IndyCar schedules charter presentation for next week

IndyCar Series team owners will have a new opportunity to review and possibly agree to move forward with a new charter system that series’ owner Penske Entertainment has been developing for the last six months.

Although the first attempt to push through charters late in 2023 was unsuccessful, an array of improvements to the program’s structure should provide better odds for Penske Entertainment to receive approval from its 10 full-time teams to move forward with the issuance of charters.

“We’ll have another discussion with all the owners before the 500,” Penske Entertainment CEO Mark Miles told RACER.


Most of the major aspects of the charter program have been chronicled throughout the year, and the following are likely to be finalized and presented to the 10 independent team owners:

• Charters will be created for 25 of IndyCar’s 27 full-time entries.

• The selection of the 25 is based on the results of IndyCar’s 2023 entrants’ championship.

• The 25 charter entries will have guaranteed starting positions at every race on the calendar except for the Indianapolis 500.

• Only the 25 charter entries will be eligible to earn the 22 $1 million Leaders Circle contracts from Penske Entertainment, which are offered to the cars that place in the top 22 in the entrants’ championship.

• Teams will be limited to receiving no more than three charters; teams with four or more cars will not have their extra cars included in the charter system and won’t have the guarantees or perks made available.

• The charter program will also place a new limit of 27 cars per race outside of the Indy 500’s 33 starters.

• Each charter is expected to come at no up-front cost to the teams.

An important overarching fact about the charter program was also provided by Miles. Like NASCAR, which owns the charters it gave to its teams, Penske Entertainment will maintain ownership of its charters. IndyCar team owners will be allowed to monetize their charters by selling the rights that come with the charter, but Penske Entertainment is and will remain as the permanent owner, issuer, and recaller of each charter.

“They’re gonna have, by virtue of an agreement with the series, certain rights, which includes the ability for them, under certain circumstances, to sell those rights,” Miles explained. “The reality is that the series actually owns the car numbers. It’s not really complicated. If they get a charter, they could lose it if they don’t perform, if they don’t run every race, much like is the case with the Leaders Circle today.”

According to Miles, teams with charters cannot sell them without Penske Entertainment’s blessing, which speaks to the control the company will maintain over the charter program and the lack of independent decision-making charter teams will have in the process. The company is also expected to receive a percentage of any sale from the seller and the buyer. Nonetheless, Miles doesn’t view Penske Entertainment as owning the charters.

“They would have the right, with the series’ approval, to sell their rights, which we call their charter,” he said. “And they’ll have obligations. So that’s the way I would talk about it. I don’t see it as the series owning the charter; it’s really an agreement. What they’re really trying to do is have the ability to either sell it or assign it, which I think of as a sale.”

In order to maintain the benefits the program provides, IndyCar teams will need to renew their charters with Penske Entertainment at certain intervals.

“We’ll figure out how long they are and they’ll obviously have to be some prescribed period prior to their expiration of them to begin thinking with teams about what’s next,” Miles said.

A final clarification of note was offered by Miles on whether teams who receive charters will be granted ownership stakes in the series or its parent company, which would give them the ability to sway Penske Entertainment’s decisions in the future.

“That’s correct,” Miles said. “The teams will have no ownership rights in the entity of Penske Entertainment or IndyCar.”

Story originally appeared on Racer