It’s been five long years since the IMSA sports car racing grid lined up at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the final of three annual Brickyard Grand Prix races [above]. Since then, major international sports car racing has avoided the circuit for one reason or another. That will finally be rectified next fall when two SRO championships’ seasons end in Indy with an 8 hour endurance event. As perhaps America’s most premier motor racing circuit, Indy will once again represent a home for open wheel, stock cars, and sports cars. As it should.
The so-called Indianapolis 8 Hours event will combine SRO’s two major series, the Intercontinental GT Challenge and Blancpain GT World Challenge America for the first time. The Indy 8 will put the cap on the IGTC championship following the Bathurst 12 Hour, 24 Hours of Spa, Suzuka 10 Hours, and Kyalami 9 hour. This event will replace the prior IGTC season ending California 8 Hours, which took place at Laguna Seca.
The combined sports car series already run to the same SRO class regulations, and will combine a field of international GT3 teams with domestic GT3 teams to hopefully fill the garages and the grandstands alike. These mega street-car-based racers will take to the 14-turn 2.439-mile road course, the very same as the one IndyCar uses for its Indy Grand Prix in May.
“Our loyal fans will love the ultra-competitive action of the Intercontinental GT Challenge and GT World Challenge America when it comes to IMS in October 2020,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “The global endurance format, featuring the world’s best GT drivers and teams, guarantees fast and furious action from the start all the way to the checkered flag. Plus, there’s an incredible array of machinery on track from so many prestige manufacturers – it’s a car enthusiast’s dream weekend.”
While many World Challenge America teams previously competed in the California 8 Hour event, it was a non-championship round, and did not count toward their season points. In 2020 that changes, as the Indianapolis round will be counted as a points-paying round of the series championship. As such, it should provide a nice bit of craziness in a series that is usually based on 90-minute sprint events.
“We are excited to be bringing our leading brand of GT3 competition to the world-famous Brickyard,” said SRO Motorsports Group founder and CEO Stephane Ratel. “What better way to close out our 2020 season than at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway – a track with such prestige and historical significance.”
You can currently find Acura, Aston Martin, Audi, BMW, Bentley, Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren, Mercedes-AMG, Nissan, and Porsche competing in GT3-spec competition machinery across both championships, and combining the two for one big shootout should be an incredible sight. There is no word yet as to whether the 8 hour race will include SRO America’s other classes, GT4 America, and TC America. Personally, I’d love to see this big enduro include multiple classes.