Lake. “It’s a classic road course: long, with almost every type of challenging corner. The track is designed to make full use of the natural terrain, which makes for great spectator locations to see the Verizon IndyCar Series at its best. In addition, our cars at Road America with aero kits will showcase some very exciting racing for our fans.”
All three levels of the Mazda Road to Indy will compete during the race weekend next June. There are ten current IndyCar drivers that have raced at Road America before, with Sebastien Bourdais winning the last race there in 2007. Bourdais started on the front row and finished on the podium in all four of his Road America starts. Dario Franchitti currently holds the track record, with a 39.866 second lap during the 2000 race.
Below is a video of the last race at Road America, in 2007. Video courtesy of IndyCar.
Road America is the seventh race date to be confirmed for the 2016 season.
- St Petersburg (March 11-13)
- Long Beach (April 15-17)
- GP of Indy (May 12-14)
- Indianapolis 500 (May 29)
- Detroit (June 3-5)
- Road America (June 24-26)
- GP of Boston (September 2-4)
For those wondering what a return to Road America means for the famed Milwaukee Mile, there is good news.
The fans weren’t the only ones thrilled with today’s announcement. Many drivers took to Twitter to praise the news. Below are some quotes from a handful of IndyCar drivers about Road America’s return.
Sebastien Bourdais: “I am really excited to see Road America back on the 2016 Indy car schedule. This place allows our cars to stretch their legs fully and show what the Verizon IndyCar Series is all about. It is our duty toward road racing to continue this tradition and I could not be happier that a new deal got penciled. For me, it is the best racetrack in North America and I have some great memories there, including the win in 2007, and I am looking forward to coming back.”
Scott Dixon: “Road America is one of the classic tracks in North America. Its long and challenging layout is built for speed and the Indy cars this year have been shattering a lot of track records with the new aero kits. I can’t wait to get back and am glad INDYCAR is expanding the schedule and adding races to the calendar.”
Tony Kanaan: “I’m extremely happy to know that Road America will be back on our schedule. It’s one of my favorite road courses in the U.S. – a long, technical and beautiful track. I had a couple of top-five finishes there back in the day, so I’d be happy to race there again and make it to the podium.”
Juan Montoya: “I have said several times that Road America is the one track in this country that needs to be added to the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule immediately. Elkhart Lake is a racing town. The people there love what we do and they really supported the series when we ran there in the past. It is exciting to see the schedule fill out a bit for 2016. This has been a great year for our series and I am confident that the 2016 season will be as well.”
Will Power: “I am really looking forward to going back to Road America. It’s a phenomenal racetrack, especially for the cars in the Verizon IndyCar Series with all of the downforce we have now. I think it will create really good racing because the draft effect is pretty big. Road America is just one of those traditional tracks that has been around for years and it has so much history with our cars. I can’t say enough how happy I am that it will be back on the schedule in 2016.”
Fans can visit www.roadamerica.com or cal. (800) 365-7223 for ticket package information.