No truth to Adelaide IndyCar race
By Mat Coch
Wednesday 20th September, 2023 - 3:00pm
Reports that IndyCar could host an exhibition race on the streets of Adelaide are without foundation, Speedcafe can confirm.
The American open-wheel series has been looking at the potential of adding an ‘international’ event, with a race in South America tipped as the most likely location.
Rumours regarding a possible IndyCar return to Adelaide were raised in an article published in the Indianapolis Star, picked up by other outlets without interrogation.
The rumour has continued to swirl ever since despite there being no official comment on the matter.
And that is because, according to multiple sources spoken to by Speedcafe, it is simply not true.
Stan Sport is the only way to watch every round of the INDYCAR SERIES. Click here for all the action streaming ad-free, live and on demand.
IndyCar paddock insiders had not even heard the rumour when it was put to them by this writer, while others locally scoffed at the practicalities of it.
The timing of such an event, for a start, would prove troublesome as the Supercars event is not expected to take place until late next season, while the IndyCar Series will finish in Nashville in mid-September.
Typically, IndyCar works to conclude its year early so as not to clash with the NFL season, which is set to begin in early September 2024.
That would leave plenty of time for shipping the circus to Adelaide but would see the event run some two months after the season finale, at a time when interest in the series has dwindled.
But there are even more fundamental issues – on top of the fact that no deal has been done (which is not to say it wasn’t discussed at a conceptual level, that could well have happened).
In its current guise, the Adelaide Parklands circuit holds only a Grade 3 FIA licence, the same as Barbagallo (as it’s listed in the FIA circuit licence list), Thruxton, and the Nordschleife.
With that grading, only Category II cars with a weight/power ratio of 2-3kg/bhp are eligible (plus some historic cars) can compete on the circuit.
A current-spec IndyCar weighs around 740kg with a power output estimated at between 550 and 700bhp (according to Honda Racing’s specifications).
That gives the cars, at worst, a ratio of 1.34kg/bhp, and at best 1.06kg/bhp. In short, the cars are too fast for the circuit and on safety grounds would not be able to compete – at least not in its current configuration.
The first chicane is understood to be an area that would need to be addressed as, despite once hosting Formula 1, safety standards have moved on in the last 28 years.
Turn 8, however, the fast right-hand sweeper that brings cars onto the truncated Brabham Straight from the circuit’s F1 era is not a concern.
There would be other considerations too; where would IndyCar be housed? Would it share the same race weekend as Supercars? How would pit lane be laid out given their contrasting needs?
If IndyCar and Supercars don’t run on the same weekend, legislation surrounding the use of the Adelaide Parklands track would need to be examined as it currently only allows the closure of public roads for five days a year – a point which would preclude the running of a second event (without changes to the legislation).
As has previously been written, the idea of world-class single-seater competition on the streets of Adelaide is evocative, be it Formula 1 or IndyCar.
However, on both fronts, there is no such deal. Adelaide was far too late to the table (once again) when F1 struck its deal with Melbourne.
On the IndyCar front, there is no deal in place and sources both locally and in IndyCar have no knowledge of one even being a possibility.
It’s a fanciful thought, but a story based on, it seems, a sheepish grin rather than fact.