China will host its first-ever IndyCar race next year, competing in an August street race in Qingdao.
China becomes the fourth international event in IndyCar’s 2012 schedule.
The IZOD IndyCar Series will race at Qingdao – a Yellow Sea coastal city of 8.7 million between Beijing and Shanghai – on August 19 on a 3.87-mile street circuit.
“As the world global economy continues to grow and evolve, China, the world’s second-largest economy, has become a top priority with most American businesses and the sponsors that are committed to IndyCar,” IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard said.
“Last year, at our sponsorship summit, China was the No. 1 place our sponsors wanted to go outside of the United States.
“We are very excited and truly grateful for the full support of the Chinese Government, Qingdao City Government and related Government Bureaus in providing the opportunity to bring the IZOD IndyCar Series to China. We are committed to doing our part in making this a fantastic race event weekend to be seen on the world stage.”
The race will be contested on a temporary street circuit, with the long-term objective of constructing a permanent racing and entertainment venue. Known for its German and French heritage, Qingdao boasts an almost European atmosphere, with the city often referred to as “China’s Switzerland.” The race weekend will coincide with the popular Qingdao International Beer Festival.
Qingdao, in Shandong Province, is the largest container port in China. The world’s longest sea bridge (26.4 miles) opened in June and links the main urban area with the Huangdao district.
Tianhou Palace, built in the Ming Dynasty (1467 AD), is the centre’s most historical structure. With a stage in the front and bell towers and drum towers at both sides, the temple has been developed into the Qingdao Folk Customs Museum.
The 2012 season, which will feature the return of engine manufacturer competition and a new car, kicks off Sunday, March 25, with the eighth Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
The Indianapolis 500 is scheduled for Sunday, May 27, with Pole Day on Saturday, May 19.
The remainder of the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series schedule, and the 2012 Indy Lights schedule, will be announced soon.