Like it or not, the Grand Prix of Indianapolis is coming.
The long discussed IndyCar Series race on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway will take place on May 10, 2014 and formally kick off the festivities leading up to the Indianapolis 500-mile race. The event will take place on a revised version of the IMS road course first developed for the Formula 1 Grand Prix from 2000-2007.
Like the F1 race, the IndyCar event will feature a standing start but the course will be slightly different than the one used by Ferrari, McLaren and their contemporaries as the new circuit will be extended to 2.434 miles and have several alterations to enhance the racing product.
The original course was criticized by fans but Graham Rahal and Ryan Briscoe recently tested on various configurations of the Speedway and surmised that the course could prove entertaining for the Indy cars.
The event will be contested in a clockwise direction with the right-handed, turn one to lead to turn 4 and onto the road course. Turns 2, 3, 4 remain the same before an adjusted chicane that will be turns 5 and 6, leading onto the Hulman Blvd.
Turn 7 will feature a tight, 90-degree left-hander that flows through Turns 8 and 9, leading back onto the oval Turn 2 and road course Turns 10 and 11 and then through the MotoGP section to bypass oval Turn 1 and create road course Turns 12, 13 and 14 leading back onto the front straight.
While that sounds complicated, just understand that the course has been designed to enhance competition and excitement -- for both the track and the entire month of May at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
"We started looking candidly and asked, 'Can we take this to another level? What if we could do more with May?' This will build to the culminating event. What if we could jumpstart and ignite May," Miles said at the IMS press conference on Tuesday.
In short, Miles believed the month of May needed an injection of excitement.
"We concluded that we needed to concentrate on the weekends," he said. "Opening weekend, I just had this nagging feel that we could do more. We had a great antique car show, practice and the atmosphere but we asked if we could turbocharge it. Let's bring the best of our worlds together. I feel we need to expose Indianapolis race fans to IndyCar racing."
The race will be televised live on ABC -- including in the Indianapolis market where the 500 is blacked out locally for the Indianapolis 500. Thursday and Friday will serve as practice and qualifying days and all three steps of the Mazda Road to Indy ladder system will compete at the track that weekend.
An IndyCar spokesperson also confirmed to SB Nation that the Freedom 100 Indy Lights race will also continue as planned on the Friday before the 500 -- traditionally dubbed "carb day."
A title sponsor for the Grand Prix of Indianapolis was not announced but the league is expected to announce one in the coming months.