That would mean adding four races and looking at racing dates in early February.
“I think we’ll be closer to that goal in 2016,” Miles said. “And I think I’d be very disappointed if we weren’t there by 2017.
The series is racing 16 times in 2015. That 16-race season includes one doubleheader — in Detroit on May 30-31. Opening Day, with the cancelation of the Brazil race that was scheduled for March 8, is now March 29 at St. Petersburg, Fla.
Miles said that the Detroit doubleheader is something that he sees continuing as part of a 20-race campaign.
“They’ve kind of earned this doubleheader status,” Miles said. “[Our schedules going forward] would include that doubleheader. One easy way to think about it is add a new event for the finale — now you’re at 17 — and the obvious place to add three more races would be from the beginning of February to the beginning of March. I think they’re out there, and they may not all be international and they might be. We’re going to find the best three races to add [to the beginning of the season.]
“We could fill in the early part of the series, in February, with additional North American races. But, one, there aren’t too many places where we can race, climate-wise. Two, we’re determined to find really vibrant new race opportunities.”
The race in Brazil was canceled by the local government and promoters in Brazil in late January and was not replaced on the 2015 IndyCar schedule. It’s the second international IndyCar race canceled in the past five years, as China was a late scratch from the schedule in 2010.
“As disappointed and angry as we were about the cancelation of the event in Brasilia, we learned a lot about the prior institution of IndyCar,” Miles said. “We protected ourselves financially. We scheduled the international race that wasn’t in the middle of the rest of the calendar, although there is an early hole, it starts later than we wanted.
“It had to do with the changing of elections, politics between a national and regional federal district of Brasilia governments. It wasn’t lost on us they were on schedule and invested an enormous amount of money already in the improvement of that track.
“To be clear, I don’t like it happening. One of the big takeaways for me, it’s complicated, but it was an endorsement of IndyCar racing in a strange way in Brazil insofar as the sponsorships were at or above where they wanted them to be with a title and a major presenter. All the hospitality was sold. You couldn’t buy another box or suite. Ticket sales were very strong. It was going to be at least 30,000, in terms of attendance, and it might have been 45,000 or 50,000, and economically it was going to be a success. So the politics is unfortunate. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re not having second thoughts about all that right now.”
Miles stressed that the disappointments of Brazil and China will not keep IndyCar from considering international markets.
“It’s a little bit American to think that if it’s international, it doesn’t work,” Miles said. “Brazil has always been tough because of the politics or the currency would go crazy. It’s so sad, because it’s such a great market for IndyCar. Other places are more stable. Bernie [F1 boss Ecclestone] has done pretty well with international racing, and that doesn’t mean there’s not turnover, that he doesn’t have cancelations.”
This year, the IndyCar season will end Aug. 30 at Sonoma, Calif. Miles is hoping that the series can lock in a signature race to end the season every year over Labor Day weekend.
“We are actively engaged in looking for the best place we can be to finish the championship on Labor Day weekend,” he said. “For us, the best place we can be ideally would be a major urban market in a time zone that helps us deliver the biggest possible television audience, in a place where we believe we can have a vibrant, successful race.”