The IRL is no more. As Randy Bernard promised last summer the Indy Racing League moniker has been euthanized and replaced with the name IndyCar. After becoming CEO of the IRL last March, Bernard soon discovered that the IRL brand carried many more negative than positive connotations for the sport’s fan base. He decided it had to go, and this week made the formal announcement.
Bernard also confirmed that IndyCar’s new 2012 engine formula has been reduced from 2.4 to 2.2 litres for a turbo V6. “We felt it necessary to reduce displacement to a maximum of 2.2 litres to be in line with our smaller, lighter and more efficient direction,” said Brian Barnhart (below), IndyCar’s president of competition and operations.
In addition IndyCar revealed that it is opening a new entertainment and media office in Santa Monica, California, in partnership with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Sarah Nettinga will manage the new west coast office. Nettinga joins IndyCar from NASCAR, where she helped produce three NASCAR-based Hollywood movies and six NASCAR-related TV series. Prior to her time in stock cars she worked for various front-rank TV production companies. Nettinga becomes IndyCar’s senior vice-president of media and entertainment.
A separate announcement came from Edmonton in Alberta, western Canada, confirming that the IndyCar race at Edmonton’s City Centre Airport has been successfully revived and will be run this year on July 24.
The Edmonton race is promoted by Octane Motorsport Events, a subsidiary of Octane Racing Group, promoters of the Canadian Grand Prix and the NASCAR Nationwide Race at le Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montréal. The city of Edmonton has signed a three-year agreement with Octane to organise and promote the IndyCar race.
Paul Tracy has previously said that the revival of the Edmonton race was essential to making his sponsorship package for this year come together. Tracy, 40, has been racing Indycars for 20 years and the Toronto native is the series’ biggest draw in Canada, so we hope to hear more good news from him over the coming weeks. Under Randy Bernard’s direction, IndyCar seems to be on a genuine upswing.