Roger Penske buys IndyCar Series and Indianapolis Motor Speedwayby Jake Williams-Smith on 4th November 2019
A return to the Brickyard for Formula 1 is mooted as Roger Penske buys the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar Series
Roger Penske's company will own the series his own team competes in Photo: Motorsport Images
Roger Penske has bought the IndyCar Series and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with a view to bringing Formula 1 back to the venue.
The former racing driver, turned businessman and team owner, pledged to increase investment and to lead the sport and circuit into the future.
He will take control of the series and home of the Indy 500 after being approached by the Hulman family, which has owned the track for 74 years
Talks have been taking place since the final race of the IndyCar Series in September and the conclusion of the deal — pending government approval — was announced today.
"Hopefully I’ve got enough credibility with everyone that we can be sure that it’s not a conflict"
Speaking at a press conference, he said: "We want to add capability, more fan zones. What can we use this for? Can we run a 24-hour race here? Can we run a Formula 1 race here? What are the things that we can do? This is a great asset."
In a statement, Penske added: “My passion for racing began at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1951 when I attended the Indianapolis 500 with my father. We have so much respect and appreciation for the history and tradition of the Speedway and the sport of IndyCar racing.
"I want to thank Hulman & Company for the opportunity to build on this legacy and it will be an honour for Penske Corporation to help lead these great institutions forward into a new era."
Penske also insisted that there would not be a conflict of interest arising from the purchase despite owning a team competing in the series.
“As you look at the construct as we go forward, the sanctioning body and the IRL will be a separate company and the other assets will be in the Speedway.
"I understand the integrity, there’s got to be a bright line. To me, I know what my job is and hopefully I’ve got enough credibility with everyone that we can be sure that it’s not a conflict and do my very best to ensure it isn’t.
"If you think it is, I’m sure you folks will tell me pretty quick, I’ve got a lot of people watching me.”
Penske is the most successful team owner in the history of the Indianapolis 500, scoring 18 wins at IMS. He currently fields three entries in the series that his company has bought, all under the Team Penske banner, including 2019 Indy 500 winner, Simon Pagenaud and 2019 season champion, Josef Newgarden.
Lewis Hamilton won the last F1 race at Indianapolis in 2007 Photo: Motorsport Images
Team Penske sits second in the all-time titles list on five, with three championship wins coming in the past five seasons.
Penske Entertainment Corporation will take control of Hulman & Company, which owns and operates the portfolio. It's a subsidiary of Penske Corporation, whose chairman and owner is Roger Penske.
“The Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race and the NTT IndyCar Series have enjoyed considerable growth over the past decade, with significant increases in television, digital and social media audiences combined with record attendance at many of our race venues,” said Mark Miles, President and CEO of Hulman & Company.
“With their track record of business success, their venue, operation and event experience and their passion for motorsports, Roger Penske and Penske Corporation will help us take the IndyCar Series, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and all of our properties to new heights. Everyone on our team looks forward to working with them to capitalize on the momentum that the Series and the Speedway have achieved.”
Listen to the Roger Penske Royal Automobile Club Talk Show from earlier this year