Formula One: US Grand Prix at Indianapolis Construction Update

6 August 1999

KEVIN FORBES (Director of engineering and construction, Indianapolis Motor Speedway):

"As we transform this facility to accept the new event and new events in the future, there is an awful lot to talk about. The road course is paved with three lifts of asphalt. The geometry of the road surface is complete and able to accept minimal testing. In totality, we are 22 to 24 percent done (with the overall construction project).

The majority of the work will be done in nine months. Next May, the facility will be nicely poised for the next century, and it will enhance and add to the three existing events. Our goal is so fans can see what we have done, and it is something they can be proud of. Not everything will be complete (in May 2000). There may be some paint missing and some light fixtures. Our task in designing the infrastructure is to exercise it as a multi-use facility. The media center will be ultra-modern, with a direct view to the racing line. We do not need the press box across the track any longer."

(When will the road course be ready for FIA inspection and testing?): "The timeline we are on is by the end of October, the FIA can do a thorough inspection, and we should be 90 to 95 percent done (with the road course)."

(About the safety of the F1 cars in what is now Turn 1 of the oval): "F1 is comfortable with the provisions that are in place. We will have tire barriers against the wall where the cars exit the road course onto what is now Turn 1 of the oval. When they are on the long straightaway, they are running parallel to the wall, so any impact would be a very low level of impact."

(When will the first car run on the road course?): "We could run a car right now, but it really depends on what you want to do with it. We don't have all the safety devices in place but will toward the end of October or November."

(About possible changes to road course after inaugural United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis): "We have a plan in place for the course to extend into (oval) Turn 3, which will open up the stands in that turn. We can extend it into the third turn and provide good entertainment, and we can increase the backstretch. There is a plan that can do a couple of nice things, but right now that is on the back shelf."

(About construction's impact on the facility): "Construction has had a different impact than what we anticipated. Our fans have really commented on our improvements. They appreciate our efforts."

(Will fans be allowed in the infield of the road course?): "Fans will be allowed to purchase general-admission tickets and walk inside the road course. We are installing spectator mounds. Basically, you can leave your seat and enter the road course through one of our tunnels and go back to your seat."

(Why are 36 garages being built when there are only 24 F1 cars?): "Some of the teams bring three cars. Every garage will be utilized."

Editors Note: To view hundreds of hot photos and racing art, please visit The Racing Image Galleries and The Visions of Speed Art Gallery

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