Laguna Seca to become new home of IndyCar season-closer

US motor racing championship IndyCar will return to Laguna Seca for the first time in over a decade after the Northern California circuit agreed a three year deal to serve as the new destination for the season finale.

Laguna Seca held Indy car races annually from 1983 to 2004, while the Monterey venue was the site of the season finale from 1989 to 1996. The new deal, running from 2019 to 2021, was approved by circuit operator the Monterey County Board of Supervisors. Next year’s race weekend will be held from September 20-22 with the remainder of the series schedule to be announced at a later date.

Mark Miles, president and chief executive of Hulman & Company, which owns IndyCar and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, said: “I can’t imagine a more attractive destination location for IndyCar’s season finale. Monterey is a place people want to be, and we will bring all of our guests. I think it’s a great choice for us.”

Timothy McGrane, chief executive of Laguna Seca, added: “The return of IndyCar to its spiritual road racing home of Laguna Seca is a tremendous honour and testament to the appeal of Monterey, and through the support of the County of Monterey will provide a significant economic benefit to our area businesses.

“We are looking forward to creating more memories in race fans’ minds like Bobby Rahal’s four consecutive Indy car wins from 1984-1987, Mario Andretti’s farewell race in 1994 and Alex Zanardi’s last-lap overtaking of Bryan Herta in the Corkscrew in 1996 that simply became known as ‘The Pass.’”

The Motorsport.com website reported that Laguna Seca’s addition will mean the exit of Sonoma Raceway from the calendar. Sonoma’s contract ends this year and it is understood not to be keen on the prospect of running alongside another northern Californian venue.

Sonoma has been on the IndyCar schedule for the past 14 years, with this year’s final race set to mark the fourth consecutive year it has served as the season finale.