Safety is a priority
Riders in the inaugural Red Bull Indianapolis GP on Sept. 14, 2008 will race on a new Indianapolis Motor Speedway motorcycle road circuit.
The motorcycle circuit is 2.601 miles (4.186 km) long and will feature 16 turns (10 left, six right). The
initial IMS road-course configuration, unveiled in 2000, had 13 turns in its 2.605-mile (4.192 km) layout.
All three classes competing at the Red Bull Indianapolis GP - MotoGP, 250cc and 125cc - will race on the new circuit.
As motorcycles cross the "Yard of Bricks" to start a lap, they will be traveling counter-clockwise, the same direction as cars in the two IMS oval events, the Indianapolis 500 and the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. Cars in previous road-course events at IMS traveled clockwise.
Construction has started on parts of the circuit. Paving of an estimated 13,300 tons of asphalt is scheduled to be completed by this fall, and the entire project is scheduled to be finished before Opening Day of the 92nd Indianapolis 500 in May 2008, said Kevin Forbes, IMS director of engineering and construction.
"This is like doing delicate surgery as opposed to massive reconstruction", Forbes said.
The major features of the new motorcycle circuit come adjacent to Turn 1 of the oval and in the infield.
A four-turn complex is being built inside Turn 1 of the oval and will comprise the first four turns of the new road circuit. The entrance of this new complex is situated at the end of the front straightaway. This will create nearly 800 feet of runoff area for riders.
The sweeping, left-handed Turn 1 is followed by a short straightaway into the 90-degree, right-handed Turn 2. Another short straight follows that into the tight, right-handed Turn 3, which leads almost immediately into the sharp, left-handed Turn 4. That turn leads riders onto the short chute between Turns 1 and 2 of the oval.
Riders then re-enter the infield at Turn 5, a sweeping, fast left-hander just before Turn 2 of the oval. Turn 6 is a 90-degree left-hander leading into a short straightaway.
Turn 7, a quick right-hander, flows into a short straightaway connecting to the left-handed Turn 8. Another short straight leads to the 90-degree, right-handed Turn 9, from which riders begin to power down the back straight adjacent to Hulman Boulevard in the center of the IMS infield.
Riders then will brake heavily at the end of the back straightaway into the curling, left-handed Turn 10, which after a short straightaway leads to the flowing, 180-degree right-handed Turn 11.
Another short straight leads into the quick, left-handed Turn 12, with a short straight running parallel to the nearby Hulman Boulevard leading into the sharp, left-handed Turn 13.
Turn 14 is a sweeping left-hander in which riders will gain speed into the short straightaway leading into Turn 15, a 90-degree right-hander. Riders then will flick their motorcycles to the left almost immediately, skimming their left knees just above the asphalt, for the 90-degree, left-handed Turn 16 that exits onto the famed front straightaway at IMS.
MotoGP riders then will accelerate to full power and cross the "Yard of Bricks" at approximately 200 mph to complete a lap.
Other changes to the circuit will enhance safety for all IMS events, oval and road course.
The guardrail inside Turns 1 and 2 of the oval is being removed, which will create more run-off area for motorcycle racers on the road circuit and auto racers on the oval. The ditch carrying the creek inside of Turn 1 of the oval is being filled and re-routed further into the infield of the track to accommodate the new four-turn complex and eliminate a possible safety hazard.
"It's going to improve safety, creating all of that new run-off area for oval race vehicles", Forbes said. "I think it's a great thing that we're not only making this for use as a motorcycle circuit, but we're improving the safety and the aesthetics of the oval."
Other facets of the construction project involve some excavation in the infield and relocation of spectator mounds adjacent to the infield portion of the new road circuit. The number of spectator mounds will remain unchanged.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway