PREMA Racing Joins IndyCar

Crack European squad PREMA Racing is joining Indycar in 2025 and they have no illusions at how difficult the move will be. This is one of the major stories in this week’s Business of Motorsport. I also have details on Andretti Global’s new UK base, Formula E selling their 12th grid spot and why a BTCC champion started a sim racing business.

It’s all in this week’s edition of the Business of Motorsport Roundup on Motorsport Prospects. Its business news that racers can use.

Motorsport Industry News

Formula 1

Andretti Silverstone Base

Michael Andretti is pressing ahead with his F1 plans despite the rejection by FOM of a grid slot for 2025. This week he unveiled a brand new UK base of operations at Silverstone. The design department and the race team will be based in Silverstone, while manufacturing and the building of the cars will eventually be undertaken in the USA at the new facility in Fishers, close to Indianapolis. Some R&D and design is also being undertaken at General Motors in Charlotte. The team is also planning to run teams in F2 and F3 to build a ladder to develop American talent in Europe.

According to Andretti’s Formula 1 Technical Director Nick Chester in an interview with Motorsport Week, the new Silverstone facility in the UK represents its commitment to getting onto the Formula 1 grid in 2026. “As we’ve been expanding the F1 project, we needed to grow. And we have arrived on this unit and it’s sort of ideal for our expansion really. We’ve got plans to expand beyond this unit as well as the F1 project grows.”

Why did Andretti build the facility if he has no guaranteed F1 entry? “We feel that we’re not going to be diluting the pot, we feel like we’re going to be helping raise the pot, and when the pot gets bigger, then everybody is going to share more in it,” he told Sky Sports. “It’s been a little frustrating, but we’ll get our point across. We are still working along with FOM and we will show that we are bringing a lot to the party.”

One final intrigue is that Helmut Marko has hinted at a potential sale of VCARB, raising speculation of an Andretti purchase in the future. “There are a lot of interested parties, but ultimately it’s a shareholder decision. The price is high for a team, but nothing has been decided yet.”

The intrigue continues….

Is Alpine for sale? That’s what the rumor mill is saying after the team has experienced a less than stellar start to their 2024 campaign. When there is smoke there is fire they say but for the record, Renault have denied that the team is for sale. “The rumours and stories about the team being for sale are false,” a team spokesperson said. “The team is categorically not for sale.”

New racetracks are to be built in both China, in the city of Guangdong and the South Korean city Incheon with the latter hoping to revive the Korean Grand Prix. “Korea has been linked with a comeback for a while, with the city of Busan initially mooted, and the mayor of Incheon, Yoo Jeong-bok, visited Suzuka and met Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali, to deliver a letter of intent.”

General Motorsport Industry News

PREMA Racing Joins IndyCar

With the addition of PREMA Racing to the grid (see below), IndyCar is facing some issues with the expanded grid but agree that it is a good problem to have. “There’s problems now with some of the places we go to, right?” IndyCar president Jay Frye said Wednesday during a press conference announcing Prema’s 2025 plans. “It’s something we’ve got to evaluate, look at going forward. Certainly a problem, but a really good problem to have, and something we’ll sort out.”

As Formula E is rumored to be replacing the London ExCeL Arena with Silverstone as their UK home, series CEO Feff Dodds has revealed that the 12th spot on the grid is for sale.

“Formula E was offering the spot on its own grid for between €20mn to €30mn, Dodds said. However, the company would also take into account the potential benefits new teams could bring to grow the wider sport in the form of hospitality and brand recognition. Formula E caps annual team spending at the equivalent of $14mn, whereas F1 teams are capped at around $140mn this season.”

Business of Motorsport

All-electric racing series Extreme E has revealed that it delivered significant audience growth in 2023, rising to a global audience of more than 144 million viewers, according to the latest analytics report on the series by YouGov.

“The championship’s digital audience grew further still in Season 3 as Extreme E delivered its most competitive on-track year yet. A total of 36,334 social media posts were published about the 2023 Extreme E campaign, resulting in 2.1 billion potential impressions and 109.8 million engagements. In additional data provided by Little Dot Studios, the series’ overall social media following stands at 1.2 million.”

For the first time in the NHRA’s history, drivers in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock, and Pro Stock Motorcycle will make three qualifying passes in a single day as part of a two-day event this June 22-23 at Virginia Motorsports Park (VMP).

“With teams seeking ways to trim expenses and with encouragement from the increasingly vocal Professional Racing Owners Organization (PRO), who successfully used the abbreviated format at its preseason Superstar Shootout, the NHRA isn’t making wholesale changes to its 70-year-old program. But Jeffrey Young, the NHRA’s vice president of marketing and communications, said, “We’re trying something new. Having three qualifying sessions in one day is going to make for an incredible experience for our fans. This is a trial run for us. It’s something new and different, and we’ll revisit the decision following the event.””

The International Business Days Le Mans conference will return for its 16th edition this year, taking place on 12-13 June in the build up to the famous 24-hour race in France.

Key industry figures and decision makers will take part in a range of forums and meetings to drive conversation about the future steps for mobility and motorsport.

Round table discussions will consider topics such as how motorsport is a powerful technological accelerator; multi-material additive manufacturing; hydrogen as an energy carrier of the future, and electric vehicle life cycles from production to consumption. Personalised one-to-one meetings are another key aspect of the IBDLM and are designed to instigate business collaborations.

Product showcase demonstrations will take place in the Additive Manufacturing Village, while start-up pitches for new companies and a job fair aimed at engineering students cater for the next generation of professionals. Tech talks with engineers from Le Mans tyre suppliers, Michelin and Goodyear, and guided tours of the paddock, are also on the agenda. Finally, a trackside dinner during the night practice session completes the schedule.

More debate over how the sale of MotoGP commercial rights to Liberty Media will affect both series. Here are a few pieces analyzing what could be coming and why.

Quick Takes on the Business of Motorsport This Week

Ash Sutton

Motorsport Sponsorship & Partnership News

Here are the latest motorsport sponsorship deals, partnerships and related analysis that were announced this week

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PREMA Racing Joins IndyCar
Business of Motorsport
Business of Motorsport

The Business of Running a Race Team

Business of Motorsport

PREMA Racing, one of the top racing teams in Europe involved in numerous single-seater development series as well as sportscar racing, has announced that they will be fielding a two-car IndyCar in team in 2025.

Rene Rosin – Team Principal, PREMA Racing
“Today’s announcement marks a pivotal moment in the history of PREMA Racing. Making the step to the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, and competing in the world-famous Indianapolis 500, is a dream coming true for our family and everyone involved in our business. We have tremendous respect for INDYCAR, its unique challenges and sensational history, and we look forward to being part of it. 

“While competing in INDYCAR will not be easy, we are determined to put in our best effort, learn as quickly as possible and become leading contenders right from the start. The desire to fight for victory is our driving force, and the thoroughness of the challenge will give us even more motivation to succeed.”

“This new chapter will also be beneficial for PREMA Racing and its people, producing amazing learning opportunities and know-how transfer. We want to thank INDYCAR for the warm welcome, and Chevrolet for supporting this project. We cannot wait to start operating in our new Indiana shop and get on track as soon as possible.”

The plan is to have a base in Indianapolis in order to be close to the majority of IndyCar teams and most importantly, talent that they can hire. “The way we want to establish the team is with the heart of it being American but our aim is also to implement our traditional methods and culture that has always worked in the past,” says Rosin.

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Mark Boudreau
Author: Mark Boudreau

Mark is the publisher of Motorsport Prospects. As a former lawyer, he applies his legal background and research skills to assist race drivers by showcasing the resources they need to make their motorsport careers happen.