SPEEDWAY, Ind. — Roger Penske has undertaken what he is calling a “multi-million dollar” investment in upgrades to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Penske, along with IndyCar President Mark Miles and IMS President Doug Boles announced several changes and upgrades, not just for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but for the NTT IndyCar Series.
“One of the things that we wanted to do is announce that our purse (for the Indianapolis 500) will be going up two million to $15 million,” Penske said. “The winner will get at least $2 million, along with addition winnings for leading laps and winning the pole, things like that.”
It’s the largest purse in the history of the Indianapolis 500. Miles added that there will also be some changes to the qualifying format for the big race.
“I would be surprised if we don’t have something like 36 car trying to make into the field of 33,” Miles said. “This year, those cars trying to get in (in the Last Row Shootout) to fill the last row will have 75 minutes and will be guaranteed one attempt then will be able to keep trying to get on the board and get into the race.”
Miles also says they are allowing for more boost in each car’s turbocharger to add an additional 45 horsepower. This means he expects qualifying speeds to go north of 233 miles per hour.
As for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Penske says they have spent a lot of money on some cosmetic work as well as features to make the fan experience better for those attending events at IMS.
“Along with Verizon, we are going to have 5G available throughout the Indianapolis Motor Speedway,” said Doug Boles. “It’s the first time ever 5G has been offered at a racing facility.”
Boles added they are also investing in 30 brand new video boards on top of the seven they already have throughout the facility to make it easier for people to watch track activity.
The biggest video board will be placed inside Pagoda Plaza: a 100-foot wide by 20-foot tall screen that will be placed at the base of the Pagoda and facing out towards Pagoda Plaza. This screen will not only show live-video of track activity, but live stats, social media, and any other information fans might need to know.
More than 125 restrooms have been renovated and IMS plans to widen Georgetown Road to allow for better foot traffic for fans entering and exiting the track. They are also planning to pave some of the parking lots surrounding IMS.
Penske said this round of changes has garnered more interest in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the sport of IndyCar than he has ever seen. He said the next ten years will be “pretty exciting.”
(PHOTO: Karl Zemlin/IndyCar Media Site)