Sophisticated Living Indianapolis

MAR-APR 2019

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IndyCar returns to the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida March 8-10 with the first of 17 races in a season that includes some changes to the schedule and a new title sponsor, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT). A new television contract with NBC means that eight of the 17 races, including the 103rd Indianapolis 500, will be broadcast on the main network, while the remaining contests will appear on NBCSN. Changes this year include a return for the season finale to the exciting Monterey circuit at Laguna Seca, where an open-wheel series has not been held since Champ Car last raced there in 2004. Famous for its descending corkscrew turn, this legendary track always provides thrilling wheel-to-wheel action. Another new race, the IndyCar Classic, will be held on March 22-24 at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, a counter- clockwise road course custom built for Formula 1. Featuring a steep uphill climb to the first turn, it is a stunning venue that is bound to become one of the highlights of the season. e F1 United States Grand Prix takes place in Austin on November 1-3, providing a unique and fascinating opportunity for fans of both series to compare performance and lap speeds on the same circuit. Closer to home, the series will make two appearances at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, first on May 11 for the IndyCar Grand Prix, and of course on Memorial Day weekend for the 103rd Indianapolis 500. All eyes will be on 2014 IndyCar Champion Will Power to repeat last year's victory, although he will be facing some stiff competition, not least of all from teammate and crowd favorite Helio Castroneves, and last year's Champion, New Zealander Scott Dixon. This year, for the second time, racing legend and twice F1 World Champion driver Fernando Alonso will be competing at the Indy 500 for his F1 team, McLaren, with Chevrolet power. In search of the third corner of the motor racing triple crown, which includes the Monaco Grand Prix and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Alonso needs a win at the 500 to become only the second driver (the first was Graham Hill) to win all three. Should he succeed, the Spaniard will bring McLaren their first Indy 500 victory since a 1976 win with Johnny Rutherford at the wheel. According to McLaren boss Zak Brown, McLaren will be creating an entirely new racing team for this one event. "It's a no brainer," he told in a recent interview. "Equipment, testing, personnel, all those will be of the highest caliber to have the best chances possible for Fernando to try and drink the milk." sl Written by Neil Charles INDYCAR Season starts with racing in the streets. 106

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