Know Before You Go: Brickyard Grand Prix Race

Five things to have in hand as you make your way to IMS.

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BrickyardGP2Entering its third running, the Brickyard Grand Prix race (today, 2:30 p.m.; imsa.com) offers a different variety of racing compared to the Indianapolis 500 or the Brickyard 400. For starters, the GP uses the infield track, not the famed 2 1/2-mile oval. This means spectators are essentially free to move to various spots around the track. Next, there are a variety of high-end cars in the field—four different classes of them and multiple manufacturers, including Porsches, Ferraris, and Audis.

Here are five things to know before you go:

1. Pack lunch—and probably dinner: Food and drinks at the Speedway can get costly, especially if you’re buying more than one meal. The GP race, which lasts nearly three hours, includes the Continental Tire Challenge and the Tudor United Sports Car Series, so six hours in total. This is an all-day event. Racing starts at 2:35 p.m. and goes until 8 p.m. Make it a family outing and have a picnic while racecars zoom past.

2. Indeed, it’s a family event: IMSA has gone to great lengths to make sure its races are friendly for all. Many vendor booths populate the infield, and fans have full access to the racing teams’ garages and pit areas. Don’t be afraid to stand within inches of the car or talk to drivers and the crew about what they’re doing. If your son or daughter is begging to stand next to that wonderfully green-and-black Patron car, let them. They might even get to sit in it.

3. Ear plugs, ear plugs, ear plugs: Unlike the 500, these GT cars are beyond loud. It’s as if the screeching gates of Mordor from Lord of the Rings have been transported to the track, as the scream of V8s and that lovely Aston Martin V12 car roar past. Thou shalt wear earplugs.

BrickyardGP14. Bring a collapsible bike: It’s easy to forget how large the Speedway is until you start walking through all the exhibits and garages. It’s also easy to rack up five to 10 miles yourself during one race if you’re moving constantly. Simplify your experience and find a mode of transportation; your feet will thank you. Plus, who doesn’t like to ride bikes?

5. Bring foldable chairs: Though there are grandstands to sit in throughout most of the track, the infield has grassy mounds. If you don’t mind sitting on the grass, go for it. But for the sake of comfort, bring a chair. You’ll get a better view to boot.

 

Photos by Joe Ruley

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