Indianapolis, IN (SportsNetwork.com) - IndyCar officials announced on Monday that they are exploring a prospective Verizon IndyCar Series race at NOLA Motorsports Park in Avondale, La., a suburb of New Orleans.
The race -- the IndyCar Grand Prix of Louisiana -- would be organized by Andretti Sports Marketing. NOLA Motorsports Park, a 2.75-mile, 16-turn road course, is located approximately 15 miles southwest of downtown New Orleans. The track opened in 2011.
A separate announcement of the potential IndyCar event was made by Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and NOLA Motorsports Park owner Laney Chouest at the track.
According to a news release from IndyCar, the State of Louisiana, upon approval by its Legislature, will commit $4.5 million to make necessary enhancements to the racetrack in support of the event. This investment, combined with private funding from NOLA Motorsports Park, will help facilitate track and facility improvements as required by IndyCar.
"We're delighted by this broad show of support and encouraged by the prospect of a Verizon IndyCar Series race in New Orleans," said Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman and Company, the parent of IndyCar and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "We greatly appreciate Laney Chouest, his associates at NOLA and the State of Louisiana for their efforts to make enhancements to NOLA Motorsports Park.
"With these improvements, we're confident that NOLA can meet our standards for safety, fan experience and quality of racing. We look forward to continuing this dialogue in hopes of making New Orleans a destination that may soon host a Verizon IndyCar Series event."
The race would be part of a three-day festival that includes live musical acts, entertainment and local food.
"This is great news for our entire state," Gov. Jindal said. "A three-day event would allow us to show off the excitement of an IndyCar Series race right here in Louisiana as well as our state's culture, entertainment and food. This event would be a great economic driver for our state and a great weekend for the whole family."
This coming Saturday, IndyCar is running on Indianapolis Motor Speedway's 2.434-mile, 14-turn road course for the first time. The Indianapolis 500, which is the most prestigious race of the IndyCar season, is scheduled for May 25.