The infield section, a 1.5 mile stretch from Turn 5 through Turn 16, will receive its first resurfacing since it was built in 2000.
The repaving project addresses concerns expressed by MotoGP riders about the track’s surface. Much of the criticism was about the consistency of the track, with different sections offering different levels of grip, especially where the road course and the oval course meet. According to IMS, the new asphalt will provide a more consistent racing surface with the first four turns, located inside the oval course’s first turn, which was created for the Indianapolis Grand Prix’s debut race in 2008.
“I’m happy to hear the infield section is being repaved at Indy,” says Nicky Hayden, Ducati factory MotoGP racer. “It’s already a great track, and I’m sure this will make a smoother, more consistent racetrack for everybody.”
Repaving will begin June 9 and is scheduled to complete by the end of June, offering plenty of time before the Aug. 26-28 Indianapolis Grand Prix.
While the new surface will benefit this year’s race, the resurfacing project signals IMS’ commitment to extend its contract with MotoGP organizer Dorna Sports. IMS received just a one-year extension last August for the 2011 race but the other two American rounds, Laguna Seca in Monterrey, Calif., and the newly announced Circuit of the Americas racetrack in Austin, Texas, have longer contracts to host the series. Laguna Seca is under contract through 2014 while the Circuit of the Americas has a ten-year contract beginning in 2013. A new surface specifically for MotoGP racing is a good indication a long term contract extension is in the works.
“This project is an example of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway providing competitors the finest racing facilities in the world,” says Mel Harder, IMS senior vice president, operations. “We had a very long, hard winter this year, which exacerbated the bumps and cracks in this aging section of the track.
“We also decided to undertake this project this year due to feedback from riders during the Red Bull Indianapolis GP last year. The new surface will produce even closer, more exciting racing for the world’s best riders and our loyal fans this August.”