IMSA President John Doonan says the sanctioning body has the “intent” to return to Indianapolis Motor Speedway although has not confirmed a timeframe for a potential endurance race being added to the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship schedule.
The development comes in the wake of track owner Roger Penske’s comments made last month of wanting to host an “IMSA-style” long-distance endurance race on the Speedway’s road course.
“I think Roger said in his quotes that he talked to us and he did,” Doonan told Sportscar365. “We continue to talk to them about an event at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“We haven’t made any decisions yet but we’re definitely in communication with them about a potential sports car race there.
“It could be next year; it could be ’23 or ’24. I think the intent is there at some point. We’re just not sure when.”
IMSA has previous history at IMS dating back to 2012 when Grand-Am made its debut there as part of a support race for the Brickyard 400, an event that spanned into the WeatherTech Championship era in 2014 (pictured above).
IMS was replaced on the WeatherTech Championship schedule in 2015 as part of a multi-event shakeup that year.
Aside from recent COVID-19-induced calendar changes, the series has remained with a stable 12-event schedule since 2018 following the replacement of Circuit of The Americas with Mid-Ohio.
Doonan said any change in the calendar would be taken with “sensitivity” and feedback from its stakeholders.
“Obviously I had the opportunity to come into this role straight from a team program,” he explained.
“When we make those kind of decisions we’re very careful about the costs associated with adding any amount of time to the season budget, whether that’s an additional two-hour race or an additional long-distance race.
“So we have to be really careful when we make those kind of decisions.”
When asked if a round at Indy could serve as an additional long-distance race and expand the Michelin Endurance Cup to five races, Doonan indicated that could be one of the possibilities.
“There’s room,” he said. “You can change any weekend to be longer.
“But what are the ramifications of that and I think that’s something we need to be sensitive to on the cost of operations, travel, all of the consumables on a weekend. You’ve gotta be careful.
“Like rules and class structures, we don’t want to make those decisions without input from the stakeholders.
“We’re in a variety of lengths of sanctioning agreements.
“We’ve got set schedules. We’ve got four Michelin Endurance Cup events. Could you add one?
“We’d need to talk to Michelin about that and again we need to be sensitive to how long is that race.
“We have a lot of work to do yet before we make a decision.”
Doonan confirmed the 2022 WeatherTech Championship calendar will be announced at next month’s ‘State of the Sport’ address at Road America.