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IndyCar could be in Qingdao, China by 2012UPDATE #8
This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' with today's announcement by IndyCar.
09/06/11 As we stated in this original rumor back in 2009 (see below), the plan is for the authorities to build the world’s biggest motorsport oval, with a crowd capacity of 400,000+, which will be about 15 percent larger than Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The aim, no doubt, is to emulate the success of the Indianapolis 500, for a Chinese audience. As the work will take a few years to complete the Qingdao authorities are planning to have IndyCars racing on the streets in order to build up a fan base before the big new speedway is completed.
08/29/11 "The agreement has been negotiated, but we never announce anything as complete until it is officially complete, signed, deposit secured," president of IndyCar's commercial division Terry Angstadt said. "And we're very hopeful that will happen by next Friday. That's our schedule. I'd put it at a 90/10.
"It's a big process - we're dealing with a pretty big institution over there. But we're very hopeful, we think it's the right market, we've had a lot of excitement from our team owners when we asked where we should go, so we're hopeful."
08/27/11 This rumor is upgraded to 'strong' today. IndyCar is less than one week away of possibly signing a deal to race on the streets of Qingdao, China in 2012. In the West its postal map spelling is Tsingtao, and it is a major city with a population of over 8.715 million in eastern Shandong province, Eastern China. Its built up area, made of 7 urban districts plus Jimo city, which in itself is home to about 4,346,000 inhabitants in 2010.
Lying across the Shandong Peninsula while looking out to the Yellow Sea, Qingdao is a major seaport, naval base, and industrial center. It is also the site of the Tsingtao Brewery. The world's longest sea bridge, the Qingdao Haiwan Bridge, links the main urban area of Qingdao with Huangdao district, straddling the Jiaozhou Bay sea areas. In 2009, Qingdao was named China's most livable city.
AR1.com hears there are two possible dates - in the summer or early autumn. If the deal gets signed by Friday then the race will be on the 2012 calendar.
No word yet if Motegi would reconsider cancelling their IndyCar race if they could split the costs the China race.
06/24/11 The U.S.-based representative of the China race was in Milwaukee to discuss a contract, but nothing was signed. After seeing the Milwaukee attendance the China representative probably got cold feet. Why would you bring a potential race promoter to Milwaukee - an oval that has failed previously? And if you thought Milwaukee looked bad, wait until you see New Hampshire in August, another oval that failed miserably under both IndyCar and before that under CART. They had better start giving tickets away now. And they want to go to Phoenix? Fontana? Michigan? Chicagoland? All tracks with behemoth grandstands built for NASCAR-size crowds. No better way to make your series look like a loser than to race at places like that, regardless of how good the racing might be. If you look like a loser, sponsors and potential sponsors run for the exit gates.
08/22/10 In our Home Page interview with Randy Bernard he confirmed exploratory discussions about having races in Australia and China, though neither is close to happening. IndyCar's Terry Angstadt recently went to China, but they had a race in Surfers Paradise that CART started over 20 years ago but they decided to drop it. Now they are going to try and start a new one from scratch? Forget about it.
03/13/10 The IndyCar Series could be racing in China as early as 2012. Terry Angstadt, president of the series' commercial division, said early talks have began to try to take the series to the Asian country in the next few years. He said officials have been to China two or three times already for negotiations and met with high-level government officials.
"We are not there yet," he said.
"It's something for at least two years in the future, maybe three."
Angstadt said China makes perfect sense from a strategic point of view because it has a good economy, a relevant emerging automotive industry and a big sports base.
"Strategically, our plan is to go there," Angstadt said.
The Indy Racing League currently has only two races outside North America - in Japan and in Brazil, which is where the season will debut on Sunday.
The event in China would take place the week before or after the race in Japan. IRL new CEO Randy Bernard noted that the series remains focused on the United States and North America, but added that races abroad "are important for the growth of the sport."
05/11/09 Angstadt cautioned that discussions are early but said he returned Thursday from a three-day visit to look at Qingdao, China, the city that hosted the Beijing Olympics sailing competition. There's another logical reason for considering China.
"We would button that race onto Motegi, which would make it a two-hour trip rather than a 15-hour trip,'' Angstadt said. "One is much more advanced (in discussions) than the other.''
04/28/09 The Indy Racing League is taking a serious look at holding a race in China as early as 2011. Series officials said there are several good reasons why the league may want to head to the nation of 1.33 billion people. “Obviously it’s a very big market, and I love the interest they are showing,” said Terry Angstadt, president of the Indy Racing League’s commercial division, who departed Sunday for a five-day swing through China. “We are clearly interested.” Angstadt told IBJ before this season started that he would be meeting with a number of Chinese government officials to hash out the possibilities of bringing the IRL to China. Fourteen of the IRL’s 17 races this year are in the U.S., with two excursions into Canada and one to Japan comprising the series’ international outreach. Angstadt said a race in Brazil next year is a strong possibility.
While the talks are in the “early stages,” Angstadt said Chinese officials are thinking big.
“We’re looking at one existing and one new facility,” Angstadt told IBJ. “Chinese officials said they want a venue that will hold 500,000 people.”
That’s 100,000-plus more than fit in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Indianapolis 500. Such a massive audience, Angstadt said, could open the door to new league and team sponsorships in Asia and elsewhere.
But Angstadt said the move into China would be about more than appealing to a mass audience.
“A lot of our corporate partners and team sponsors have a serious interest in being in China,” Angstadt said. “Lots of IRL companies have business relations in China. For instance, Penske has operations in China and Menard’s buys in China. A race there would allow them to enhance those relationships and possibly forge new ones.”
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