New Orleans's NOLA Motorsports Park edges closer to IndyCar deal

IndyCar is investigating the possibility of racing at NOLA Motorsports Park just outside New Orleans, with reports suggesting that the venue could join the schedule as early as next year

New Orleans's NOLA Motorsports Park edges closer to IndyCar deal

The 2.75-mile privately-owned road course has been on the series' radar for some time, and was visited by IndyCar officials in 2012 with a view to it potentially opening the 2013 season at the same time that the city hosted the NFL's Super Bowl.

Subject to approval, the state of Louisiana will commit $4.5 million to make the upgrades necessary to bring the facility up to IndyCar standard. If confirmed, the event will be promoted by Andretti Sports Marketing.

"We're delighted by this broad show of support and encouraged by the prospect of an IndyCar Series race in New Orleans," said Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Company, the parent of IndyCar and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

"We greatly appreciate [track owner] Laney Chouest, his associates at NOLA, and the state of Louisiana for their efforts to make enhancements to NOLA Motorsports Park.

"With these improvements we're confident that NOLA can meet our standards for safety, fan experience and quality of racing.

"We look forward to continuing this dialogue in hopes of making New Orleans a destination that may soon host a IndyCar Series event."

State officials plan to tie the race in with a three-day festival highlighting both Louisiana's culture and its business opportunities, with hopes that the latter will deliver an economic boost to the region.

Louisiana ranks among the poorest states in the US based on median household income, and the city of New Orleans is still working to recover from the effects of hurricane Katrina in 2005.

The announcement marks the second time in three months that IndyCar has confirmed an interest in a new race without actually confirming the race itself.

Plans for a possible return to Brazil with an event in the capital Brasilia were released in March, and Brazilian race organisers announced a short time later that the deal for the race had been finalised.

AUTOSPORT understands that this is not the case, and indeed IndyCar itself has made no such announcement, although conversations between the promoters and the series are ongoing.

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Author Mark Glendenning
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