IRL Considering Canada, Mexico

The Indy Racing League could include events in Canada and Mexico as early as next season

IRL Considering Canada, Mexico

After announcing a compressed, 14-race 2006 calendar, senior IRL officials revealed they had been looking at events in both countries and want to race there in the near future.

IRL has been rumoured to have looked into holding a race at Quebec City and Montreal, current home of the Canadian Grand Prix. Currently, only one event is held outside of the US, with the race in Motegi, Japan beneficial to engine suppliers Honda and Toyota.

Ken Unger, senior vice president of business affairs for the IRL said: "We have had a number of discussions with promoters in different Canadian cities, mostly in the eastern provinces.

"We're looking intently at the North American markets, including Canada and Mexico. We hope to race both in Canada and Mexico in the near future. If that's 2006, that's fine. If it's 2007, whenever an event comes along that's right for both promoter and us, that's when we'll do it.

"As with the case with all the other events that are added year to year on the schedule, we don't comment on discussions prior to any kind of deal being made. I really can't comment on Quebec City or any other venue."

The new season starts and finishes earlier than before, and has lost dates at Phoenix, Pikes Peak, and California Motor Speedway.

Brian Barnhart, president of the Indy Racing League, admitted it was not too late to add the events back onto next season's schedule.

He said: "Last year we announced the schedule, then added St. Petersberg after that. There may be a situation where one or two races could come about in the next couple weeks along the same lines as that scenario.

"Not everything was able to get accomplished and end up where we wanted to be. Whether it's Fontana, Phoenix or Pikes Peak, if those issues could be addressed, those are markets we would certainly look to make a return to. If they could be addressed in time, we'll add them in '06. If not, then that's something we'll look to add in the longer term."

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