IndyCar has announced it will stage a non-championship race at the Thermal Club resort in Palm Springs, California, on 24 March, with a $1 million (£800,000) prize on offer for its winner.
It is the first attempt at an IndyCar all-star race since 1992, when a prominent tobacco company sponsored a post-season invitational race at venues including Nazareth Speedway, Laguna Seca and Miami’s Tamiami Park street circuit. IndyCar has not staged a non-championship round of any kind since the final race at Surfer’s Paradise, Australia, in 2008.
The event format will consist of a qualifying session, and two heat races, with the top six from each heat advancing to the main event. The top five finishers will split their earnings from a multi-million dollar prize purse with select members of the private motorsports resort, determined via a ‘draw party’ staged before the event – with the winner receiving the titular one million dollar prize.
A charitable initiative will be a part of the event, with its specifics to be revealed at a later date.
“The experience the teams had at The Thermal Club was second to none,” said IndyCar president Jay Frye. “We treated it like a preseason scrimmage, and, looking back, it was the perfect launch to this record-breaking season. The facility is spectacular, and we cannot wait to return and showcase IndyCar in a whole new way.”
“We are proud to welcome IndyCar back to The Thermal Club during the 2024 season,” said John Rogers, owner of the Thermal Club. “The teams, drivers and the entire IndyCar Series paddock are true professionals, and we look forward to developing our relationship with them in the future. This marquee racing showcase in March promises to be special for everyone, including spectators, Thermal members and race fans tuning in at home.”
While the event will be developed for television in conjunction with host broadcaster NBC, a limited number of tickets will be made available for fans to watch the race in person. Typically, access to the Thermal Club is restricted only to club members, who pay in excess of $5million in membership costs – most of which is tied to the requirement to buy plots of land and build luxury housing for residence.
A full 2024 season calendar will be announced in the coming days.
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