The chief executive officer of INDYCAR parent Hulman and Co. says the Verizon IndyCar Series expects continued growth heading into the 2018 season. Speaking at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Mark Miles touted a rise in live attendance and television viewership in addition to beginning the official public debut of INDYCAR’S new universal aero kit.
Miles says, by all measures, the series’ fanbase is growing. He says television viewership has risen by 38 percent over the past few years and has nearly doubled on NBC Sports Network alone. Miles celebrated the record attendance recorded at the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix race in 2017, as well as an increase in attendance at last year’s Indianapolis 500.
"Coming off the 100th (running of the Indy 500) a couple years ago, we’ve kept a lot of that growth," said Miles. "So now our expectation is the base for attendance on race day at the Indianapolis 500 mile race is 300,000 people, over 400,000 for the period of May, and we expect that to continue to be strong and, if anything, to grow. Many of our tracks reported increased attendance at their races."
Miles says INDYCAR is in the process of negotiating a new media arrangement for coverage of the series after the 2018 season. While no deal has been reached, he says the company is optimistic that the new deal will be a stronger platform for more fans to watch the series. In October, Miles appeared on Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick to talk about those efforts.
2017 Verizon IndyCar Series Champion Josef Newgarden appeared at the show to talk about the new universal aero kit and its advantages heading into the 2018 season. Newgarden says the new package represents a "new era" for drivers.
"It’s really the culmination of years of research of what we want to do with INDYCAR going forward and it’s on the back of an extensive six-month testing program last year," said Newgarden. "It’s really been run through its paces. We’ve tried to check the boxes on everything you need to with this car to make sure it’s going to function well and give us what we were looking for from a design standpoint."
INDYCAR first unveiled the new aero kit in July during a test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. You can view the full presentation from the North American International Auto Show in the video below: