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Brown: IndyCar needs faster cars and East coast expansion

McLaren CEO Zak Brown wishes to see IndyCar expand its footprint along the East coast of America and wants new, faster cars.

Patricio O'Ward, Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet, Felix Rosenqvist, Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet

Patricio O'Ward, Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet, Felix Rosenqvist, Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet

Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

Speaking to select media at Laguna Seca, he was asked what IndyCar needed to increase its ratings.

He responded, “I think we can still enhance the schedule on the east coast. I’d like to see us have new cars – but I think I’m in the minority. The racing’s great but I think that this sport is about technology, and the issue is, in five years we’re going to be saying the same thing: ‘Good budget, the racing’s great, why change?’

“So at what point do you make a change? I think it will give the series a shot in the arm if you take the technology to the next level.”

He later expanded on the topic saying that he’d “like to see the cars a little bit faster, with more horsepower and a new lighter chassis. If you look at Super Formula and Formula 2, those cars are quicker.

So I think refreshing the product, we would benefit from it.”

He alluded to Formula 1’s Drive to Survive series, to which has been credited with boosting grand prix racing in the U.S.A., remarking: “[IndyCar needs] a bunch of little things as opposed to coming out on Netflix, although that seemed to do the trick for Formula 1 in North America. But I think we were more lucky than good in that outcome.

“I think the budgets here are fantastic, the value for money racing here is the best and I think the racing’s awesome. But the schedule can be enhanced, I think the digital activities that we do can be enhanced.”

Currently IndyCar’s only East coast races are St. Petersburg in Florida and Toronto in Canada. Brown said he was easy regarding where in particular IndyCar should target its East coast expansion.

“Anywhere – New York, Philadelphia, Jersey, Massachusetts,” he shrugged. “I’d go back to Meadowlands – although I’d like to see a different layout. As much as I love some of the up north road courses, I think it’s got to be a street race. Even DC, there was an ALMS race. Something like that.

“I was talking about this with Mark [Miles, Penske Entertainment CEO]. We need to do a heat map of all the stadiums and convention centers as they seem to be the best place to look. Long Beach is around a convention center, Toronto is around a convention center, Nashville is around a stadium. Look at where all the convention centers and sports stadiums are on the East coast and see if that’s a place to start.”

Brown said, however, that he was “not a fan of international races”.

“Mexico, yes, obviously. But [staying in] North America,” he clarified. “I mean, the Australia race was good, but if you look at the fan base, it’s North American. And if you look at sponsors, I don’t come across many CMOs that are responsible for North America and Australia!

“So I’d like to see us round out the calendar in North America before going international.”

 

 

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