The NTT IndyCar Series will turn the close of its Spring Training event at The Thermal Club into a $1 million non-points exhibition race.
“[IndyCar] will add an incredible new event to our schedule with next year’s spectacular racing showcase at The Thermal Club,” said Penske Entertainment CEO Mark Miles. “This world-class venue just down the road from the world’s premier entertainment market is the perfect place to bring our hyper-competitive racing and growing star power.”
The event will take place March 22-23, 2024.
“While championship points will not be on the line, the event will feature a multi-million-dollar purse,” the series said in a statement. “A draw party to begin the event will embed members of The Thermal Club with each race team and driver. The weekend format will include a qualifying session and two heat races, with the top six from each heat advancing to an All-Star showcase. The top five finishing teams will split their earnings with The Thermal Club members, including a $1 million prize awarded to the winner. There will be a charitable component to the event that will be announced at a later date.
A limited number of tickets will be sold for spectator attendance at the private circuit located in California’s Coachella Valley.
“The experience the teams had at The Thermal Club was second to none,” said IndyCar president Jay Frye. “We treated it like a preseason scrimmage, and, looking back, it was the perfect launch to this record-breaking season. The facility is spectacular, and we cannot wait to return and showcase IndyCar in a whole new way.”
Asked for more details about the event hosted in the city of Thermal, RACER was told the race will be aired on NBC and tickets could be presented first to the series’ most ardent fans. The prize money possibilities for the members who own the homes that line the country club-style facility are meant to forge links between IndyCar teams and the facility’s investors with a goal of introducing new potential co-owners to the series.
Despite the event’s non-points status, participation by every full-season entry will be required. The timing of the Thermal test, which falls after the season begins, will not be a disadvantage to teams due to the numerous pre-season tests IndyCar has in store for its teams to get acclimated with the new hybrid engines.