The IndyCar Series will return to the Auto Club Speedway for a night race in 2012, it was announced on Tuesday.
The two-mile oval circuit hosted CART races from 1997 to 2002 and IndyCar events from 2002 to 2005, before it was dropped from the calendar.
“We feel the time is right to bring IndyCar racing back to Auto Club Speedway,” said Randy Bernard, chief executive officer of IndyCar. “We want to maintain the diverse lineup of ovals on our schedule and the addition of Auto Club Speedway adds a great venue that was built for the high-speed, wheel-to-wheel excitement of IndyCar racing under the lights.”
The D-shaped oval in Fontana, Calif., was the venue of the world speed record for the fastest lap on a closed course, when Gil de Ferran lapped at 241.426mph during qualifying in 2000.
“This facility was built to host open-wheel racing and Auto Club Speedway has arguably hosted some of the most exciting races in IndyCar history,” said Gillian Zucker, president of the Auto Club Speedway. “We look forward to building on the area’s history and tradition of open-wheel racing with new records and new races beginning in 2012.”
Auto Club Speedway will be the second Southern California venue on the calendar, joining the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach held in April.