The IndyCar championship has revealed a revised qualifying format for this year’s Indianapolis 500.
The first day will see each entry guaranteed one four-lap run but will have the opportunity to complete more runs until the session ends.
The first four rows of the grid, including pole position, will be set on Day 2 with two rounds of qualifying, in a format similar to that used on road and street courses, with a Fast 12 and then Fast Six session.
The top twelve drivers will head out in the reverse order of the speeds set on Day 1, for one four-lap qualifying run, to set rows three and four, with the top six drivers moving onto the Fast Six sessions.
Each driver that progresses to the Fast Six session is guaranteed one run, with the order set by the speeds in the previous session, they will again run in the reverse order, with the fastest car from the prior session going out last.
The pole winner will receive USD $100,000 and 12 championship points, with points given out to the top 12 qualifiers, second receving 11 points, third 10 and so on to 12th who gets 1 point.
“We have an incredibly deep field heading into this year’s Indianapolis 500,” IndyCar president Jay Frye said.
“The timing is right to implement a new and dramatic way to expand one of the most intense weekends on our calendar.
“Winning pole position for the 500 is an incredible feat, and with this new format, it will be even more challenging.”
IMS president Doug Boles also added it will give fans more opportunities to see the drivers on track.
“Indianapolis 500 qualifying weekend always is special. This format will give our fans even more opportunities to see IndyCar’s world-class drivers compete on racing’s biggest stage,” Boles said.
“While winning the race is the ultimate prize, capturing pole position for the 500 is one of motorsports’ most prestigious honours and almost a race within a race. I cannot wait to see this expanded format on the final Sunday before Race Day.”
If there are more than 33 cars entered there will be a last chance qualifying session to set the final row of the grid.
However, it seems increasingly unlikely that number will be exceeded for this year’s race, with only 32 entries currently confirmed.
The IndyCar Series will be on track this weekend at Barber Motorsports Park.
Main image: James Black