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2024 NTT IndyCar Series Still Riddled with Questions

Josef Newgarden of Team Penske on the formation lap of the 2024 NTT IndyCar Series Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

The IndyCar Grand Prix of St. Petersburg showed IndyCar’s strength and weaknesses. Despite the race not being a classic the on-track action still provided entertainment. Several drivers highlighted their class, but IndyCar still faces big challenges in 2024.

While Josef Newgarden dominated the opening round of the 2024 NTT IndyCar Series in the streets of St. Petersburg, some big questions still remain about IndyCar this season. The delayed introduction of new regulations keeps being a pain for the American open wheel series. Originally the new hybrid engine was slated to be used in 2023. Various issues during development pushed it back to 2024 and then last December IndyCar announced a further delay. The planned launch of the new engine unit will now be after the Indy 500.

Not only does this create confusion, but also creates a strange dynamic for the latter half of the 2024 NTT IndyCar Series. Only a limited number of drivers from Honda and Chevrolet tested the new hybrid engine. This creates an uneven playing field. Team Penske, Chip Ganassi Racing, Arrow McLaren and Andretti now have over 3000 miles of data to analyze. While the other teams and drivers are left to guess what the new components will do. Surely Honda and Chevrolet will help the rest of their customers. In a series as close as IndyCar the lack of track time will severely impact the other teams.

An IndyCar charter system… really?

The engines are not the only thing to worry about. Ever since Penske Entertainment bought IndyCar decisions have been marked by confusion and criticism. The latest chapter in this saga started when Penske Entertainment proposed a charter system for IndyCar. The proposal suggested car owners pay $1m per car to participate in the series. Unsurprisingly many team owners are unhappy with this idea. Michael Andretti even called for Roger Penske to sell IndyCar if he’s not willing to invest in the championship. IndyCar fans echoed this sentiment.

Everything about this proposal goes against IndyCar culture. In fact, this charter proposal has hallmarks of the infamous 25 & 8 rule. Obviously, this causes a lot of controversy. The NTT IndyCar Series has taken 20 years to get positive momentum. The US TV Ratings are the highest in many years.  The field is arguably the most talented IndyCar has ever seen. Yet it doesn’t feel like Penske Entertainment is making the most of it. IndyCar doesn’t need a charter, it needs strong and competent leadership. Despite world economics not being great, plenty of manufacturers are lining up to join WEC and IMSA. IndyCar needs to find a way to attract more interest.

IndyCar Marketing hello?


Penske Entertainment must realize the unique opportunity IndyCar has to offer. The on-track action is exciting, the drivers are exciting. Where is the exciting marketing? On social media metrics alone IndyCar falls behind on its competitors. Currently, the official NTT IndyCar Series X page has under 500k followers. While the official NASCAR account has 3.6 million followers. Formula 1 sits at 10 million followers. On Instagram, it’s a similar story near 600k for the official IndyCar account. 2.6 million for the NASCAR account. Formula 1 is in a completely different stratosphere on Instagram with 26 million followers.

This problem doesn’t just contain itself to Social Media. Whenever Formula 1 visits Miami, Austin or Las Vegas it completely takes over the city. Multiple big events surround the race weekends. IndyCar always does a terrific job promoting the Indianapolis 500, but it fails to capture that spirit during the rest of the season. Not every race can be an Indy 500, in fact, there isn’t a race like it. However, much more must be done to promote and make the rest of the season must watch.

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The NTT IndyCar Series has all the ingredients to be something special, but it needs a chef who can mix it into a delicious meal. This upcoming season will tell us if Penske Entertainment can be that chef.


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