NEW ORLEANS — The IndyCar series has committed to an April 12 race date for next season’s inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana, a person close to the situation said.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on this week condition of anonymity because the race date has not been publicly announced. Louisiana Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne and IndyCar president Mark Miles were scheduled to take part in press conference Wednesday afternoon at NOLA Motorsports Park, which will host the race.
The IndyCar series confirmed in May that it planned to bring a race to New Orleans for the first time in 2015, but race calendar for next season had not been set at that time.
The NOLA Motorsports Park is a private, $60 million facility about 14 miles southwest of downtown New Orleans. It features a 13-turn, 2.67-mile road course that has already hosted AMA motorcycle racing and Indy Lights, as well as the Pro Mazda and USF2000 series. The track is also undergoing $2.6 million in improvements designed in part to increase the number of passing opportunities and also to meet the safety standards of high-spec racing, such as IndyCar or NASCAR.
IndyCar, the top North American-based open wheel racing series, has an agreement to bring races to the track for at least the next three seasons, though the hope is to make it a long-term annual event.
The 2015 race will take place on the same weekend as the French Quarter Festival, a popular music festival held in and around the historic neighborhood for which it is named.
NOLA Motorsports Park had requested dates during either late March or in June, which are generally slower periods for the New Orleans tourism industry, but the racing series was unable to make those dates work for its 2015 season.