Indy racing will return to Watkins Glen
WATKINS GLEN--Following discussions, IndyCar announced their official return to Watkins Glen International during a press conference Friday, May 13. IndyCar was looking to replace Boston in its 2016 racing schedule, and WGI was listed as one of the possible venues to fill the gap. The series will return to the Finger Lakes Sept. 1 through 4. The last time IndyCar raced in Watkins Glen was in 2010.
The Verizon IndyCar Series event will be the 15th of 16 races on the 2016 series schedule. It replaces the Grand Prix of Boston that was canceled by the race promoter two weeks ago.
"It's great to have the Verizon IndyCar Series return to Watkins Glen," said Jay Frye, IndyCar president of competition and operations. "A tremendous amount of thanks goes to track president Michael Printup and his entire staff for their efforts in helping make this a reality in such a short time frame.
"Obviously, Watkins Glen has great racing history and it's a track that will showcase the on-track competition and overall excitement level of our series. Our season is off to a great start and we can't wait to bring the Verizon IndyCar Series back to our fans at Watkins Glen."
Watkins Glen International has a noted open-wheel racing history that has included Indy cars and Formula One. The scenic, undulating permanent road course has hosted nine past Indy car races, from 1979-81 and again from 2005-10. The first two events were run on the 2.4-mile short course and were both won by Bobby Unser. The race moved to the 3.4-mile long course in 1981 when another Indy car legend, Rick Mears, drove to victory.
The Verizon IndyCar Series returned to the circuit in 2005, with Scott Dixon winning three straight years before Ryan Hunter-Reay won in 2008 for Rahal Letterman Racing, Justin Wilson secured the first-ever Indy car win for Dale Coyne Racing in 2009 and Will Power took the checkered flag for Team Penske in 2010.
"We're excited to welcome IndyCar back to The Glen," Printup said. "The fact that we could put this deal together so quickly shows how motivated each party was to make this happen for the fans and the competitors. This deal was put together in two weeks, which I think is a record in motorsports."
Watkins Glen joins Phoenix International Raceway and Road America in a 2016 schedule that returns IndyCar to fan-favorite venues with deep history in the sport. The 60-lap event will be held on the track's 3.4-mile permanent road course that includes "the boot" extension from the short course. NBCSN and the Advance Auto Parts IndyCar Radio Network will broadcast the race.
"Open-wheel (racing) is synonymous with Watkins Glen International," Printup said. "It has been for a long, long time. With those cars on that track, it's just a blistering pace. Racing 'the boot' is one of the finest things in motorsports you can watch. ... You're making a left, a tight right and another left and a tight left at the top, and that's one mile in just a few seconds. That's awesome with these Indy cars.
"The racing is going to be fantastic. Reintroducing the sport to Watkins Glen International and that world attention that IndyCar can get at Watkins Glen, combining those two synonymous brands and that history, that will be our success, I think."
Tickets for the Labor Day weekend event will go on sale next week and will be available for purchase at TheGlen.com and by calling 866-461-RACE. As the penultimate race on the schedule, it will likely play an integral role in the chase for the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series championship.
The weekend will also feature the Empire State Region Ferrari Club of America, who was originally scheduled for Labor Day weekend at WGI.
"The IndyCar race at Boston was cancelled and [Friday,] May 13 a deal was consummated where Indy Car will be with the Ferrari Club at Watkins Glen on Labor Day weekend," confirmed Ferrari Club Treasurer Robert Coates. "There is a lot of work to be done but I expect all to go well."