IndyCar to return to Brazil in 2015

Ryan Hunter-Reay leads the field away from the start during IndyCar's most recent race in Brazil at Sao Paulo in 2013.

Phillip Abbott

After a one-year absence from running the streets of Sao Paulo, the Verizon IndyCar Series will head to a new venue in Brazil in 2015, it was announced Thursday by INDYCAR. Instead of racing at the largest city in the vast South American nation and one of the largest cities on Earth, INDYCAR heads to the Brazilian capital city of Brasilia for a high-speed contest at Autódromo Internacional Nelson Piquet on March 8, 2015.

“We’re eager to continue INDYCAR’s rich history of racing in Brazil with today’s announcement of a Verizon IndyCar Series event in Brasília next season,” said Mark Miles, the CEO of Hulman & Company – owners of INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “This event is an instrumental step in the growth of INDYCAR as we continue to execute our strategy of adding race markets and events that drive us forward. We’ve received a tremendous amount of support from Governor Agnelo Queiroz, the Government of the Federal District – GDF and the Bandeirantes Communications Group throughout this entire process. INDYCAR fans throughout the world are unbelievably enthusiastic about our sport and we’re excited to showcase another thrilling event next season.”

Miles and Maruska Souza Holanda, President of Terracap, a government-owned company that owns the racetrack, made the joint announcement from Brasília Thursday.

Brazilians Tony Kanaan and Helio Castroneves, two of the most successful and popular drivers in the Verizon IndyCar Series, applauded the 2015 schedule addition.

"It’s awesome news that we’re going back to Brazil next year,” said Kanaan, the 2004 Verizon IndyCar Series champion and 2013 Indianapolis 500 winner. “The fans there love INDYCAR and support the race and we also have Brazilian sponsors involved in our sport, so racing in my home country is a no-brainer. I raced at the Brasília track a very long time ago, in the beginning of the 90’s, but I remember it being very cool. I can’t wait for INDYCAR to get back there in 2015."

Castroneves, the three-time Indianapolis 500 winner who recently finished second in the Verizon IndyCar Series championship behind his teammate Will Power, echoed Kanaan’s sentiments.

“We are living in great times for Brazil,” Castroneves said. “The World Cup was there a few months ago. The Olympics are coming to Rio de Janeiro in 2016. In between we will see the return of the Verizon IndyCar Series beginning in 2015. Brazilians are very proud of their sports heritage, including motorsports. I know it will be a great event at a new venue for us in the capital of Brasilia, the Autódromo Internacional Nelson Piquet, named after one of our greatest drivers. I love racing in my native country and I hope to be the winner next year.”

Brasília joins NOLA Motorsports Park as the second new INDYCAR venue added to the calendar for next season. INDYCAR officials are currently finalizing the entire 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule, which will be announced later this offseason.  

INDYCAR previously sanctioned a Verizon IndyCar Series street race in São Paulo (2010-13) and CART raced in Rio de Janeiro (1996-2000) on an oval circuit that was also named in honor of Piquet.

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“I look forward to having the race in Brasilia; it will be a marvelous event not only for developing Brasilia but for all of Brazil,” Brasília’s Governor Agnelo Queiroz said while visiting the Indianapolis 500 in May. “The racetrack is located close to downtown and we expect more than 100,000 fans at the event. The racetrack is a permanent facility and it was built in the center of the city in 1973, and we were determined in our improvements that the track should meet the safety and performance requirements for INDYCAR, F1 and MotoGP. We truly hope the event will bring investments and economic development for the whole Central region of Brazil.”

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