By Barry Janoff
March 11, 2017: Defining it as a "unique moment in the recent history of the Verizon IndyCar Series," all four major manufacturers have renewed and extended their alliances with the auto racing circuit.
Chevrolet and Honda on Friday (March 10) signed multi-year contract extensions to supply engines for the Verizon IndyCar Series.
Earlier this year, chassis maker Dallara and tire supplier Firestone signed multi-year extensions.
Financial terms of the four pacts were not disclosed.
The renewed alliances coincide with the start of the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (March 12).
"This is a unique moment in the recent history of the Verizon IndyCar Series," Jay Frye, Indycar president of competition and operations, said in a statement.
"To have all of our major manufacturers locked in with us for the foreseeable future points to the fact that they all have bought into the vision for the Verizon IndyCar Series. It’s another sign of the positive momentum we continue to build as we grow this sport into the next decade," said Frye.
IndyCar also said that the alignment of all four manufacturers for multiple years "is a key component of (our) five-year plan for the Verizon IndyCar Series," unveiled in January.
Under the plan, aerodynamic regulations were frozen this season for the kits produced by Chevrolet and Honda in preparation for a universal aero kit to be used by all cars in 2018, according to IndyCar.
In addition to title sponsor Verizon, IndyCar Series non-endemic partners include Coors Light, New Era, Highland Mint, Jostens, Nike, Sherwin-Williams, SiriusXM and Tag Heuer.
Verizon IndyCar Series said that TV ratings and viewership of races "has increased 55%% over the past three years." Six events in 2016 reported record attendance, including the first announced sellout in the 100-race history of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.
The racing circuit said its social media numbers also continue to build, with more than 482,000 followers on Facebook, 259,000 on Twitter and 91,000 on Instagram.
Global spending on motorsports sanctioning bodies, teams and tracks is expected to total $5.75 billion in 2017, up 3.1% from $5.58 billion in 2016, but behind the projected 4.5% increase in overall global sponsorship spending, according to research and consulting firm IEG, Chicago.
After the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, the 2017 race schedule, which runs through September, includes the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500 (May 28), the Phoenix Grand Prix, the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (April 9), Road America, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and Watkins Glen Grand Prix International (Sept. 3).
Among the teams currently competing full-time in the Verizon IndyCar Series are A.J. Foyt Enterprises, Andretti Autosport, Chip Ganassi Racing, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and Team Penske.
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IndyCar Series 2017 Schedule
• Firestone Grand Prix St. Petersburg March 12
• Toyota Grand Prix Long Beach April 9
• Honda Indy Grand Prix Alabama April 23
• Phoenix Grand Prix May 13
• IndyCar Grand Prix May 13
• Indy 500 May 28
• Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix 1 June 3
• Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix 2 June 4
• Rainguard Water Sealers 600 June 10
• Kohler Grand Prix Elkhart Lake WI June 25
• Iowa Corn 300 Newton July 9
• Honda Indy Toronto July 16
• Honda Indy 200 Mid-Ohio Lexington July 30
• ABC Supply 500 Long Pond PA Aug. 20
• Bommarito Automotive Group 500 Madison IL Aug. 26
• Grand Prix At The Glen NY Sept. 3
• GoPro Grand Prix Sonoma CA Sept. 17