The field races into road course turn one during the second race of the 2020 Harvest GP
(Johnson Collection)

Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Road Course Races
IndyCar Series

Since 2014, NTT IndyCar Series races have been held on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway combined road course. Held traditionally on the Saturday two weeks before the Indianapolis 500, and the week prior to Indy 500 practice and qualifying, the IndyCar Grand Prix effectively kicks off track activity for the month of May.

The combined road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was originally completed in 2000 for the Formula One United States Grand Prix. The U.S. Grand Prix was held at Indy from 2000 to 2007 on the original 2.606-mile clockwise circuit. In 2008, improvements were made to the course, and an updated 2.591-mile counter-clockwise layout was created for motorcycles. Moto GP raced on the modified layout from 2008 to 2015. The Grand Am/IMSA sports car series also held races on the now slightly-modified clockwise F1 course from 2012-2014.

The IMS road course layout utilized since 2014 for the IndyCar Grand Prix

In 2013, the IndyCar Series conducted a feasibility test on the road course, with the possibility of hosting a race in the future. After positive test results, and positive feedback from competitors and fans, an annual race was added to the month of May. Parts of the track were reworked, and a new 2.439-mile road course layout was created. The road course portion was repaved and various improvements yielded a more competitive layout and a circuit better suited for IndyCars (as well as stock cars). The first “Grand Prix of Indianapolis” was held in May 2014.

The name of the race was changed to the IndyCar Grand Prix in 2017, in order to emphasize that the event was part of the American-based IndyCar Series, and not a continuation or revival of the old Formula One event. In 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the IndyCar Grand Prix was moved from May to July 4th, and became part of the NASCAR Brickyard 400 weekend. It was run as part of a Saturday road course doubleheader with the NASCAR Xfinity Series Pennzoil 150. Due to cancellations of other IndyCar Series events in 2020, a second road course event was added to the schedule. The IndyCar Harvest GP consisted of two races, added as part of the Intercontinental GP 8-hour endurance race weekend in October.

For 2021, the IndyCar Grand Prix was moved back to it customary date in May. A second road course race was held in August, again as part of the NASCAR weekend.

The inaugural IndyCar road course race in 2014 utilized a standing start. During the 2014 IndyCar season, the series experimented with standing starts at selected road/street  course events. Polesitter Sebastián Saavedra’s car stalled triggering a huge crash at the start. All races since have utilized a rolling start. Angie’s List was the title sponsor of race in 2015-2016. Beginning in 2020, Global Medical Response (GMR) has served as title sponsor. The 2021 August race was sponsored by IMS partner Big Machine Distillery (which is owned by Scott Borchetta, who also owns Big Machine Label Group, which sponsored the Brickyard 400 several times).

As of 2021, the closest finish for an IndyCar race on the road course came in the 2014 event. Simon Pagenaud held off Ryan Hunter-Reay by 0.8906 seconds. Race winners for IndyCar Series races on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course are as follows:

Date Race Name Winner Distance Average
Speed
Laps Miles (mph)
Saturday
5/10/2014
Grand Prix of Indianapolis Simon Pagenaud 82 199.998 96.436
Saturday
5/9/2015
Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis Will Power 82 199.998 116.842
Saturday
5/14/2016
Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis Simon Pagenaud 82 199.998 108.784
Saturday
5/13/2017
IndyCar Grand Prix Will Power 85 207.315 120.813
Saturday
5/12/2018
IndyCar Grand Prix Will Power 85 207.315 113.318
Saturday
5/11/2019
IndyCar Grand Prix Simon Pagenaud 85 207.315 103.254
Saturday
7/4/2020
GMR Grand Prix Scott Dixon 80 195.120 114.789
Friday
10/2/2020
IndyCar Harvest GP Presented by GMR – Race 1 Josef Newgarden 85 207.315 119.060
Saturday
10/3/2020
IndyCar Harvest GP Presented by GMR – Race 2 Will Power 75 182.925 119.115
Saturday
5/15/2021
GMR Grand Prix Rinus VeeKay 85 207.315 116.096
Saturday
8/14/2021
Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix Will Power 85 207.315 113.458

Statistics

Multiple road course race winners

  • 5 — Will Power
  • 3 — Simon Pagenaud

Race Logos

 

 

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020
July 4th

2020 Harvest GP
(Intercontinental GT weekend)

2021

2021
Brickyard weekend

 

The field gets ready to take the green flag for the second race of the 2020 Harvest GP (Johnson Collection)

 


References