The NTT IndyCar series may become the first major motorsport series to make its return to the race tracks after announcing its plans to stage the season-opening race in early June.
The American open-wheel series announced this week that the 2020 season will kick off on June 6 at Texas Motor Speedway with the season-opening race taking place behind closed doors without fans.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, INDYCAR will run a condensed schedule with practice, qualifying and the race taking place on the same day.
IndyCar President Jay Frye said that the series has worked out a plan to guarantee the safety of the drivers, teams and all other participants.
“We’re excited and ready to kick off the NTT INDYCAR SERIES season at Texas Motor Speedway. We’ve worked closely with Eddie Gossage, the entire TMS team and public health officials on a plan of action that will ensure the safety of our event participants alongside an exciting return to competition for our drivers, teams and viewers tuning in from around the world.”
The restrictions and measures that are aimed to protect the health of everyone involved in the event include a health screening system administered to all participants, strict access guidelines limiting the number of personnel on site and social distancing protocols in place.
Because of the one-day format of the season-opening weekend, the length of the race has been adjusted to 200 laps rather than the previously announced 248 laps. There will only be one practice session before drivers battle it out in qualifying.
Although IndyCar has also played a key part in the simulator racing in recent weeks, President and general manager of Texas Motor Speedway, Eddie Gossage said that America is longing for a real on-track race.
“America needs live sports and they are not going to believe what they see when the Genesys 300 storms into their living rooms on TV from Texas.”
„One of the world’s greatest sporting events, the Indy 500, has been postponed until August by coronavirus, so all of that pent-up energy, anticipation, frustrations and anxiety will be pounding through the drivers’ nervous systems. Typically, the Genesys 300 results in a 220-mph photo finish,” he said.