The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has announced a revival of the Hulman Indy Challenge Trophy as a key part of a strategy to work with corporations and entrepreneurs to define the next generation of automobile, continuing its legacy and leadership role in the development of automotive technology through motorsports.
"The Indianapolis Motor Speedway was founded 102 years ago with the mission of providing a proving ground for the automotive industry," said Jeff Belskus, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corp. president and CEO. "We recognize the landscape is changing for the development of the automobile, and we are eager to provide the ultimate showcase for those wanting to prove their products in on-track competition."
The Hulman Indy Challenge Trophy was first contested in 1989, with the most recent run occurring in 1996. The competition was for closed-body, stock production vehicles covering the greatest distance over a 24-hour time span. The event's revival is part of an overall strategy to engage corporations and entrepreneurs among automotive firms, and energy and high-tech industries. Several companies have expressed interest in testing a variety of emerging technologies, such as electric vehicles in competition, including full-scale auto races.
IMS will work with companies to define the testing criteria for the Hulman Indy Challenge Trophy record attempts. This will allow a variety of companies to test their products through record attempts at IMS.
"We are looking forward to the opportunity to work with IMS in the development of auto racing events that showcase the qualities of electric vehicles," said Mike Rowand, director, Technology Development for Duke Energy. "The movement toward sustainable automotive technology has strong momentum, and these are exciting times for automotive innovation, much like it was 100 years ago."
Said Paul Mitchell, president and CEO of the Energy Systems Network (ESN), an Indiana-based association of companies developing clean technology innovations: "Many of our member companies from across the globe are interested in demonstrating the viability of their products in the competitive world of auto racing. We can think of no greater motorsports platform in the world to show transformational advances in automotive and energy technology than the Indianapolis Motor Speedway."
IMS will work with ESN to organize and play host to an industry forum later this summer to discuss proving sustainable automotive and energy innovations through motorsports. The Speedway's automotive sustainability strategic direction will be launched at the track's Emerging Tech Day on Saturday, May 7, when a variety of collegiate competitions using solar, hybrid and electric technologies will be staged. In addition, auto manufacturers will present a giant "ride and drive" with a variety of electric vehicles. Owners of plug-in vehicles can register their cars at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway website to drive a pace lap around the Brickyard. This event is free to the public.