The IZOD IndyCar Series has announced that it will run on the road course during its final visit to the Motegi circuit this year.
The Motegi event had always taken place on the egg-shaped oval version of the track since the series made its debut there in 2003. However, with the damage sustained during the March earthquakes, IndyCar has announced that the race will instead take place in the 2.98-mile road course, which is also used for MotoGP events (see track diagram, BELOW).
The event, scheduled for Sept. 18, will be the last one at Motegi, which will not return to the calendar next year.
"In conjunction with Mobilityland, we have made the decision to move forward with our race in Motegi after closely monitoring the ongoing situation in Japan for several months," said IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard. "After weighing a variety of options, we felt it was best to move the race to the road course. We understand that Japan is steadily moving forward with reconstruction and we look forward to entertaining our strong fan base at Motegi with our inaugural run on the road course."
Hiroshi Oshima, president of Mobilityland Corp., said the company decided that this was the best course of action due to the magnitude of damage to the oval.
"We had examined the option of restoration work to the oval, but considering the large-scale public works impact on society in this circumstance and the cost entailed, we felt it was best to move the race to the road course," he said. "Although we have been forced to change what we have been doing by the earthquake disaster, we will make sure our fans experience another exciting race."
Earlier this year, the IndyCar Series announced that the Sept. 18 race will be its final race at the facility. Twin Ring Motegi, which is owned by Mobilityland Corp., opened in 1997 and has played host to open-wheel events since 1998.