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USGP schedule features more F1 track time
The United States Grand Prix, which starts at 1 p.m. (local time) Sunday, June 17, is the featured event of three days of nearly non-stop action at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Formula One fans also will enjoy longer practice sessions on the opening day of the event, Friday, June 15, as the skilled drivers and exotic cars of F1 will be on track for three hours total, an hour longer than in 2006.

Three support series also will be on track on the 2.605-mile road circuit - the Indy Pro Series, IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge presented by Michelin and Formula BMW USA, giving fans a wide variety of racing machinery and competition to enjoy. The Liberty Challenge for the Indy Pro Series will consist of two races during the weekend, a first for the series at this event.

The first seven United States Grands Prix at Indianapolis have taken place in front of some of the largest crowds in the Formula One World Championship.

On-track activity starts Friday, June 15 with practice for Formula One and practice and qualifying for support series. Cars will be on track for nearly nine hours, from 8:45 a.m.-5:40 p.m., with few breaks in the action.

Two 90-minute practice sessions, starting at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., are the highlights of the Friday schedule. Drivers such as two-time defending World Champion Fernando Alonso, American Scott Speed, rookie phenom Lewis Hamilton, new Ferrari signing Kimi Raikkonen and 2002 USGP winner Rubens Barrichello will be on track preparing for qualifying Saturday and the race Sunday.

The Indy Pro Series, the premier ladder series for drivers and teams striving to compete in the IndyCar Series, will start track action Friday with a practice session from 8:45-9:15 a.m. for the third annual Liberty Challenge.

Qualifying for the first Liberty Challenge race takes place from 4-4:45 p.m. Friday.

The IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge presented by Michelin will make its USGP debut with a practice session from 11:55 a.m.-12:25 p.m. Friday. The American-based series uses Porsche 911 GT3 Cup full-bodied production sports cars virtually identical to the Porsche Supercup cars that raced at the USGP from 2000-06.

Formula BMW USA open-wheel, winged formula cars, competing at Indianapolis for the fourth consecutive year, will practice from 12:50-1:20 p.m. and qualify from 5:10-5:40 p.m. Friday.

The unique sound and speed of Formula One cars will start the schedule Saturday, June 16, as the 22 drivers will make final preparations for qualifying with a practice session from 10-11 a.m.

Formula BMW USA will follow at 11:25 a.m. with the first of its two races for young North American drivers aspiring to climb the ranks in open-wheel road racing.

F1 qualifying will take center stage from 1-2 p.m. with the exciting, three-phase "knockout" format continuing this year. The slowest 12 drivers will be eliminated in the first two "knockout" phases, with the fastest 10 competing for the pole in the thrilling 15-minute final session.

IMSA GT3 Cup drivers will conduct a qualifying session from 2:30-3:15 p.m.

The first 25-lap race for the Liberty Challenge will complete a full day of action Saturday at 3:45 p.m. Defending Liberty Challenge champion Alex Lloyd has won the first five races of the Indy Pro Series season, a series record. Indiana residents Logan Gomez and Doug Boyer also are scheduled to compete in both Liberty Challenge races.

Four races will comprise a complete day of competition Sunday, June 17.

The second Liberty Challenge race, another 25-lap event, starts at 8:35 a.m. The top six finishers from Saturday's race will be inverted on the starting grid, making a repeat victory a real challenge.

Formula BMW USA will conduct its second race at 9:40 a.m., followed by the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge race at 10:40 a.m.

The Race Day buildup for the United States Grand Prix Formula One race starts with the drivers' track parade at 11:30 a.m., followed by the grid presentation from 11:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

The eighth annual United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis is scheduled to start at 1 p.m., with a race distance of 73 laps.

Fans could witness a more exciting USGP due to new Safety Car rules instituted for 2007.

When the Safety Car is deployed, lapped cars between cars running on the lead lap will pass those cars and the Safety Car and move to the rear of the field for the restart. This will put all lead-lap cars nose-to-tail on the track, allowing those drivers to resume duels for position immediately after the restart without interference from lapped cars.

New tire rules that require each driver to run two different Bridgestone compounds during the race in dry weather will add strategy. A white stripe around the inside groove of the tire makes it easy for fans to identify the softer of the two compounds.

Off-track activity is centered around the popular United States Grand Prix Pit Walkabout on Thursday, June 14, which is returning for a fifth consecutive year for Season Pass and Race Day ticket holders.

Gates will be open from 7 a.m.-4 p.m., with the F1 pit lane open from 8 a.m.-noon. Other fan-friendly activities, such as driver autograph sessions and driver interviews, will take place all day.

(All times local; subject to change)


8 a.m.-noon
Pit Walkabout

FRIDAY, June 15


8:45-9:15 a.m.
Indy Pro Series
Practice session

10-11:30 a.m.
Formula One
First practice session

11:55 a.m.-12:25 p.m.
Practice session

12:50-1:20 p.m.
Formula BMW USA
Practice session

2-3:30 p.m.
Formula One
Second practice session

4-4:45 p.m.
Indy Pro Series
Qualifying session

5:10-5:40 p.m.
Formula BMW USA
Qualifying session



10-11 a.m.
Formula One
Third practice session

11:25 a.m.-12:05 p.m.
Formula BMW USA
First race (35 minutes)

1-2 p.m.
Formula One
Qualifying session

2:30-3:15 p.m.
Qualifying session

3:45-4:20 p.m.
Indy Pro Series
Liberty Challenge first race (25 laps or 35 minutes)

SUNDAY, June 17


8:35-9:15 a.m.
Indy Pro Series
Liberty Challenge second race (25 laps or 35 minutes)

9:40-10:15 a.m.
Formula BMW USA
Second race (35 minutes)

10:40-11:15 a.m.
Race (30 minutes)

11:30 a.m.
Formula One
Drivers' track parade

11:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
Formula One
Grid presentation

1 p.m.
Formula One
United States Grand Prix (73 laps)

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