A third IndyCar race in Canada may once again become a reality.
IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard said Sunday that he’s happy with the growth of open-wheel racing in Canada and will consider adding another race as the series works on next season’s schedule.
“I’m never going to rule out an extra race in Canada because I know some people (would) like to see that Canadian triple crown again,” he said.
Bernard, who spoke prior to the Honda Indy Toronto, pointed to the emergence of James Hinchcliffe of Oakville, Ont., as one of the reasons Canada may yet see more races. The only other current stop on the schedule is the Edmonton Indy that runs July 22.
“We’ve got James Hinchcliffe here now and I think that he’s an outstanding young guy, and he’s the future not only in Canada (but) IndyCar. So I mean he’s a guy we want to build,” said Bernard. “I think it’s really important that we’ve got this guy and we’ve got (Alex) Tagliani at the end of his career. Let’s try to do everything we can to help build our sport up here.”
Bernard added he hopes to have a schedule for next season by September.
Interest in the Toronto race died after it was cancelled in 2008 following the merger of Champ Car and the Indy Racing League. The once well-attended race returned in 2009 and has been in a slow recovery ever since, but organizers signed a three-year contract extension with IndyCar in May that will see the Toronto race continue through at least 2014.
There are 15 races on the schedule this season, and Bernard said he hopes to increase that to 19 next year. Adding another stop in Canada — perhaps in Vancouver where races were held from 1990 to 2004 — depends in part on Hinchcliffe’s success.
“When you have someone like James that is right up there kicking butt, this is the type of guy he’s got a great personality, he has a great sponsor, he’s with a great team,” said Bernard. “This is the type of guy that you really want to take that momentum and build, and the time is right to build it here in Canada.”