Edmonton Indy officials have revealed the new racecourse designed on and around the Eastern runway at Edmonton's City Center Airport. The 13-turn, 2.256-miles track incorporates more braking zones aimed at opening up passing opportunities, with tight hairpins in the northwestern (5) and southeastern (13) parts of the track and a tight, 90-degree first corner.
"The passing maneuvers in these corners will likely have a great impact on the issue of all races on the program," said Francois Dumontier, president of Octane Motorsports. Dumontier said that he and the Edmonton event's newly appointed general manager, Anne Roy recently met with Alberta's Capital City officials to stoke promotion of the event, scheduled for July 22-24.
"The other course was good and fast initially, but it was too hard to pass on," admitted IndyCar's Tony Cotman, who consulted on the design of the new layout. "One of the big things we needed to focus on with this course was how to make the show better, and I think we've achieved that.
"There were restrictions relating to the airport, but I think we can create a much better actual racetrack for racing on – and obviously that's what people come to see. It will be better."
Canadian racer James Hinchcliffe, who has tested with the Newman/Haas IndyCar team this winter and hopes to move up to the big cars this season from Indy Lights, was enthusiastic about the new layout.
“I was just so relieved that Edmonton was back on the schedule that I almost forgot they were changing the layout,” said Hinchcliffe. “The new one looks really cool, with some great passing opportunities which the last configuration lacked a bit. Edmonton was always known for being the most physical race, and I enjoyed that, but these new straights will take away a little bit of the challenge and give us more of a break over the lap. All the drivers' necks collectively thank the design team!
“I just really hope that I can solidify my place on the IndyCar grid this year and get to run there! Edmonton is such a cool city with incredible fans and I got my first win on home soil there last year so it really holds a special place in my career.”
Promoter Dumontier also revealed details of a newly simplified ticket pricing plan for the race.
"We wished to simplify and clarify our offer to all. That is why we are implementing a system most major motorsport events customers in Canada are familiar with: all grandstand seats are offered on a three-day basis and each grandstand seat has its single price," Dumontier said. "Fans can choose to attend themselves for the three days or share their tickets with friends or relatives – as is a tradition at the Canadian Grand Prix, for example. I must add, as we will soon reveal, that our 2011 racing program will be much busier on Friday and Saturday."
Dumontier said that the new track also will have much better vantage points for grandstand ticket holders. "With all seats being much closer to the track, they will be coveted," he added.