The release of the 2014 United SportsCar Racing schedule is expected to come in the next 10 days, and within it, at least three double-headers with the IndyCar Series could be revealed.
As RACER learned last weekend in Baltimore, USCR is currently planning on holding 11 rounds next year, with IndyCar dates at Long Beach, Detroit and Baltimore (provided a contract extension is signed) serving as the primary events the two organizations would share. Moving Grand-Am's current Brickyard Grand Prix date to coincide with IndyCar's run on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in May has also been mentioned as a possibility.
American Le Mans Series CEO and USCR COO Scott Atherton told RACER the IMSA-sanctioned USCR series will look to maintain its relationship with the IndyCar Series as sports car racing unifies next season, although he would not be drawn on the specifics.
“We're definitely interested in maintaining the strong relationship between both organizations, and with the United SportsCar Racing series looking ahead to an exciting launch in 2014, we will have the opportunity to share some events with IndyCar in key markets that are valuable to both parties,” he said.
Between the two series, IndyCar is expected to grow its calendar in 2014 by adding more double-header events, but as Hulman & Company CEO Mark Miles confirmed in an interview this week, the open-wheel championship will shift the conclusion of its season forward to Labor Day. That change, coupled with the need for a future Baltimore date to move from Labor Day to sometime earlier in the season, could result in at least one of the current shared events being in jeopardy of falling through.
“I can't say how many events we will run together, but we have open lines of communication with IndyCar and continue to look for ways to streamline those events where we will work together,” continued Atherton. “It's also worth noting that while we have had a longstanding history of sharing events with IndyCar, the new United SportsCar series is looking to establish an identity of its own. I think the weekends where we do race together will give road racing fans a fantastic product, but equally, we're also confident that for the majority of our races where the United series will be at the forefront of the bill, sports car fans will have every reason to feel they've witnessed an excellent event with the finest drivers, cars and support series we have to offer.”
The USCR will open its season on Jan. 25 at Daytona with the 52nd running of the Rolex 24.